With the holiday celebrating love, romance, and sugar quickly approaching, we've assembled a list of rich and famous Greater Des Moines desserts with a little help from our social media friends. Relieve some of the pressure of planning the perfect Valentine's date and order in for dessert. Or, show your besties some appreciation with a sweet Galentine's Day treat!
Barbara's pink champagne cake
Nothing says "Des Moines" quite like the legendary Barbara's Champagne Cake. Often replicated, never duplicated, this slightly sweet cake can only be found at The Bake Shoppe in Windsor Heights - home of the "Original Champagne Cake." The pink confection (surprisingly) uses no champagne but does include rum and sherry.
Capital Pie at Iowa Taproom
Be sure to ask for *several* forks to share this mountainous treat at the Iowa Taproom. The towering slice features peanut butter and cookies n' cream ice cream on a chocolate cookie crust topped with whipped cream, hot fudge, and almonds. Pair this pie with a pint of Single Speed Brewing's "Better Than Cake" stout infused with cocoa nib, toasted coconut, and toasted pecan.
Crunch Cone at Snookies
Visit this Beaverdale stalwart any summer day when the sun's shining, and you can expect to wait a bit - luckily, there are cute bench swings to pass the time. You'll discover the wait for Snookie’s is well worth it for one of their famous malts or the classic crunch cone. Your ice cream cone will come piled high and covered in sweet nuts and sprinkles.
Flourless chocolate torte at Crème
No list of the best desserts would be complete without mentioning Crème Dessert Lounge – the bakery that put Des Moines on the map after an appearance on Food Network's Cupcake Wars. Crème's flourless chocolate torte is a favorite among those seeking gluten-free sweets for its dense, yet moist, chocolatey composition topped with an almond infused cream.
Lou Ann's Italian wedding cake at Aposto
Award-winning restaurateur Tony Lemmo, learned his late mother's cake baking craft to carry on her legacy at Aposto in Sherman Hill. Find the decadent dessert on the menu alongside dishes featuring Lou Ann's famous sauces and pair a slice with a glass of limoncello, prosecco, or coffee for the perfect ending to your evening.
Mahalo's mini donuts
What began as a humble mall kiosk has now blossomed into an Island-escape brick-and-mortar coffee and donut shop in West Des Moines. Mahalo's fries up made-to-order fresh mini donuts covered in your choice of sweet toppings such as Apple Tiki, Blueberry Beach, and Coconut Cove. Wash it all down with a steaming cup of fresh Hawaiian coffee grown in Maui, roasted on the Big Island, and shipped to Mahalo's within 48 hours of roasting. Ahhh … paradise!
Red velvet cake at Simon's
What's better than free dessert? When the dessert follows an incredible meal and is equally delicious. While you dine on a sumptuous Italian dish, you can often expect to be greeted by the owner for some small talk and to confirm everything is to your liking. At Simon's, you'll find the service is as good as the food is as good as the atmosphere. So if you haven't visited Simon's before now, act surprised when they stop by your table with a couple of slices of homemade red velvet cake.
Salted caramel budino at Eatery A
Sift through the (many) raving reviews of Eatery A, and you'll likely encounter the exotic-sounding salted caramel budino. The simple yet elegant Italian dessert is served in a glass vessel parfait-style and features an indulgent custard topped with a luscious caramel sauce and sprinkled with cracked sea salt. Enjoy the budino after splitting one of Eatery A's famous wood-fired pizzas, and you'll be saying "Eccellente!"
Strawberry shortcake at Tursi's Latin King
At one of the oldest Italian eateries in Greater Des Moines, no meal is complete without the beloved strawberry shortcake. Trust that a restaurant priding itself on using quality, fresh ingredients will only serve fruit-based desserts in season. As such, you can expect to find the stacked high dessert offered on Latin King's menu during the summer months.
A hyperlocal dessert, even more so than the famed champagne cake, is the "Wanda." This Italian cookie is made of light, flaky pastry dough and drizzled with pink royal icing. Made famous by the southside's Celsi family and Tumea and Son's restaurant, you can find the simple dessert sold by the ziplock bag at B&B Grocery or Graziano Brothers, if you can't wait until the next Italian American Heritage Festival rolls around, that is.