It used to be that desserts didn’t need much more than a mint leaf to impress Austin diners. Now, unadorned treats look as outdated as flip phones and CD burners. Today’s treats have gone extra with kaleidoscopic colors and a never-ending assortment of toppings. At the Capital City’s most outrageous sweet shops, guests are only limited by their imagination.
Be More Pacific
Long before Instagram made over-the-top confections de rigueur, Filipino chefs were piling on the ingredients to create one of the world’s wildest frozen desserts: halo-halo. This North Austin eatery has a killer version that starts with shaved ice and Amy’s ube ice cream, then adds jellies, coconut strips, sweet beans, leche flan, corn, and evaporated milk to create an intriguing mix of flavors and textures. Thanks to its vivid purple hue, it also happens to take one heck of a beautiful picture.
While traditionalists can order churros tossed in cinnamon sugar, the fun at this South Austin trailer comes from the inventive originals. Campfire is a nostalgic mix of graham cracker sugar, Mexican chocolate sauce, and torched marshmallows, while Date Night’s caramel popcorn flavors will make anyone swoon. Better yet is the Wake-N-Bake, a classic churro topped with rum-pecan sauce, frozen banana slice, espresso whipped cream, and waffle cone crumbs — and the cure for even the most gnarly case of the munchies.
Fluff Meringues & More
Few Austin desserts are as adorable as the pastel drop meringues in Fluff’s case, but that’s just the start of the cute overload. The personal pavlovas charm with colorful fillings and toppings like lemon curd, passionfruit mousse, balsamic razzleberry drizzle, and seasonal fruit. The shop's strawberry shortcake Eton Mess — a contemporary take on a Victorian classic — layers scones, lavender whipped cream, vanilla meringue bits, and plenty of fresh berries.
Like most rolled ice cream spots, this pun-loving Barton Springs food truck offers a dizzying array of toppings like cookies, nuts, fresh fruit, and candies. What sets it apart is its creative flavors. Remember the Alamode kicks up dark chocolate with red chilis and a touch of sweet honey, the Sticky Mango nabs the flavors of the beloved Thai dessert, and the Cha Yen Tea is especially a treat when drenched with sweetened condensed milk.
Ooga Booga Waffles
If Leslie Knope knew about this Burnet Road food truck, she might not have spent so much time at JJ’s Diner. After all, Pawnee’s best restaurant never served cinnamon swirl waffles stuffed with cream cheese frosting or a chocolate cake variety with caramelized coconut and pecans. It most certainly never dreamed up sweet and savory creations like a recent special bursting with baked brie, bacon onion jam, and blackberries.
Sticking to a plant-based diet doesn’t mean forgoing outrageous ice cream desserts. This cool Airport Boulevard parlor skips the dairy but none of the joy in cheeky flavors like Unicorn Poop or Death Metal by Chocolate. Guests can customize cones with adders like a peanut butter magic shell, edible glitter, or rainbow sprinkles or visit on Tuesdays for a Cone-Nut made with soft serve and a Wheatsville Co-op doughnut.
Located in the same food truck park as Ooga Booga, this mobile shop offers dessert tacos that can be customized with more than two dozen toppings. Go for a DayGlo effect with gummy worms, Sour Patch Kids, and a drizzle of electric blue funfetti syrup or go full unicorn with Fruity Pebble, Froot Loops, frosted animal crackers, and a drizzle of pink white chocolate. Either way, the sweet treats will make you feel like a kid again.