Carb Games: 10 baked goods for any occasion

Photo by Marika Mirren

Photo by Marika Mirren

Carb Games

by Emily Kovach

A tender crumb, a flaky layer, a caramelized crust—baked goods possess so many ways to enthrall us. Sinking our teeth into something crafted from sugar, butter and flour is pure pleasure, and the list of where to find gorgeous carbohydrates in Philly goes on and on.

Soft and Sweet for Breakfast

Pop Tarts
Double Knot

Ever since this coffee bar, lunch café, bar and izakaya combo joint opened in Midtown, we’ve been ogling photos of pastries on their Instagram account. Their riff on a Pop Tart is a clever throwback that’s about a billion times better than the boxed version.

For your morning treat: Double Knot, 120 S. 13th St.

Banana Bread Sticky Bun
Hungry Pigeon

The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts in this lovely mashup of two crowd-pleasing baked goods. Brioche, bananas, walnuts and a slick of glaze combine quite cheerfully, especially with a cup of coffee and a seat in a sunny window.

For your morning treat: Hungry Pigeon, 743 S. 4th St.

Churro Doughnut
Federal Donuts

Much ink has been spilled on this local chain of doughnut and fried chicken shops. Believe the hype—their doughnuts are on some next level. A newer flavor of fancy (read: cakey) doughnut that emulates the flavors of churros goes over the top of the top.

For your morning treat: Multiple locations including 1219 S. 2nd St. and 1632 Sansom St.

Let Us Eat Cake

Sweet Potato Cheesecake
Sweet Nectar

When vegetal sweet potato richness meets plush cream cheesiness, the result is a luxuriant slice of heaven from this popular neighborhood dessert kitchen.

Find a slice of heaven: Sweet Nectar, 547 N. 20th St.

Market Street Butter Cake
High Street on Market

Pick anything from the curated pastry list here, and your tastebuds will be happy. But this slice in particular, elegant in its restraint and simplicity, demonstrates the level of mastery of this well-regarded
baking program.

Find a slice of heaven: High Street on Market, 308 Market St.

Piña Colada Cupcake
Whipped Bakeshop

Each month, this charming shop offers a Cupcake of the Month, and August’s is piña colada. Coconut cake is filled with pineapple curd, then topped with pineapple rum-infused piña colada buttercream, a sprinkle of toasted coconut and a tiny beach umbrella.

Find a slice of heaven: Whipped Bakeshop, 636 Belgrade St.

Making Whoopie

Whoopie Pies
Flying Monkey Bakery

Are they cookies? Pies? Cakes? Whoopie pies prove that categories are irrelevant in the face of such tastiness. This bakery tucked in Reading Terminal Market goes way beyond chocolate and vanilla with literally dozens of flavors like hazelnut, black raspberry and oatmeal raisin.

Indulge yourself: Flying Monkey Bakery, 51 N. 12th St.

A Dollop of Joy

Cookie Dough Nuggets
Hope’s Cookies

We know you’re not really supposed to eat raw cookie dough, and the pre-packed dough balls from this Main Line sweetshop are surely meant for convenient at-home baking. But if you pop them like potato chips, we won’t judge.

Loving spoonfuls await: Hope’s Cookies, 1125 W. Lancaster Ave. in Rosemont

Sticky Toffee Pudding Jar
Night Kitchen Bakery

These individual-sized pudding jars are light-years beyond the cups you brown-bagged to school. Creamy, sugary custard crunchies are layered together in cute glass jars, mess-free and great for gifting.

Loving spoonfuls await: Night Kitchen Bakery, 7725 Germantown Ave.

Key Lime Pie
Bait & Switch

This kitschy dessert is surprisingly hard to do well, but they nail it at Port Richmond’s newest seafood restaurant. The sweetness and tartness are nicely balanced, and the texture is spot-on.

Loving spoonfuls await: Bait & Switch, 2537 E. Somerset St.