Phatty cakes at Cakes & Ale

James Camp

Phatty cakes at Cakes & Ale

Aztec aphrodisia truffle at Cacao
This tiny, sliver-wrapped truffle packs more flavor per square millimeter than seems possible. Place it on your tongue and allow the outer dark chocolate to melt. Your mouth will be flooded with mellow, rich flavors: cardamom, cocoa, something approaching violet ... and, at the end, a devilishly spicy pepper kick. Swoon. $2.50 each. 2817 Peachtree Road. 404-467-4670.; 312 N. Highland Ave., Suite C. 404-221-9090.

Baked doughnuts at Duck's Cosmic Kitchen
Whether it's the small or large version, these fat cake doughnuts are all wow on the texture front. Moist cake awaits under a magical cinnamon-sugar coating that shimmers like fairy dust. If for some reason you don't devour them immediately, put them in the oven for a few minutes to bring them back to just-baked life. $2. Minis: $0.85. 111 New St., Suite D, Decatur. 404-371-8823.

Coconut cake at Wright's Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe
Wright's gets it right with real coconut milk and fresh shaved coconut, which intensify the just-shimmied-up-a-tree-and-cracked-open-a-fresh-coconut flavor of this moist and towering layer cake. One slice is so rich it can easily be stretched into two servings, but we won't tell if you eat it all at once. Slice: $3.95; whole cake: $27.95. 5482 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. 770-396-7060.

Ginger-lavender ice cream at Morelli's Ice Cream
At a shop with totally novel flavors, what makes this particular one so compelling? Could it be its powerful link between olfaction and taste? It's sweet, custardy-creamy, musty-perfumy, gingery-sharp. It cures depression and anaesthetizes the spine. Single cone: $3.38. 749 Moreland Ave. 404-622-0210.

Grits pie at Home Grown Georgia
It's not always available and it sounds awful, but this may be the best use of grits ever. Basically, the usual grits are sweetened and blended into a vanilla custard, poured into a pie crust and topped with whipped cream. The dish evokes trailer parks and prison dessert (YUM!). Dig in and thank the Lord for giving us grits to eat instead of dirt. $2.50. 968 Memorial Drive. 404-222-0455.

Hot fried peach pie at Dwarf House
Who knew dwarfs made such damn good mini pies? Compact fruit pies come in fresh, flaky lard-based crusts, are filled with tart and sweet peaches and fried to order. It's hard to resist the pain and pleasure of eating a pie straight out of a greasy bag before it cools. $2.09. 461 N. Central Ave, Hapeville. 404-762-1746.

Orange dream star at Sublime Doughnut
Yeasty star-shaped doughnut plus tangy orange-infused cream filling plus delicate orange glaze equals doughnut heaven in all its gut-busting, sugar shock-inducing glory. Indulge slowly and carefully. Ah, screw it. Just buy two. $1.75. 535 10th St. 404-897-1801.

Phatty cakes at Cakes & Ale
The sandwich cookie: perhaps God's greatest baked creation. Forget Oreos. Phatty cakes are where it's at. Two puffed up, moist (not crumbly) gingerbread cookies sandwich a luscious mascarpone filling. They pull apart, stick to your fingers, stick to your heart. $6. 254 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur. 404-377-7994.

Pineapple habanero popsicle at King of Pops
There are many pops to love from the King, but none rivals this riot of tropical chill with its slow-burning spicy pepper undertones. $2.50.

Plum upside-down cake at Aria
The lightest, airiest crumble of spongy cake; the sweet/tart seduction of fresh fruit; the pure bright flavor of a lemony ice cream: This is dessert as spring imagined it. The plum upside-down cake is a seasonal specialty, so get it while it lasts. $9. 490 E. Paces Ferry Road. 404-233-7673.

Salted chocolate caramel at the Sugar-Coated Radical
If chocolate is an aphrodisiac, this is triple-strength Viagra. Actually, it's better than sex, so don't complicate your life. Skip the sex, take a bite and let the milk chocolate dissolve in your mouth. Note the salty tang, the slight burn in the back of your throat, the luscious caramel. Now hug yourself and say that you love yourself. Two-piece box: $5. 680 Drewry St. 404-438-5854.

Strawberry cake at Piece of Cake
Your inner fat kid will go bonkers when he lays eyes on this slice of cake that's large enough for a man, but baby pink enough for the ladies. A towering stack of three layers of moist cake is packed with the flavor of fresh strawberries, which fleck the cake with bits of red. Ethereal pink buttercream frosting is both light and sweet without being cloying. The limited availability (April to August) only adds to its allure. Slice: $5.50; whole cake: $23-$34. 3215 Roswell Road. 404-351-2253; and other metro Atlanta locations.

Strawberry financier at One Midtown Kitchen
It arrives looking almost austere and certainly more conservative than it tastes: a line of cake and fruit cut into a trendy, long rectangle. But on the tongue, any guise of fad disappears. The cake is hot and buttery and melts on contact. The fruit is tart and lively and tastes like pure summer. The only downside is that this dish isn't available anywhere for breakfast. And lunch. And afternoon tea. And midnight snack. $7. 559 Dutch Valley Road. 404-892-4111.

Toffee coffee arctic swirl at Zesto
Trendy burger joints are serving "concretes," but they are significantly more expensive than this original made with soft-serve ice cream, coffee syrup and something like hacked-up Heath Bars. Cold, creamy and crunchy, it's the antidote to everything that sucks. $3.19. 544 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-607-1118; and other metro Atlanta locations.

Tres leches cake at Tierra
This dessert featuring "three milks" is popular all over Latin America. In Atlanta, Tierra's is the best. Evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and cream are poured over a simple yellow cake and served cold. The difficult things are maintaining proportions that won't turn the cake into mush, keeping the sweetness under control and making sure you serve really, really big portions. Tierra has it down. $7. 1425 Piedmont Ave. 404-874-5951.

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