Explore Washington D.C.

Sweet Spots

Ever since the Food Network set up cameras inside Charm City Cakes (the only way the public gets to “visit” the facility), “Ace of Cakes” viewers have learned of the city’s sweet tooth. But Baltimore’s decadent dessert scene is more than what airs on reality TV, thanks to recently arrived pastry wizards and a historic neighborhood splashed with the colors of Italy. (One Little Italy bakery even claims to be the HQ for a self-proclaimed inventor of tiramisu.) Other spots to sate cravings:

Eyes on the Pies
Rocker-turned-pie-man Rodney Henry sweetens the Federal Hill zone with flavors from mixed berry and apple crumb to the top-selling “Baltimore Bomb” (loaded with local specialty Berger Cookies combined with a buttermilk chess pie). Dangerously Delicious Pies delivers all over the country, but fans stop into its casual, friendly spaces in Baltimore and on D.C.’s H street NE, spots where live music often accelerates the sugar high. www.dangerouspies.com

From Italy, With Love
After emigrating from Palermo, Gioacchino Vaccaro opened Vaccaro’s Italian Pastry Shop in 1956, immediately wowing Baltimore with Sicilian-style pastries. Today six shops, including ones in Little Italy and the Inner Harbor, fill cases with temptations from deep-fried cannoli shells and cassata (Italian sponge cake layered with cannoli cream) to creamy gelati and 27 types of biscotti. www.vacarrospastry.com

Fine Finishes
Candlelight, artistic touches (on walls and dishes) and perks like free valet parking set the scene at Blue Hill Tavern. Diners come for the entrées but also for unexpected finales by pastry chef Bettina Clair. Her popular creations include chocolate silken pie topped with chocolate-covered Cocoa Puffs and baked Alaska with a mound of raspberry ice cream and orange-blossom meringue. Watch a DIY video of another main attraction, her sweet-meets-savory peanut butter cup, at www.bluehilltavern.com.