The holidays are here, bringing lots of gatherings featuring food. Since it’s a time for indulgence, we rounded up local spots with decadent desserts that will make you the star of any holiday function.
This St. Petersburg shop offers pies, cakes, cupcakes, dessert bars and cookies that are vegan. You can build your own cake with options like red velvet, coconut and almond with frostings like rose, lavender or the more traditional buttercream. There are also seasonal holiday pies, and it all can be ordered online. 2462 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-954-4792. valhallabakery.com.
The treats here in The Vinoy Resort & Golf Club’s lobby are just as luxurious as the ambience. It’s a proper French patisserie, so don’t miss the petits fours, macarons and truffles, as well as assorted croissants and pain au chocolat. Cakes are another specialty, including cheesecake, flourless chocolate and the Vinoy Signature, with vanilla almond biscuit, strawberry cremeux and light vanilla mousse. Tres bon! 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. thevinoy.com/dining/lottie.
Mazzaro’s Italian Market
This popular St. Petersburg store gets so busy that there are a few guidelines when it comes to ordering from the bakery for the holidays. Forget about popping in to place an order; no orders will be taken once the bakery reaches capacity, which happens very quickly. There is a minimum 24-to-48-hour lead time required for all orders and a 36-hour minimum on the cheesecakes and Chocolate Decadence cake. Cancellations within 24 hours will get you dinged with a 50 percent fee. In addition to cakes like the chocolate cassata or the espresso cream cake, there are trays of pastries, assorted mini cannolis and assorted cookies (which are some of the best around). 2909 22nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg. 727-321-2400. mazzarosmarket.com.
Frida’s Cafe and Bakery
This Largo staple has mouthwatering cakes like the Fresh Fruit Tart, Raspberry Biscotti Cheesecake, Italian Rum Cake and Tres Leches. Its Golden Petit Box is an adorable assortment of treats. Cannolis, Napoleons, eclairs and zeppole are more options. 9700 Ulmerton Road, Largo. 727-587-7077. fridascafe.com.
Claudia’s Heavenly Flans and Cakes
This Clearwater bakery specializes in flan, a dessert that often gets overshadowed by cakes, pies and cookies. But flan is a great addition to those confections on the holiday dessert buffet. The flan at Claudia’s comes in round, heart and Christmas tree shapes; in regular, sugar-free or organic preparations; and in a robust selection of flavors like coconut, coffee and pumpkin. The shop also makes pies, cakes, cupcakes and cookies. 21957 U.S. 19 N., Clearwater. 727-754-6857. chflansandcakes.com.
Dig in to Tampa Bay’s food and drink scenes
Subscribe to our free Taste newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Hellas Restaurant & Bakery
This Tarpon Springs landmark is a feast for the senses with its showy decor and Greek pastries beckoning from the bakery cases. Popular choices are a Greek wedding cookie called kourabiedes and the baklava cheesecake. In anticipation of the Epiphany celebration on Jan. 6, Hellas sells hundreds of loaves of vasilopita, a sweet, yeasted New Year’s Day bread scented with orange. There is a coin hidden inside the loaf, which is supposed to bring extra blessings for the new year. 785 Dodecanese Blvd., Tarpon Springs. 727-943-2400. hellasbakery.com.
Craft Kafe’s menu is totally gluten-free, making it a great, rare option. While specialty cakes (carrot, chocolate chip cookie and more) and pies (Dutch apple, pecan and pumpkin) must be ordered 48 hours in advance, you can find a beautiful selection of other treats when you visit one of its St. Petersburg locations: 200 Central Ave. (727-256-8587) and 6653 Central Ave. (727-914-7443). craftkafe.com.
Consider this fair warning: You have until Dec. 20 to order holiday pies at this local favorite Hyde Park Village restaurant. There are four to choose from and it won’t be easy: milk chocolate pecan, butterscotch, chocolate cream and coconut cream. 1601 W. Swann Ave., Tampa. 813-308-1925. goodygoodyburgers.com.
Folks from as far away as Hawaii have eaten the nationally distributed Mike’s Pies, but the company’s headquarters are in Tampa, where you can pick them up! Choose from deep dish (or regular) key lime and Reese’s peanut butter or fruit pies like cherry, apple and blueberry. On the holiday menu are blueberry, pina colada and guava cheesecake, as well as buttermilk, chocolate mousse and mud pie. All must be ordered 48 hours in advance. 10350 Windhorst Road, Tampa. 813-249-7437. mikespies.com.
Desserts by Toffee to Go
Indicative of its name, this South Tampa spot specializes in toffee and tops desserts with toffee sauce. But it’s also heavy on dessert bars and offers platters of assorted ones that would be a crowd pleaser. Flavors include Gooey Toffee bar, brownie, Magic Toffee bar (with coconut) and Peanut Butter Delight. 3251 W. Bay to Bay Blvd., Tampa. 813-605-0655. dessertstampa.com.
This legendary Tampa bakery has it all, including the shortbread cookies your Italian aunt used to make. But it also makes its large variety of cake flavors as cupcakes and cake pops. While cake pops had their moment over a decade ago, they’re still perfect for parties. With flavors like hummingbird, cookies and cream and funfetti, they’re sure to be a hit. 2909 W. Cypress St., Tampa. 813-879-4544. alessibakery.com.
Wright’s Gourmet House
Cakes from this Tampa staple make frequent appearances in the Times newsroom. Nothing says the holidays like the peppermint chocolate cake — only available in November and December — a dark chocolate cake with peppermint frosting, topped with crushed candy canes. That flavor and many others also come as cupcakes. Pies, cookies, sweet breads and sweet treats like the Seventh Wonder bar (chocolate, butterscotch, pecans, coconut, dark brown sugar and condensed milk on a handmade graham cracker crumb crust) round out the selection. 1200 S. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. 813-253-3838. wrightsgourmet.com.