Elizabeth Karmel's Winning PB&J Cupcakes
You couldn't get two feet from Karmel's Hill Country BBQ table without inhaling a huge whiff of fluffy peanut butter frosting. Her full-sized cupcakes might have seemed overwhelming amongst such an insane spread, but with perfectly puffy yellow cake hiding a touch of grape jelly and sprinkled with Reese's Pieces, they were easy to down.
Stephan Motir's Black Forest Cake
Tribeca Grille definitely kicked the class of the joint up a notch with these truly gorgeous shots of black forest cake with pomegranate gelée. Breaking through the top layer satisfied similarly as does cracking a crème brûlée—simple, understated, and balanced.
Big Gay Ice Cream's Push Pops
Leave it to Doug and Bryan to bring some fun to the crowd—their Pumpkin Ice Cream with Spiced Candy Pepitas in a push pop proved that the boys rock more than soft serve, and know that simple, old-school and classic execution make for one fun treat. This perfectly dense, creamy, sweet ice cream pushed up smiles.
Marlo Scott's Black and Tan Cupcakes
Who doesn't like a little stout in their cupcakes? Sweet Revenge's Scott uses Young's Double Dark Chocolate Stout in her cake and tops them with ChocoVine Cream Cheese Frosting, resulting in rich but not heavy textures with a good amount of both fluff and chew.
Christina Lee's "Graham Cracker Ice Cream Sundae"
The best part of s'mores in a pretty plate. Recette's chef uses toasted marshmallows and chocolate ganache to get the flavors on board her graham cracker ice cream. Strewn with roasted cocoa nibs, it had just the right amount of creamy/chewy/crunchy/yummy without being weighed down.
Stephen Collucci's Deconstructed Doughnuts
Stephen Collucci brought a take on his signature dessert at Colicchio and Sons—an apple cider doughnut with Calvados ice cream, a horchata shooter, and a touch of cranberry jam. With a smear, a bite and a shot, the weather just turned a bit more autumnal.
Godiva, Godiva... who's sponsoring SWEET? GODIVA!
If you're not careful at these events you can wind up with miscellaneous iPhone covers, pens that don't work and funny gold hats. But as this Godiva lady floated around all night and drinks kept flowing, those hats started looking way more attractive (and boxes of truffles were passed out upon leaving, so way to go overall, Godiva).
Ashton Warren's "Lady Ashton's Chocolate Cake" and "Hummingbird Cake"
Marc Forgione sure picked a badass when he took on Warren to be his pastry chef. Her signature chocolate cake is definitely decadent, but the Hummingbird Cake—a cross between carrot cake and banana bread swirled with pecans—was everything you'd want in a tiny bite.
Marc Murphy, Johnny Iuzzini, Ted Allen and Geoffrey Zacharian
Since SWEET is the solo pastry focus amongst the festival feeds, a few savory chefs stopped in. Murphy, Allen, and Zacharian hosted their CHOPPED judges event at Murphy's Landmarc restaurant on Thursday, and here caught up with pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini (at SWEET last year representing Jean-Georges).
Tate's Vanilla Cookie Crumble Ice Cream
Our favorite NYC chocolate chip cookie packed a double whammy both in and adorning this ice cream cup.
Kathleen King's layered cakes
Ron Ben-Israel Cakes' pastry chef plated both an Almond Cake with Mexican Hot Chocolate Buttercream and a Chocolate Cake with Kirsch and Cherry Pomegranate Buttercream. While both were appropriately dense and spongy, the almond had a touch more of a layered flavor, and a bit more subtle of a kick.
Tonni's Cake Shots
These teeny tiny bites of red velvet, chocolate, strawberry and raspberry cake might not have been the most complex dessert offered, but we could see taking home a few dozen to a big crowd for noshing at the end of a long meal.
North Fork Table and Inn's Coffee Toffee Ice Cream Sundae
We found a new reason to run to the North Fork. Topped with roasted bananas, salty peanuts and chocolate sauce, this classic had citygoers feeling like country folk back from the pumpkin patch.
Laurie Jon Moran's Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream Sandwich
Le Bernardin's pastry chef epitomized clean execution, with perfectly tiny squares of sweet satisfaction. The healthy bite satiated without being heavy or overbearing, the salted chocolate cookies sandwiching without being too dense.
Joe Murphy's Sticky Toffee Apple Cake
Jean-Georges' Murphy nailed the sticky toffee cake, brightened by a little green apple whipped cream. It's the kind of dessert you want to eat knowing horses are clopping their way along Central Park out the restaurant window. Or in your pajamas on your couch Halloween night. Or at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday.
This display was kept safe from the masses with velvet ropes and tall, studly-looking men (no kidding). But you got to try as many as you wanted. The Pecan Caramel Tarte was borderline way-sweet, the Red Velvet was keenly classy and the Milk Lion of Belgium ("flowing butterscotch caramel in a dark milk shell) had just the right amount of give and flow.
Hedy Goldsmith's Bittersweet Chocolate Cake
Scented just enough with curry, coconut and cardamom, this exotic little cup was topped with chewy cherry chutney and a rough-and-tough spiced cashew brittle. Michael's Genuine Food and Drink brought game with Goldsmith.
Jacques Torres' Parfait
Count on Jacques to bring in something refined—his Parfait of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream was layered with orange ice cream and topped with cranberry compote. For such a smooth little cup, it packed a lot of flavor.
Brian Smith's "Salted Crack Caramel Ice Cream"
Smith (of Ample Hills Creamery) also brought some Bourbon St. and Mexican Hot Chocolate ice cream to the show, but we stuck with their signature—salted butter caramel ice cream with bits of Deb's "famous crack cookies." Those saltine cookies still have us shaking with sensation overload. Or withdrawal.