Baltimore Bakeries for When You’re Craving Something Sweet
Need a snack break? Stop by one of these Baltimore bakeries to have your fill of cakes, cookies, donuts and more.
There’s nothing like a warm, fresh-baked pastry to start—or end—your day, and you’re spoiled for choice in Baltimore. From artistic, cutting-edge cake shops to small batch bakeries and decades-old cookie companies, Charm City’s got all the goods you need to satisfy your sweet and savory cravings.
Cakes & Pies
Codetta Bake Shop
Located in Federal Hill, Codetta is widely considered to have some of the best cheesecakes in Charm City. The name is an ode to founder and head baker Sumayyah Bilal’s dual love for music and baking; just as a codetta functions as a concluding exclamation point on a piece of music, no meal is really complete without dessert. Their cheesecakes come in three sizes—6 in, 9 in or 10 in—and many flavors, including their bestselling Oreo.
Charm City Cakes
Since opening Charm City Cakes in 2002, acclaimed pastry chef and Food Network star Duff Goldman has churned out impressive, never-before-seen concoctions. We’re talking cakes with sound, gravity-defying cakes, cakes with motors, life-size cakes and more! His culinary creativity and infectious charm have earned him two James Beard Awards, and his cakes have been featured everywhere from President Barack Obama’s inauguration to Hollywood movie premieres. Visit the store in Remington to shop delicious baked goods, purchase Duff merchandise or take a cake decorating class.
Dangerously Delicious Pies
The name says it all: Dangerously Delicious Pies provides handmade, preservative-free sweet and savory pies that are so good, you’ll have to stop yourself from devouring them whole. Founder Rodney Henry has a background in music, and he infuses a little rock-n-roll into his pies; specialty flavors include “Elvis,” a peanut butter cream, and “Mobtown Brown,” a rich pecan. With free WiFi and a killer playlist, the Canton and Hampden storefronts invite you to sit and stay awhile.
Midnite Confections Cupcakery
This Black-owned family business serves up fresh, made-from-scratch baked goods using home recipes. They feature 12 cupcake flavors each day, including their signature Black Velvet, an even more chocolatey twist on the classic Red Velvet, and Playboy, a carrot cake cupcake with just a hint of pineapple and oh-so-fluffy frosting. For an adults-only event, consider Midnite Confections’ boozy “After Hours” cupcake menu, which includes items like Mojito, a minty cupcake with a hint of white rum and lime frosting, and the Fuzzy Navel, an orange cupcake with a Peach Schnapps buttercream.
John and Dorothy Hergenroede first opened Woodlea Bakery in northeast Baltimore in 1943, and it has remained a neighborhood fixture ever since. Today, John and Dorothy’s grandson Charlie and his wife Concetta run Woodlea with a community-first mentality. They specialize in wedding and event cakes, but you can’t go wrong with any of their baked-from-scratch pies, breads and cookies.
Aunt Kelly’s Cookies
Growing up in Baltimore, Kelly Simmons spent any spare change she had on butter crunch cookies. Eventually, with the help of her grandma, she perfected her own recipe and opened Aunt Kelly’s Cookies to share her love for baking with her hometown. Located on the historic Antique Row of Mount Vernon, this Black-owned business is the only local bakery offering the famous butter crunch cookie, among other flavors, baked fresh daily. Head on over and get ’em while they’re hot!
Located in the historic Lexington Market, the country’s longest continually operating public market, Berger’s Bakery is a beloved Baltimore institution. They’ve dished out their signature treat, which consists of a soft cake-like cookie coated in a rich fudge frosting, since 1835 when German immigrant Henry Berger opened his first bakery in East Baltimore. Grab a glass of milk and dig in!
Owned by sisters Alejandra and Nicole Leiva, Dulceology specializes in Latin American and El Salvadoran desserts. Their signature is Alfajores, a shortbread cookie filled with a rich dulce de leche filling and topped with powdered sugar or covered in chocolate. Plus, the duo can use 3D printing and molding technologies to personalize Alfajores for events and company functions. Other treats sold from the bright pink Federal Hill store include tres leches, empanadas, pavlovas, meringues and one-of-a-kind square-shaped donuts (sold only on weekends).
Known around Baltimore for its selection of fine Italian pastries, Vaccaro’s is as popular today as it was when it first opened in 1956. The robust menu includes cannolis, tiramisu, gelato, cheesecake and rum cake. Then there’s the more than 30 flavors of Italian cookies; fan favorites include Sliced Almond, Pignoli and Amaretti. Enjoy a full sit down service at their Little Italy location, or pick up some pastries to-go from their shop in Canton.
Cloudy Donuts, a Black-owned vegan doughnut shop with locations in Lauraville and Federal Hill, operates with the goal of transcending stereotypes about vegan diets and provide cleaner food alternatives to communities of color. Their selection changes seasonally, but recent delicacies have included brown butter chocolate chip, chai sugar, blood orange and mango chili lime.
Despite this bake shop’s devilish name, these doughnuts taste divine. They boast a wide assortment of traditional and wacky flavors, such as “Unicorn Farts” (vanilla glaze plus Fruity Pebbles), “Panty Dropper” (maple glaze topped with bacon) and “Sin Crunch” (topped with lots and lots of cinnamon). Pro tip: Diablo tends to run out fast, so order ahead of time to secure your sweet treat.
