It's never a bad idea to throw down midweek with a full-speed, lights-out dessert. We've put together this trio of desserts with the aim of pointing you to sweets that will soothe your sweet tooth, yes, but also to highlight worthy sweets that go to some other level.
The first dessert is a classic. The second is a Southeast Asian staple. The third... well, the third is kind of like the matrix: You can't really be told what it is; you have to experience it for yourself.
Carrot Cake at Liberty Market
230 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
If you judged a cake by its cover, this lovely lady would score a perfect 10. The Liberty Market carrot cake stands tall and proud in the dessert case, armored with cream cheese frosting and topped with flourishes of toasted coconut and edible flowers — a beaut. Inside are six alternating layers that bounce between cake so carroty that pops of orange veg sing through notes of nutmeg, and frosting so frosty it doesn’t cave under the weight of the dense slabs. It's so big it’s served on its side, and each bite gets just the right ratio of cake to frosting.
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Vietnamese Chè at Da Vang
4538 North 19th Avenue
If you're into Vietnamese food, then you've probably heard of Da Vang. The restaurant has been a Valley go-to for Vietnamese for nearly two decades. Da Vang offers a dozen Vietnamese sweet treats, including numerous kinds of chè (a class of traditional dessert soups, puddings, and beverages). We tasted three varieties: chè khoai môn, a pudding made with sweet rice, taro root, and coconut cream; chè dau tráng, a separate pudding with white beans, sweet rice, and coconut cream; and chè trái cây, a drink over crushed ice, with fresh fruit, mung beans, and green gelatin. Try one, or bring friends and sample a few.
The Show Stopper at ZuZu Restaurant
6850 East Main Street, Scottsdale
The majestic concoction known as the "Show Stopper" shake arrives on its own tray at Hotel Valley Ho’s ZuZu Restaurant. An edible straw is plunged into the depths of this creamy milkshake, which is changed on a near-weekly basis to feature seasonal fruit, decadent confections, or timely specialties. Coming up is the Dulce de Leche “Show Stopper” shake in honor of Cinco de Mayo — available for the entirety of May — followed by the Dreamsicle “Show Stopper” shake in June for National Vanilla Milkshake Day. Your teeth start aching a bit upon its arrival. Good luck biting and slurping your way to the bottom of the frosty glass.