Location: 324 Frederick Street, Kitchener
Though I was really hoping to try the kouign-amann at Ambrosia Corner Bakery, it turns out I visited on the wrong day — they’re only served from Thursday to Saturday. My disappointment was short-lived, however. As soon as I saw their Pecan Cinnamon Sticky Buns, I knew that I needed to put one in my belly ASAP.
Step aside, kouign-amann; that sticky bun has an urgent appointment with my face.
Yes. It’s as good as it looks. It’s sticky, sweet, and incredible. It looks like it might be too sweet, but it’s actually remarkably well balanced. The caramel on top has a very rich, deep flavour, and the buttery, amazing pastry is substantial enough to hold up to the generous amount of sauce. That’s not to mention the underlying cinnamon flavour, which is delightful.
But then do I even need to be writing this? You have eyeballs. Again: it’s as good as it looks.
Location: 28 Kensington Avenue, Toronto
I’ve tried to get the cinnamon bun from Fika Cafe a few times, and it’s been sold out every time.
I finally got one. It was worth the wait.
Fika Cafe is a Swedish bakery and coffee shop in Kensington Market; they sell a Swedish-style cinnamon bun, and it’s fantastic.
It’s basically like a cross between a Swedish cardamom bun and a more traditional cinnamon roll, and it’s so damn good. It tastes more strongly of cinnamon than cardamom, but that slightly floral cardamom taste is definitely there; it’s a delightful balance.
Everything else about it is pretty much perfect — it has the perfect amount of sweetness, with a light sugary glaze and additional pops of sweetness and texture from the pearl sugar on top. It’s pretty restrained, however, so if you’re expecting a Cinnabon-esque sugar-bomb, look elsewhere.
The pastry itself is dense but not too dense, with a nice chewy texture and just the right amount of fluffiness. And of course, the aforementioned cinnamon/cardamom balance is just right. It’s one of the best pastries I’ve had in a while.
Location: 100 City Centre Drive, Mississauga (inside Square One)
If the only cinnamon rolls you’re familiar with are the doughy and diabetes-inducing ones they serve at Cinnabon, Danish-style cinnamon rolls (a.k.a. kanelsnegl) are going to come as something of a shock. It’s like comparing “Macho Man” Randy Savage to Daniel Day Lewis. They’re both entertainers, but that’s about where the similarities end.
The kanelsnegl at Brod is solid. The pastry is quite nice — it’s flaky and a bit buttery, with crispy outer ring that eventually gives way to a softer, sweeter interior.
It’s a little bit bland, however; the pastry itself doesn’t have a ton of flavour, and the cinnamon/sugar level is probably a notch or two more restrained than it needs to be.
I know it’s not fair, but I couldn’t help but compare it to the kanelsnegls I had on a recent trip to Copenhagen, and there’s no contest. Those ones featured a much better balance of sweetness, with the pastry itself being downright magical.
Still, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with what they’re serving at Brod. It’s not amazing, but it’s very good.
Location: 93a Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Oh hey, another super delicious scoop of ice cream from Bang Bang. Are you surprised? Because I’m definitely not. They’ve been around for five years now, and they’re still serving up what is hands-down the best ice cream in the city. It’s not even close.
This particular flavour was called Horcha-ta-ta and is inspired by horchata, a sweet, creamy drink made from rice.
The ice cream itself has a really rich flavour, and is imbued with cinnamon and other spices (nutmeg I think? Some other stuff, probably?). It’s topped with sweet sticky rice, condensed milk, and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
It’s delicious. It actually reminds me quite a bit of rice pudding, but with the cinnamon and other spices giving it a really interesting flavour. And of course, the quality of the ice cream is just as great as ever. It’s so good.
Location: 319 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
The cinnamon roll from Cinnaholic is shockingly good. Not that it’s the best cinnamon roll I’ve ever had, but it’s vegan. You’re bracing for the worst when you hear that a traditionally dairy-heavy dessert has been made vegan. How could that possibly end well?
Cinnaholic, somehow, pulls it off.
It’s an interesting set-up; they have a few dozen different frosting and topping choices (if there’s a dessert topping you can think of, they probably offer it here). I wanted to see what the deal was with the roll itself, so I went as simple as possible with the “Classic Old Skool Roll,” which is topped only with vanilla frosting.
I won’t lie: I was expecting it to be dense and dry and weird, but it was pleasantly light and fluffy, with a nice cinnamon flavour and a great level of sweetness. It’s very, very sweet, but it’s not quite the throat-burning assault of sugar that you’ll get with something like Cinnabon.
The frosting is quite tasty, too — it’s rich and creamy, but also incredibly soft and light. I have no idea how they achieve that texture without dairy (I’m assuming margarine is involved), but whatever it is, it tastes pretty darn good.
That’s the surprising thing about it. Yes, it’s vegan, but it’s not good for a vegan dessert; it’s good, period.