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Six Sweet Treats to Get for Your Mate's Birthday If They (Weirdly) Don't Like Cake

Treat the cake-hater in your life to monster-sized eclairs, birthday breakfasts and boozy Italian desserts.
By Dominic Gruenewald
May 21, 2021
By Dominic Gruenewald
May 21, 2021


in partnership with

Treat the cake-hater in your life to monster-sized eclairs, birthday breakfasts and boozy Italian desserts.

Let them eat cake. Unless, of course, they don't like the spongy, decadent dessert fit for a royal. Yep, we've all got a mate who doesn't fancy cake. Yes, it's weird, but we love them anyway. However, every year when it rolls around to their birthday, we're left scratching our heads. Well, not this time.

We've teamed up with American Express to let you know that, yes, there are plenty of other tasty treats to track down in Sydney to mark your mate's next lap around the sun. From giant eclairs and Italian doughnuts to choc chip cookies and the best tiramisu in town, these six Sydney spots will put you in the good books for years to come.

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    While locals often flock to this bustling Bondi cafe for its farm-to-plate breakfasts, it’s the cookies that have put this place — and its sister venue Blair St Dairy — on the map. They’re freshly baked, slightly chewy and stuffed with a generous amount of chocolate chunks. Not to mention they’re enormous. So, if your non-cake-loving mate (or date) loves a bikkie, consider your work here done. Want to go the extra mile? You can now order its signature cookie dough straight to your door and bake ’em up yourself. Not only will your house smell amazing, but also your mate will get to feast on straight-outta-the-oven cookies which, let’s face it, is pretty hard to beat.

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  • 5

    Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting some sort of hummus-based dessert here. The all-vegan eatery may be known for its dip — and don’t get us wrong, it’s great. But we’d argue its desserts are worth their salt, too, particularly the malabi. This Middle Eastern dessert has been around for more than just a few centuries, with origins dating back to the Sasanian Empire (224–651 CE). And it’s nothing like cake. Traditionally, malabi is a pudding made of rice flour, sugar and milk. At Simply Hummus Bar, expect it to come topped with strawberry jam, coconut, rosewater and mixed nuts, and made with coconut milk.

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  • 4

    Yves Scherrer is one of the finest French pastry chefs in Sydney. So, next time you pass this nondescript patisserie by the beach, you’ll want to make sure you go in and try many of Scherrer’s insane creations. But, remember, right now it’s about going the whole nine yards for your friend. Enter the Salted Caramel Cookie Eclairzilla: a monster-sized eclair that’s four times the length and double the width of a standard eclair. It’s filled with salted caramel, covered with ganache, topped with piped chocolate cream and mascarpone, and finished with chunks of Belgian chocolate chip cookies. These beasts are available for preorder only and can serve up to six people — but we’ll leave that up to your mate to decide.

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  • 3

    The Italian word tiramisu translates to ‘pick me up’ or ‘cheer me up’ — and that’s precisely the effect this sweet treat has. And the godfather of Sydney tiramisu is found at none other than 10 William St. The Paddington hole-in-the-wall is known for its fun wines and famed pretzel — and, you guessed it, its faultless tiramisu. It’s got all the makings of any great one — coffee, savoiardi biscuits, mascarpone and a nip of sweet marsala. But what sets it above the rest is the pinch of salt on top, making it perfectly sweet, salty and boozy. So, after wining and dining your favourite human, surprise them with this.

    Image: Kitti Gould

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  • 2

    Generally speaking, ice cream is a pretty good substitute for birthday cake. But Messina gelato — or, moreover — a Messina gelato cake? That has to take the… well, cake. This lavish, inventive and downright fun icy twist on the birthday dessert staple is sure to impress. And, despite its name, it’s very unlike cake. While there are a few stellar options in the range, the standout for us is the Quad Choc. Made of milk, dark and white chocolate gelato, toasted white chocolate parfait, crunchy caramel milk chocolate, a sliver of flourless chic sponge to soak up some of the ice cream and coated with velvet chocolate spray, it’s any choccy fiend’s dream.

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  • 1

    If you’ve got someone in your life who likes birthday breakfasts but, weirdly, doesn’t want to eat cake in the AM, then these waffles are sure to be the key to their cake-hating heart. As one of the only bakeries in NSW to have its own in-house stone mill, Berkelo has made a name for itself in Sydney’s northern suburbs (and beyond). Its loaves and pastries are all made with the bakery’s own unbleached, 100-percent Australian stoneground flour. For a celebratory treat, the sourdough waffles are hard to pass up. Sit in and you can have them topped with toasted macadamias, caramelised banana, butter and maple syrup. Or, pick up a pack to take home and whip up a feast for your friend. This way you can top them with sprinkles, choc sauce, candles — you name it.

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Helping out never tasted so good — shop small to support the local stores that make Sydney so great. To learn about American Express and the Shop Small initiative, visit here. Then, head this way to find more must-visit spots.

Top image: Cassandra Hannagan

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