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Charleston & ME

10 Spots for Charleston Desserts from a Local

Welcome to a delightful journey through the heart of Southern charm - a tantalizing exploration of Charleston desserts that will make your taste buds dance! Get ready to immerse yourself in a world filled with sweetness and deliciousness as we unveil the top 10 spots where Charleston's dessert scene truly shines. From exquisite pastries that whisk you away with their fluffy perfection to delectable treats that capture the essence of the South, we have scoured the cobblestone streets to bring you an authentic taste of dessert heaven. So, buckle up, dessert enthusiasts, as we embark on this indulgent expedition where every bite tells a story of Charleston's rich culinary tapestry.


Bennes Dessert Charleston view of Benne's famous Coconut Cake with a Flat White at a marble table with view of interior
Benne's famous Coconut Cake with a Flat White

Saffron Bakery

Likely the largest selection of desserts in Charleston. 30+ house-made delectable desserts on hand daily. Large portions at a very reasonable price. In fact, they supply desserts to some of the restaurants and cafes around town. What you will not find is a swanky interior. We typically grab our desserts to go. There is, however, plenty of indoor seating and a large covered outdoor seating area. 333 East Bay Street. Open daily (7am - 6pm, Saturday and Sunday til 9pm)


My favorites are the tiramisu and chocolate marquis. Although, I will say I have had several of the cheesecakes and the blueberry torte and they are all delicious. 


La Patisserie

A French inspired coffee cafe and bakery located on King Street and associated with Hotel Bennet. Expect a fresh, bright and open air interior with marble table tops, buzzing with tourists coming and going. The true star here is the selection of French pastries by renowned French Pastry Chef and 2024 James Beard Award nominee, Rémy Fünfrock. Along with a full coffee bar, there are pastries, desserts and savories including the Royal, Opera, Madagascar, croissants, muffins, turnovers, fresh tartines and more. 404 King Street. Open daily 7am - 6pm (5:30pm on Saturdays)


My favorite, so far, is the Royal. With each visit, I try a new one (in addition to the Royal, of course)—and all have been delectable! 


Welton’s Tiny Bakeshop

The cutest and tiniest little bakery you ever did see. Packed full of an ever changing array of seasonally (and Lowcountry) inspired goodies. You may find croissants, kolache, honey pie, almond cake, danishes, tarts, and lovely cookies. Each will have a seasonal or Lowcounty spin to it and is house-made with local ingredients. 682 King Street. Open Wednesday - Sunday 8am - 1pm.


My favorites are anything with figs when they are in season. Other times, well, any of it! Note: there is no indoor seating and expect a line.


Harken Cafe & Bakery

With exposed brick and wood beams, this country-chic French vibe delivers on the Instagrammability at every turn. The coffee and delectable bakery items draw you in and the interior charm keeps you coming back. All items are made from scratch using locally sourced Lowcountry ingredients with a healthy and contemporary slant to Southern traditionals. In addition to savory and sweet bakery treats, they have a full coffee bar. The cafe is small and is always bustling. Expect to see a line out the door and know it moves fast—and it is worth it. All items are available until they run out each day. 62 Queen Street. Open daily 7am - 3pm, Saturdays and Sundays opens at 8am, Sundays closes at 1pm).


My favorite go-tos are the 7 Layer Cake and Flat White. 



Mercato at Sorelle

A newcomer in early 2023 to the Charleston scene and an instant favorite for tourists and locals alike. Set in a gorgeous historic interior on Broad Street, it is bedecked with marble and modern Italian accents. The coffee is fantastic and the pastry options are spot on. A limited selection of Italian treats from a cannoli, bombelloni, to pastries, macaroons, cookies and biscotti. The Mercato is also one of several favorite local's lunch spots. 88 Broad Street. Open daily 8am - 4pm.


My favorites are the cannoli and a Flat White. Oh my.


Benne’s by Peninsula Grill

While there are other treats on the menu, you are going here for the famed 12-layer Coconut Cake. And it will not disappoint. It has even been heralded by the likes of Oprah Magazine. Expect a slightly more upscale experience. 112 North Market Street. Open 8am - 11pm daily.


My favorite the coconut cake, of course. By the way, it is definitely shareable.


Carmella's Cafe & Dessert Bar

An Italian style cafe with continually changing desserts, gelato, and sorbet, as well as fresh, organic coffees. Carmella's is also a full bar serving beer, wine and cocktails. It is a cozy spot just off East Bay Street with indoor and outdoor seating. You will find tarts, tiramisu, mini cakes such as a cannoli cake, carrot or chocolate peanut butter cake. 198 East Bay Street. Open 8am - 12am daily.


My favorite is the chocolate peanut butter cake (definitely shareable) and a flat white.


Harbinger Cafe and Bakery

The sister coffee cafe and bakery to Harken, Harbinger is located on northern King Street and offers a similar approach with a different vibe and variant menu. Look for new favorites here. There is a focus on gluten and dairy free options. 1107 King Street. Open daily 7am - 3pm, Saturdays and Sundays opens at 8am, Sundays closes at 1pm).


Sugar Bakeshop

Known for their cakes, cake donuts, mini cakes and cupcakes that are essentially mini cakes in a wrapper. Delectable desserts made in-house and prepared fresh daily. 59 1/2 Cannon Street. Open Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm


A favorite is the German chocolate cupcake. 


Gelato at Tinto y Crema

Located on Vendue Range right by Waterfront Park, it is a perfect stop on a hot Charleston day.  Cool down with a selection of dreamy gelato in flavors from Belgian chocolate, vanilla coffee, and pistachio to chocolate peanut butter, hazelnut, caramel and white chocolate meringue. They also serve sorbets and cookies. There is limited seating indoors and a few tables outside. 8 Vendue Range. Open daily 9am - 9pm (and later some evenings).


My favorite is the Belgian Chocolate Extreme in a waffle cone.


 

Charleston Dessert Shops Open After Dinner in the Evenings

  1. Benne’s by Peninsula Grill, open until 11pm

  2. Carmella's Cafe & Dessert Bar, open until 12am

  3. La Patisserie, open until 6pm and 5:30om on Saturdays

  4. Saffron Bakery, open until 6pm daily and 9pm Saturdays & Sundays

  5. Gelato at Tinto y Crema, open daily until 9pm, some days later


 

Sweet Send-Off with Charleston Desserts

As the last crumbs of a delectable 7 Layer Cake dissolve on your tongue and the final sip of a creamy Flat White warms your soul, it's clear that Charleston's dessert scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavor and tradition. Whether you're indulging in a cannoli amidst the historical charm of Mercato at Sorelle or embracing the health-conscious, innovative treats at Harken Café, the city's sweets tell a story of culinary diversity. The legendary 12-layer Coconut Cake of Benne’s by Peninsula Grill sweeps you into opulence with every forkful, while the conscientious offerings at Harbinger Cafe charm with their thoughtful nod to dietary inclusivity. Charleston isn't just a destination; it's a celebration of Southern delights that lingers on the palate, long after your journey has ended.


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I'm Monica Edwards

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I'm a writer, photographer, explorer and serial entrepreneur. And, I’m always in search of ways to turn everyday routines into treasured experiences. 

 

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