Second only to the proliferation of takeout and delivery, the rise of the at-home bakery dominated Miami’s culinary landscape during the lockdown. From trained pastry chefs and award-winning bakers to skilled cooks, people across South Florida turned their private kitchens into small commissaries for sweet innovations. Instagram was everyone’s preferred place of business, luring customers with vibrant shots of oozing chocolate chip cookies and towering cakes made by the same hands who photographed them and—in most cases—were responsible for delivering them. With their entrepreneurial spirits and mindblowing creations, these small ventures have changed the local dessert game for the better.
Chunky Monkey Bars
The Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s head pastry chef, Tobias Smith, is doing magical things with three simple ingredients: bananas, chocolate and peanuts. First with his signature bars—think the perfect three-way marriage between a Klondike, a Snickers and Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, topped with gold flakes—then with his soft banana cookies and most recently with poppable chocolate truffles. Smith makes each batch fresh and provides free delivery anywhere in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Order online.
Two Mexican-born guys with impeccable tastes (and serious Instagram followings) are behind Casa’s roscas— large, ring-shaped cakes made with crunchy bits of cereal, sugar and 100-percent Belgium chocolate, among other things. They come in a variety of flavors, such as s’mores (I Love You S’More) and brownie (Charlie Brownie), and beautifully packaged for gifting or just wowing your dinner guests. Order via WhatsApp.
Bang Bang Bakehouse
Grandma’s rum cakes have nothing on Bang Bang’s moist, boozy creations spiked with Havana Club. They’re topped with an irresistible oven-toasted, pecan crumble that brings out the nutty notes in the Cuban rum, adding an extra dose of sweetness similar desserts wish they had. Looking to share? Skip the jar and try the cake balls—dipped in vanilla glaze and covered in more crumble. Delivery is free with a minimum order of $20 when you use code ‘FreeLocal.’ Order online.
The Burnt Baker
Delicious burnt cheesecake doesn’t happen by accident. It takes skill to char the top of a cake while still maintaining its dense, creamy center. The folks behind the namesake company have mastered the Basque dessert and offer it in a range of flavors and with different cookie crusts, all gluten-free. Delivery is only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Order online.
Luccia makes all kinds of baked goods but her claim to fame is the chocobooze bundt cake that tastes just as you think it might: chocolatey and very boozy thanks to a generous pour of Havana Club Rum (a popular choice for Miami bakers). It’s like happy hour and dessert rolled into one. Like most bakers on this list, Luccia takes her packaging very seriously. DM to order.
Helen Kimchi used to make drinks and now she bakes bread, which we’re pretty stoked about. You’d be too if you tried her homemade sourdough loaf. She also makes killer cinnamon rolls and a vegan chia pudding whose health benefits we’re still skeptical about. It’s too tasty to be good for you but we love it either way. Weekday pickup and weekend delivery are available. DM to order.
You don’t need to wait for the carnival to come to town (or splurge on a meal at Prime 112) to get your fried Oreo fix. Grandma’s will batter them up, deep-fry them and have a fresh batch ready for pickup whenever you’d like. Pick the type of Oreo and the flavor you’d like them coated in and they’ll handle the rest. Order online.
Cakeology by Erika
Erika uses old family recipes to make her complicated, naked layer cakes. Where her grandfather might’ve made a simple garrapiñado dessert, Erika whips up something tall, pretty and photogenic. Basically, the pastry version of a model. She sells them in three sizes—mini, midi and big. Should you feel inclined to bring one home just for yourself, there’s a cake for you. DM to order.
Like a lot of parents, Danny Diaz’s mother, Lourdes, worried about her health during the lockdown. Though more than death, it was her flan’s legacy that kept her up at night (LOL). “We started the business because she told me during quarantine that she was going to die and no one would know her recipes,” says Diaz. Thus, Luly’s Flan was born. He admits she was being dramatic but he couldn’t not heed his mom’s living wish after that kind of guilt trip. Luly’s secret ingredient yields rich, creamy flans that, according to several loyal customers, pass the spoon test (it holds on tight to your utensil no matter how long it’s flipped upside down). Better than your Abuela’s? You bet. DM to order.
Quarantining has been a challenge for many couples but not for chef Henry Hane (of B Bistro and Osaka Miami) and pastry chef Natalie Ocampo of EarlyBird. The husband-and-wife team used their time together to launch their at-home culinary biz, and things are still on the up. The menu is equal parts savory and sweet, featuring soups and DIY ceviche kits plus cinnamon rolls and an assortment of cakes in cups—there’s one with sprinkles, a tiramisu version and a German chocolate cake with fresh berries that’s simply sinful. DM or text to order (305-281-8182).
Hello Dolly bars are the kitchen-sink of desserts, made up of seven layers of butter, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, chocolate and a slew of other ingredients. Pandita’s makes the handheld treats in a variety of Miami-approved flavors, like cafecito and guava. When you’re sick of brownies (Hey, it happens!) add these babies to your rotation. DM to order.
Michael’s Mandel Bread
It’s as if an almond biscotti and a chocolate-chip shortbread cookie had a baby, Michael Reiss’ take on the traditional mandel bread is in a league of its own. It’s crumbly and just sweet enough to dunk in your morning coffee—and now sold nationwide. Get it shipped to you just in time for brunch this weekend. Order online.
Liger’s Superior! Cookies
The best cookies in Miami are made by photographer Julian Cousins. Really. Though it took many tests to come up with the recipe for his so-called superior cookie, inspired by one he tried years earlier on a trip to Vancouver. His tenacity paid off, though sadly for us that means they’re always sold out. Dates do open up and Liger’s cookies are most certainly worth the wait. Order online.
More on Time Out
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–Here’s what you should know before going to the movies in Miami
–Art Basel Miami Beach 2020 is officially canceled
–Neighborhood spotlight: Little Havana’s longest-running food and culture tour is back
–Governor DeSantis announces that Florida is moving into Phase 3
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