Monterey County enjoys a wealth of bonafide bakeries and sweet shops. But the vast majority of what they offer still involves traditional flour. Not so with these idyllic indulgences.
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Mona Lisas at Paris Bakery
These dense, cream-filled chocolate cakes ($3.95) are, true to the name, world-class beauties. Shaped like hearts and garnished with sprinkles, they melt in the mouth with a quantity of chocolate that defies their petite size.
6am-6pm Mon-Sat, 6am-4pm Sunday, 271 Bonifacio Place, Monterey, (831) 646-1620, www.parisbakery.us
French Macarons at Parker Lusseau
Here the colorful macaroons ($1.65 each) are authentic enough to evoke the Eiffel tower and the Champs De Elysee. From lavender to strawberry, they’re pleasantly airy almost to the point of flakiness.
7am-5:30pm daily, 539 Hartnell St., Monterey, (831) 641-9188, www.parkerlusseau.com
Cupcakes at Kara’s Cupcakes
Frosted with creamy icing, these cupcakes are as easy on the eyes as they are on the taste buds. Available in mini ($2.50) or regular ($3.75), the fluffy treats come in four gluten-free flavors, including coconut.
10am-9pm Mon-Sat, 10am-8pm Sun, 1240 Del Monte Center, Monterey, (831) 375-2253, www.karascupcakes.com
Cinnamon Rolls at Lilly Mae’s Cinnamon Rolls
These decadent, mouthwatering cinnamon rolls pair perfectly with a hot cup of coffee and a long walk around Cannery Row. With two types to choose from ($4.60 unfrosted, $5.60 frosted), these ooey-gooey monsters are worth the caloric investment.
8am-10:30pm daily, 700 Cannery Row, Monterey, (831) 646-1765
German Chocolate Cake at Tillie Gort’s Café
Layered with coconut-pecan frosting, this signature cake ($4.95/slice) wins over chocolate lovers and anyone who loves cake, thanks in part to a moist and balanced base.
7:30am-9pm daily, 111 Central Ave., Pacific Grove, (831) 373-0335, www.tilliegortscafe.com
Raw Energy Balls at Perfectly Pressed Juice Bar at The Press Club
With a creamy base and nutty flavor, these energy bites by Kari Bernardi's Super Natural brand ($1.50) pair well with a green juice. Two flavors are offered: 1) almond butter-oatmeal-chocolate chip and cranberry-vanilla-nuts. Balancing sweet and savory, these are quintessential guilt-free goodies.
6am-6pm Mon-Fri, 8am-2pm Sat, 10am-2pm Sun, 1123 Fremont Blvd., Seaside, (831) 901 3100, www.perfectlypressedjuice.com