8 Must-Try Coffee Desserts in NYC

By Jess Bender  |  February 27, 2014

Coffee has long been a key ingredient in classic desserts like tiramisu and affogato, but NYC pastry chefs are using java in new creative ways. Read on to learn more about their sweetest creations.

  • Chestnut Tiramisu at Dominique Ansel Bakery
    The Cronut mastermind has a tendency to breathe new life into run-of-the-mill desserts. In his interpretation of the Italian staple tiramisu, he replaces the usual ladyfingers for a whiskey espresso-soaked chestnut cake, and dollops it with a generous serving of chestnut mousse and mascarpone cream.

  • Opera Cake at Épicerie Boulud
    While Daniel Boulud is known for juggling eight restaurants in Manhattan, the French chef is often applauded for his elegant, well-crafted desserts and pastries. He even turns a simple and classic chocolate cake, which can be an afterthought at most fine-dining establishments, into a showstopper. Boulud’s multi-tiered dessert is layered with coffee-soaked almond sponge cake, a pure chocolate ganache and a coffee buttercream.

  • Coffee Mousse Cake at Lady M Confections

    If you ever wanted a mid-day wake-me-up but were too tired to make your own cup of joe, eating this cake would be a less-daunting alternative. Dark chocolate and light coffee mousses are spread between multiple layers of a whiskey-soaked chocolate sponge cake. The final product is covered in a smooth coffee ganache.

  • Affogato at Esca

    This Italian seafood destination takes pride in their roots and combines some Italian staples into one dessert that’ll keep you up all night. The already-creamy gelato is taken to another level with a mascarpone base, which is then sprinkled with dark chocolate chips and crushed ladyfingers. To cap it off, a moat of hot espresso surrounds the cool dessert.

  • Flan de Rosa at Rosa Mexicano

    The traditional Mexican flan has a simple base that can withstand all kinds of adaptations, including a spike of caffeine. The chic Mexican eatery spikes their spongy vanilla custard with a strong espresso and serves it on top of a spicy ancho chile brownie with a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream.

  • "Coffee" at Le Bernardin

    Though it's been a New York icon since the mid-80s, the refined French dining room is still innovating - down to its dessert menu. This mysteriously-titled dessert begins with a dense chocolate cake base and is followed by a creamy mascarpone mousse, caramel cremeux, coffee ice cream, and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake crumblings on top.

  • Coffee Semifreddo at The Lambs Club
    Semifreddo, which literally translates to “half-cold” in Italian, develops its unique, mousse-like consistency from mixing together gelato and whipped cream. This versatile semi-frozen dessert is accompanied by amaretto toffee and a generous serving of espresso ice cream.

  • Coffee-Infused Chocolate Tart at Navy
    At this cozy Soho newcomer, executive chef Camille Becerra accepts the challenge of working with local produce and ingredients. One of her homegrown desserts, a coffee-infused chocolate tart with a peanut-coffee Florentine, uses beans from Brooklyn roaster Kitten Coffee.