Croissants & Tarts
Cafe Dear Leon
Since opening its doors in August 2020, Cafe Dear Leon has amassed a cult following. The cafe takes fresh-baked to a whole new level by only releasing goods at one of four times throughout the morning: breakfast debuts at 6 a.m., pastries at 7:30, croissants at 9 and lunch items at 11. By noon, they’re almost always sold out—a testament to just how tasty their treats are. You’ll have to arrive way before those time stamps if you want to snag something, but we promise the flakey, warm danishes, buns, quiches and scones are worth the wait.
Crust by Mack
It was only two years ago that Amanda Mack and her husband Jarrod moved their pop-up bakery business to a brick-and-mortar stall in Hampden’s Whitehall Mill, but demand for their goods was so high, they quickly outgrew the space. They’re opening a larger space on Pratt Street along the water, where they’ll serve a delectable array of sweet and savory pies, tarts, pastries and more. Recent mouthwatering creations include sweet potato handpies, bourbon vanilla shortbread, salmon breakfast biscuits and strawberry tarts.
One of the newest players in Baltimore’s baking scene, Maillard is already a hit in Hampden. Owner Caitlin Kiehl is a pastry professional with over 15 years of experience in the industry, having worked at some of Baltimore’s most luxurious eateries including The Ritz Carlton, Woodberry Kitchen and Charleston. Maillard’s menu changes all the time to reflect seasonal ingredients, but it always includes unexpected riffs on classic recipes. Think Old Bay buttermilk biscuits, everything croissants and upside down plum almond cake.
It doesn’t get more saccharine than Sacré Sucré, a pastry studio in historic Fell’s Point. Beyond their iconic pink packaging and whimsical decor, this shop is known for their artful presentations and experimental bakes. We’re talking expertly-crafted heart-shaped Valentine’s danishes or egg-shaped macarons at Easter. Plus, Sacré Sucré doubles as a tea and coffee shop, making it the perfect morning pit stop.
From the Serbian word for bakery, Pekara is a small-batch bakery dedicated to preserving the art of making bread. Their global pastry and dessert selections include bakes from Russia, France, Italy, Germany, Serbia and former Yugoslavia regions. They also prioritize sustainability, so all packaging is made from recycled materials. On a nice day, grab your croissant, puff, cookie, tart (…you get the idea) and a coffee to go and enjoy a leisurely stroll around the surrounding Roland Park neighborhood and the stunning historic mansions it houses.
Baking is in the Gormon family’s blood. Husband-wife duo Renee and Don’s first restaurant, Puffins, made waves in Baltimore’s food scene, especially its vegetarian community. Their children Lisa and Kirk learned the ins and outs of the business while working with their parents, and now Lisa’s using that know-how to take the reins of Harmony Bakery (though Renee and Don are still getting their hands dirty in the kitchen!). Together, the family churns out vegan, gluten-free and sustainable sweet and savory baked goods like chickpea tarts, quinoa burgers, bagels and more. You’ll find them on Chestnut Street in Hampden.
From the family behind the famous H&S Bakery, once the largest privately owned bakery in the United States, comes an upscale dine-in concept. Located in Harbor East, Kneads Bakery aims to bring the Paterakis family’s craft to a new generation with a 17,000 square foot cafe, industrial bakery and dining space. It’s a place to work from home away from home, host a meeting, grab a baguette for the week or enjoy a delicious meal courtesy of some of Charm City’s top chefs. Try the JP Mac, a high-end twist on the Big Mac that is an homage to H&S founder Steve Paterakis’ son John, or something sweet like the crème brûlée French toast. In addition to coffee, Kneads also serves beer, wine and specialty cocktails.
In Hebrew, Hamotzi is a blessing over bread that, in addition to thanking God for nourishing food to eat, also promises a world in which all people are provided for. Motzi Bread in Charles Village advances this promise by opening its doors to all individuals, regardless of whether or not they can pay full price. Those who can, however, may be inclined to pay double after sampling the Best of Baltimore winner’s prized loaves, which include baguettes, sesame rye, beer rye, focaccia and einkorn. On select days, they also offer sweeter treats such as chocolate chip cookies, granola and cardamom buns.
Another newcomer to Baltimore’s baking scene, Ovenbird has quickly become a favorite amongst locals. Owner Keiller Kyle got into the craft by watching “The Great British Bake-Off,” and the goods he conjures at his Little Italy shop are certainly prize-worthy. Artisanal bread is his specialty, so expect to find scrumptious sourdoughs, flavorful bagels and savory sandwiches. For something sweet, try the many varieties of brioche buns: nutella, ube, raisin, sticky toffee, lime curd—the list goes on and on.
The Avenue Bakery
Since 2011, The Avenue Bakery has brought owner James Hamlin’s family recipes to his childhood neighborhood along Pennsylvania Avenue. Stop in for the signature “Poppay’s Roll,” an enormous buttery bun so good you won’t be able to stop at just one. You can also pick from a selection of cookies, sweet breads, decorated cakes and pastries. After placing your order, learn about the history of African Americans in Baltimore from plaques and photos hanging on the walls, and check out the murals outside the bakery.