Seasonal specialties (available until the end of December) include spiced pumpkin whoopie pies, apple cider butter and pumpkin pie, pecan pie and pumpkin swirl cheesecake.
Theres also a sweet theme built into the places mission. The owner, New York transplant Andrea Andy Travaglia, teams up with the University of Miami/Nova Southeastern Universitys Center for Autism and Related Disabilities to employ autistic adults.
Travaglia named the bistro after her daughters grandmothers and features the matriarchs coconut chocolate cake and cheesecake. Pastry chef Yannis Janssens, formerly of the Fontainebleau and one of Dessert Professional magazines Top Ten Pastry Chefs of 2010, crafts those and other sweets in a Wynwood production kitchen. The variety is mind-boggling, from mini Boston cream pies to sticky Florida coconut croissants to festive biscotti dipped in dark chocolate and peppermint.
The greens (Paradise Farms), milk (Dakin Farms) and even the coffee (Panther) come from Florida sources.
Lee & Maries Cakery, 40 South Pointe Dr., Miami Beach; 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily; 305-672-5167, leeandmaries.com.
Sweetness Bake Shop & Cafe
Better known for its sweet fleet of Sugar Rush trucks shilling Krispy Kreme bread pudding and deep-fried Oreos around South Florida, Sweetness Bake Shop is the brick-and-mortar base for baked-from-scratch desserts with a Miami twist.
We cant decide which is better: The mini-cupcakes and dessert shots that satisfy sweet cravings in two bites or the clever names and flavor combos. Go traditional with the Thrilla in Vanilla, a bourbon-vanilla bean cupcake with vanilla bean buttercream, or local with the Guayabera, a guava cupcake with guava filling and cream cheese frosting.
Cupcake flavors vary, with butter pecan, maple pumpkin, sweet potato, pumpkin cheesecake, apple spice, caramel corn and red velvet in the rotation on one recent visit. If youre lucky, youll time it right for the maple bacon cupcake, topped with maple butter cream and a garnish of bacon and sea salt.
Opened since 2010, Sweetness is a family affair. Its run by Stephanie Diaz-Perez with partners J.C. Perez (her husband), Yamile Diaz (her mother) and Danny Diaz (her brother). Just west of South Miami, the café with lime-green walls is a frothy confection carved out of a strip mall. A wood floor and couches encourage hanging out.
Along with the fun desserts, there are hearty sandwiches, wraps, burgers and melts, some with sweet touches such as mango spread and apricot jam, paired with grilled chicken and roasted turkey.
Sweetness Bake Shop, 9549 Sunset Dr., Miami; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday; 305-271-7791, sweetnessbakeshop.net.
Crumb on Parchment
Celebrity chef Michelle Bernsteins brief-lived South Beach Crumb on Parchment failed to rise, but the original remains in the Design District for lunching on classic sandwiches and salads and a daily rotation of desserts such as coconut cake, blondie brownies and lemon meringue pie.
Opened last year, the bakery-café relies upon Bernsteins mothers recipes for much of the comfort-food menu. Mismatched couches, chunky tables and chairs make you feel like youre eating in somebodys living room.
Located in the high-ceilinged atrium of the 3930 Building, the cash-only spot has seven sandwiches, ranging from a grilled Cheddar cheese on butter bread to pulled rotisserie chicken on ciabatta with goat cheese, apples, onions and arugula. There are also chopped salads, wines by the glass and breakfast (oatmeal, granola, eggs) all day.
The spotlight, however, is on the sweet stuff. Glass domes showcase fig and pear cake, chocolate chunk cookies and scones, both savory and sweet.
Crumb on Parchment, 3930 NE Second Ave., Miami; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; 305-572-9444.