Slideshow: 6 Vegan Sweets We Love in New York

Pumpkin Eclair from BabyCakes
Pumpkin Eclair from BabyCakes
I first visited the well-known Lower East Side hotspot BabyCakes about a month ago, when I picked up some gluten-free chocolate cupcakes for a friend's birthday party. I thought the cupcakes were fine, but on a recent visit I was more interested in trying BabyCakes' non-cupcake offerings which include loaf cakes, cookies, and specialty items. In doing so, I stumbled upon the pumpkin eclair ($6.50) which sandwiches creamy vanilla frosting between two moist, cakey and intensely pumpkin-y layers, then drapes the whole shebang in a glossy chocolate glaze. This eclair tastes like a whoopie pie dunked in chocolate icing, and, well, who wouldn't want to eat that?

BabyCakes: 248 Broome Street, New York, NY 10002 (map); 855-462-2292; babycakesnyc.com

 Peanut Butter and Jelly Doughnut from Dun-Well Doughnuts
Peanut Butter and Jelly Doughnut from Dun-Well Doughnuts
I guess I'd never really thought about the fact that doughnuts aren't vegan (the yeasted dough they're made from typically contains both eggs and butter) and at Dun-Well, I didn't have to. In flavor and texture, the doughnuts found at this Bushwick upstart are light and airy but still substantial—in other words, indistinguishable from their non-vegan counterparts.

The bakery offers a host of interesting yeast-style doughnut flavors like almondine, glazed and flecked with toasted slivered almonds, and snickerdoodle, a tiny powerhouse rolled in cinnamon sugar. But my favorite was the decadent peanut butter and jelly doughnut ($2.75), filled with a not-too-sweet raspberry jam, its seeds providing a subtle crunch, and topped with a shiny, peanutty glaze.

Dun-Well Doughnuts: 222 Montrose Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (map); 347-294-0871; dunwelldoughnuts.com

Raspberry Bran Muffin from Birdbath Bakery
Raspberry Bran Muffin from Birdbath Bakery
I know, I know: the name "Raspberry Bran Muffin" doesn't exactly shout decadent or exciting, but I can tell you from experience that finding a good vegan muffin just ain't easy: many are leaden, gummy, or shockingly sweet. So I thought it was important to share this find. Birdbath, owned by the good folks at City Bakery, offers this superb example of muffindom ($3.50). The muffin is perfectly light and moist with a great crumb. It's also wholly devoid of grease and has just the right amount of sweetness, which is complemented by a hint (and not a wallop) of cinnamon in the batter. The raspberries on top are sweet and juicy.

Birdbath Bakery: various locations in NYC; visit thecitybakery.com/birdbath

Black Sesame Orange Ginger Bundt Cake from Champs Family Bakery
Black Sesame Orange Ginger Bundt Cake from Champs Family Bakery
Champs is another full-service eatery. It serves comfort-style desserts to match its diner menu, and they are excellent. One night I tried a slice of this bundt cake ($4), which is incredibly packed with flavor for a sweet, vegan or not. The cake is rich and moist with a crackling orange glaze, and the warming flavors of ginger and sesame are addictive. Not your grandma's bundt cake.

Champs Family Bakery: 176 Ainslie Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (map); 718-599-2743; champsdiner.com

Chocolate Crème Roll from Clementine Bakery
Chocolate Crème Roll from Clementine Bakery
Located in Bed-Stuy, Clementine's desserts are also homey and comforting. This behemoth of a crème roll ($5) is a perfect example: the cake looks like, and tastes like, an oversize version of a Ho-Ho, but about a million times better. The cake is moist and fudgy, especially at the center, and the vanilla filling is rich but not overly sweet.

Clementine Bakery: 299 Greene Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238 (map); 718-483-8788; clementinebakery.com