Dessert is often the finale of a great meal, but for some, it's the reason to go out to dinner in the first place.
There's plenty of fine restaurants around town that offer a delectable slice of pie or tiramisu to end a meal, but here are five local businesses that put sweets front and center with a real wow factor.
And it just so happens that Sunday is National Dessert Day — as if dessert needs any more public awareness — so splurge with one of these creative, sugary delights.
Garrido's Bistro & Pastry: If you want something really over-the-top you have to visit this eclectic cafe in Grosse Pointe Woods. The breakfast and dinner menu are a mix of Latin and Northern American cuisine with some European influence, but the dessert menu smacks of pure American indulgence (I mean that in a good way).
The bistro's extreme milkshakes come topped in a variety of ways that can only be described as totally bananas. Starting with a chocolate rim, the shakes are then topped with other desserts, making the whole shebang more than a foot tall. Through November, try the Pumpkin Pie Decadence, a pumpkin pie shake topped with an ice cream sandwich, slice of cheese cake, a scoop of pumpkin pie ice cream and a chocolate-covered-ice-cream square on top.
The gravity-defying treat is held together by chocolate — there's no skewer running through as you may think — the glass is even sealed to the plate with chocolate for extra support. For $18, it's worth the social media bragging rights, but bring a few friends to help you eat it. 19605 Mack, Grosse Pointe Woods. (313) 466-3042 or garridosbistro.com.
See also: M Street Baking Co., 117 N. Michigan in Howell, also serves stacked shakes that are desserts on top of desserts. (517) 376-6797.
Donut Bar + Coffee: Serena Denha opened her gourmet coffee shop a little more than three years ago, and since then she and her staff have been pumping out instagram-worthy pastries that stretch the limits of what you can consider a doughnut.
With flavors like vegan maple walnut, raspberry cream cheese, caramel apple, cotton candy, samoa cookie, creme brûlée and even a doughnut crusted with Fruity Pebble cereal, this Southfield shop may be Detroit's answer to Portland, Oregon's world-famous Voodoo Doughnut cafe.
Donut Bar & Coffee also makes doughnut ice cream cones and made-to-order letter doughnuts. The latter can make for a great personalized snack for the office or classroom for birthdays, milestones or any kind of celebration. "You'd be surprised at some of the phrases we've gotten," said Denha. Letter doughnuts are $2 each and come in either white chocolate color glaze or ganache with sprinkles (special requests are honored, too). Order 1-2 days in advance by calling or emailing the store. 29039 Southfield, Southfield. (248) 595-8212 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also: A bakery to honor late Detroit hip-hop producer J. Dilla, Dilla's Delights often sells out of sweets before closing time. 242 John R, Detroit. (313) 346-3771.
Nothing Bundt Cake: These super moist and flavorful cake are found at two locations in Metro Detroit in Novi and in Troy. The Troy location, which opened in June is franchised by Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones and his wife Jazymn Jones.
The company started more than 20 years ago in Las Vegas, but each bakery tries to be unique to avoid the cookie-cutter, franchise feel. Nothing Bundt Cakes signature is the thick frosting ribbons down the side of the cakes, which come in a variety of sizes, even cupcake-sized "bundtinis." Cake flavors include chocolate chip, vanilla, red velvet, white chocolate raspberry, confetti, carrot, lemon and more. 780 E. Big Beaver, Troy. (248) 918-2414. 43280 11 Mile, Novi. (248) 308-2610. nothingbundtcakes.com.
See also: Good Cakes and Bakes is an independent Detroit bakery specializing in organic and vegan gourmet baked goods, including layer cakes, gooey butter cakes, cupcakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes and more. 19363 Livernois, Detroit. (313) 468-9915.
Detroit Dough: This growing local company produces safe, ready-to-eat cookie dough that's meant to be eaten as a snack. It's a sugary, sinful dessert that doesn't mess around trying to be low-calorie or low in fat. This is a treat.
The year-old company serves cookie dough in two sizes (4 ounces and 6 ounces) and five flavors: chocolate chip, sugar, peanut butter, brownie and "Hold My Chips," which is standard cookie dough flavor without the chocolate chips.
Detroit Dough has paused plans for a brick-and-mortar location in Detroit's northwest Goldberg neighborhood and instead is focusing on distribution. You can find the cookie dough at Emagine movie theaters in Birmingham, Canton, Macomb and Novi, and also at the Big House at the University of Michigan, Athletics Center O'rena at Oakland University and Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck. Visit eatdetroitdough.com.
See also: Roasting Plant Detroit, 660 Woodward, Detroit, is a great midday pick-me-up with brewed-to-order coffee and snacks like shots of cookie dough and doughnuts from Dillla's Delights.
Nice Modern Creamery: Ice cream on its own can brighten your day. Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen can take it to another level. Also known as Milkster Modern Creamery, this ice cream shop is inside a Biggby Coffee in Madison Heights.
They make all their ice cream to-order using liquid nitrogen that is -321 degrees, making the ice cream smoother and creamier. It's the smoothest, creamiest ice cream I've ever tasted. It doesn't need any additional bells and whistles, but they do offer a variety of toppings and "flavor syringes" which shoot syrup until the middle of the scoop.
The Madison Heights location is at 31055 John R. Call (248) 802-7353. There are additional locations at 20570 Haggerty in Northville and inside the Biggby at Partridge Creek, 18309 Hall in Macomb.
See also: iFreeze Creamery also has ice cream made with liquid nitrogen and a variety of fun toppings. 43702 Schoenherr, Sterling Heights. (586) 991-7132.