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FOOD & DRINK

Five Cult Desserts to Seek Out in Sydney That Won't Break the Bank

From custard puffs for less than a dollar to a slice of Sydney's most famous fruit-filled cake.
By Chloe Collard
September 14, 2020
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Five Cult Desserts to Seek Out in Sydney That Won't Break the Bank

From custard puffs for less than a dollar to a slice of Sydney's most famous fruit-filled cake.
By Chloe Collard
September 14, 2020
  shares

FIVE CULT DESSERTS TO SEEK OUT IN SYDNEY THAT WON'T BREAK THE BANK

From custard puffs for less than a dollar to a slice of Sydney's most famous fruit-filled cake.

We might be living in a golden age of desserts in Australia. With the likes of Gelato Messina's ever-popular empire and KOI's continued success following owner Reynold Poernomo's time on MasterChef, there is a spirit of fanaticism around the decadence of our most pleasurable course. Standards are impossibly high for Instagram-ready desserts, but Australia's talented pastry chefs never disappoint. We're lucky enough to have access to some obsession-worthy sweets — from legendary mango pancakes to inconceivably flaky pastries, there exists a multitude of cult-like desserts out there that are equally unforgettable and affordable. Read on for some of the best cult desserts in Sydney that cost less than you might think.

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    There has to be something magical about Sweet Belem’s Portuguese tarts that keeps people coming back. Maybe it’s because they stray from tradition and serve them warm and a little bit singed, with gooey, slightly caramelised custard that melts on your tongue, or maybe it’s the satisfying crisp of layered, golden pastry. Either way, the boys at Sweet Belem serve over 1000 of these little gems a day, and are still often sold out early in the day. At $3.80 a pop, it’s worth heading to Petersham — known as ‘Little Portugal’ to some — for a box of these little treats alone.

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    Mango pancakes from Marigold Citymark Sydney

    Every great cult favourite needs an air of mystique, so the mysterious origins of Marigold’s famous yum cha mango pancakes makes them the elusive sweet treat of our dreams. While no one may know how these pillows of the heavens came to be, they’ve become a staple of every good Sydney yum cha — but Marigold was doing it first and continue to do it best. Delicate and textured like all good desserts, you bite into the paper-thin mango pancake to find a super-soft, gooey mango pudding and impossibly light, sweetened cream. You’re essentially eating a tropical cloud, which can only be a good thing. Three pieces of mango pancake is $7.80 on Marigold’s takeaway menu. Call ahead to place your order.

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    Watermelon cake from Black Star Pastry

    Black Star Pastry’s strawberry watermelon cake could easily hold the title for ‘most Instagrammable cake in the world’. The layered goodness of smooth, meringue-like almond dacquoise and decadent rose-scented cream with strawberries that border a seemingly weightless piece of watermelon in the middle means this cake transcends its cult status. It’s so popular that you’re advised to order online (a minimum of four slices at $36) as it often sells out days in advance. Or, you can buy a single slice for $9 at any one of the four Sydney stores — a small price to pay for a perfect cube of cake.

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    Strawberry pavlova from Saga Lyte

    Saga Enmore is the famed cake outlet from pastry prince Andy Bowdy. Plump and pretty, and made seemingly just for you, Saga’s pavlova is a thing of beauty, but beware — it’s often sold out long before the day is over. The flavours change seasonally, but they’re always $8.50 each, and there’s something about the unity of the crisp and the chew of the meringue, the fluffy egg whites married with chantilly cream and coconut chew, of every one that makes for an otherworldy dessert that will always be in high demand, no matter its toppings. Saga’s Enmore location is currently offering takeaway only.

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    When looking for the best thing to eat in Chinatown, a good rule of thumb is to follow the queues, so it’s no wonder that the custard puffs from Emperor’s Puffs always bring the crowds. The hordes of dessert fanatics mean you’d best get there early, but any wait is worth it when you’re rewarded with light dough balls filled to the brim with a custard cream to end all custard creams. You can grab three of these bad boys for $1, but bigger is always better, and it’s easy to test the limits of your sweet tooth with these custard puffs without spending more than a tenner. Pocket 18 of them for just $5.

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Top image: Black Star Pastry

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