With the festive season approaching, it seemed the perfect time to highlight some pareve (dairy-free) dessert options available across the Twin Cities. While most of these places won’t call their offerings “pareve,” the advent of a growing vegan population has created a wealth of options for those of us who are looking for dairy-free goods for other reasons (like not mixing meat and milk). This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope it’ll get you started.
Clockwise from top: chocolate-fig cake, lemon poppy seed cake with lemon icing, pumpkin cupcake with maple frosting, tofu cheesecake with cherry topping, peanut butter balls, cranberry-walnut scone (all vegan)
Wedge Community Co-op
2105 Lyndale Avenue S
Minneapolis MN, 55405
The Wedge is the clear winner in pareve desserts, your holy land of dairy-less treats, with every kind you could possibly imagine, and then about 12 more-in flavor combinations you’ve only dreamed about. Your average bakery doesn’t carry this many items, pareve or not, and the Wedge does it all without dairy. I’ve never had one thing there I haven’t liked. I can’t say enough good things about this Uptown gem.
Here’s an overview of just some of the items they offer:
Clockwise from top left: Tollhouse, cardomom-orange shortbread, peanut butter-chocolate chip, carob-almond, pecan-raisin-oatmeal (PROs), thumbprints in blueberry, strawberry, and apricot, coconut macaroon (all vegan)
- Cookies: chocolate chip, macaroon, peanut butter
- Bread loaves: banana breads, vegan ultra-orange bread, vegan earl gray-blueberry loaf
- Cakes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from 6″ round to a full sheet. Including chocolate with any (yes, any) flavor frosting you want.
- Cupcakes: Their top three sellers are vegan black forest, vegan chocolate raspberry, and vegan pumpkin with maple frosting
- Scones and muffins: there is a daily vegan scone (and they often do a certified organic vegan scone/muffin)
- Puddings: tapioca, chocolate
- Crisp: vegan apple walnut crisp
- Bars and brownies: brownies with walnuts, dream bar, rice krispie bars – bound with peanut butter and egg replacer
- Vegan peanut butter ball (like a truffle) – definitely a top seller
- Pies – pumpkin pies, cream pies (it’s tofu based!), fruit pies
- Cheesecake, mousse, and (a totally amazing) vegan apple walnut crisp
To solidify their awesomeness, they’re currently experimenting with a vegan gluten free tarts shell, so keep a lookout for that.
Special orders: Two days advance notice
4100 Minnetonka Boulevard
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Everything on their ginormous bakery menu is dairy free (not surprising, since they are a fleshig (meat) deli), thanks to non-dairy creamer-type ingredients. Check out the website for a full listing with prices, including tortes, cannoli, cream puffs, and cheesecakes. They even keep decorated half-sheet cakes on hand for birthdays – super fun, and all they require is a little thawing. Personally, I’m eyeing up the Mini Cherry-Pistachio Cannoli. A dozen, $10.79.
Special orders: minimum 24-48 hours, but some items require more notice (multiple cakes, etc.)
Cecil’s Delicatessen, Bakery, & Restaurant
651 South Cleveland
St. Paul, MN 55116
Delicatessen Phone 651.698.6276
Restaurant Phone 651.698.0334
Take note: although Cecil’s is St. Paul’s local Jewish deli, not all their desserts are pareve. So what options do you have if you’re looking for dairy-free desserts? The chocolate pie with chocolate crust fits the bill, along with chocolate-pecan pie, chocolate cake, and date bars. Order a whole chocolate pie (11 big slices) for $32.50+tax (Note: is a $5 deposit for the pie tin). Slices of desserts can also be ordered individually to create a variety platter.
And for those of you who can’t get enough of them at Purim, Cecil’s offers Hamentashen year-round in a rotating selection of flavors, including almond, poppy seed, apple, cherry, date, prune, and apricot. $0.99 each.
Special orders: 24-48 hours advance notice.
While Whole Foods has made significant strides for the gluten-free population, they’re a little behind in offering dairy-free/vegan options. And their dairy-free desserts aren’t made in-house (they come from a company called Chicago Diner, based in Chicago, IL), so customizations aren’t usually possible, and flavors may vary by location. Even though their selection is limited, it’s still a viable option, particularly if you’re ordering other food from their catering department.
They offer three different vegan cakes on a regular basis (carrot, cocoa mouse, and either cookies-and-cream or coconut-lemon); cheesecake; and some scones, cookies, and muffins.
Special orders: minimum 5 days advance notice; otherwise, limited to what is in-stock.
3311 East 25th Street
Minneapolis MN 55406
A bastion of local, organic, sustainable fare that’s favored by hippies and foodies alike, Birchwood Café has a somewhat limited selection, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the flavor and quality. They always have a vegan fruit crisp on their menu, vegan chocolate-coconut macaroons (most macaroons are), and coconut tapioca pudding; they frequently have a soy ice cream available as well.
Special orders: four days notice needed for Thanksgiving, with pick up on Tuesday); all other special orders require 48 hours notice.
French Meadow Bakery & Café
2610 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
In a Marie Antoinette-esque “Madame, the people can’t afford bread.” “Then let them eat cake!” kind of way, French Meadow – a nationally-known bread bakery also offers a selection of vegan (and therefore pareve) desserts and pastry items (in addition to their butter-laden, indulgent masterpieces). Their specialty is vegan turtle cake ($42 for a 16-slice cake), perfect for any table that includes chocolate lovers. They also offer brown rice krispie bars, individual carrot cakes, and some cookies every once in awhile.
Special orders: 24 hours notice.
850 Grand Ave
St Paul, MN 55105
651.224.5687; press 2 to speak to the pastry chefs for special orders
Another local favorite for all things butter- and cream-filled, Café Latte doesn’t regularly prepare dairy-free desserts, but they are included in the establisment’s rotating schedule. And-lucky for you-they can all be special ordered. Options include: chocolate-dipped strawberries, meringue cookies, almond-lingonberry bundt cake, almond mini-chip bundt cake, and orange-pecan bundt cake.
Special orders: at least two weeks advance notice.