Gallery: 7 Lemon Sweets We Love in Los Angeles

Bruleed Lemon Tart at Joan's on Third
Bruleed Lemon Tart at Joan's on Third

The sweets at Joan's on Third can be hit or miss, but the bruleed lemon tart ($6) may be the perfect afternoon snack. The crust holds a deep pocket of silky smooth lemon custard that is essentially a glorious cache of lemon curd. The tart is bruleed to add a thin, crackling top with spots of caramelized sugar. With the interior's restrained sweetness and light floral notes, this tart is an elegant yet swoon-worthy treat.

Joan's on Third:8350 West 3rd Street Los Angeles, CA 90048(map); (323) 655-2285; http://www.joansonthird.com/.com

Lemon Bar at Jamaica's Cakes
Lemon Bar at Jamaica's Cakes

I love lemon bars, and Jamaica's Cakes makes one of my favorite versions ($2.95). The filling is the perfect balance between sweet and tart; the lemon augmented by a subtle hint of lime. The filling is the right texture: just firm enough to stay together, and not gummy, loose, or difficult to eat. The top has a thick layer of powdered sugar and the crust adds the requisite, contrasting crunch.

Jamaica's Cakes:11511 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064(map); 310-478-1971; jamaicascakes.com

Zesty Lemon Cream Pie at Republic of Pie
Zesty Lemon Cream Pie at Republic of Pie

If you're in the mood for a big ole hunk of something sweet, a slice of this pie is just the thing ($4.95). The filling is a cool, smooth, semi-firm lemon cream. It's slightly more sweet than tart, though a scattering of lemon zest over the top of the pie perks up the flavor. Retro-wonderful curls of homemade whipped cream make this comfort food all the way.

Republic of Pie:11118 Magnolia Blvd
San Fernando Valley, CA 91601(map); (888) 612-3269; republicofpie.com

Lemon Macarons at 'Lette Macarons
Lemon Macarons at 'Lette Macarons

With their sunny yellow shells, these cookies ($2) have the signature vivid look of Lette macarons. The focus on flavor matches the careful aesthetics—each macaron has a thin, easy to crack top that gives way to an airy cookie and a soft layer of lemon filling. That filling is pleasantly tart, tasting of actual lemon juice.

Lette Macarons:9466 Charleville Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212(map); 310-275-0023; lettemacarons.com

Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcake at Frosted Cupcakery
Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcake at Frosted Cupcakery

Frosted Cupcakery's lemon cream cheese cupcake ($2.95) may sound odd, but the tangy frosting is the perfect base for the bright citrus flavor. To balance the assertive frosting, the cake is only subtly lemony, but, more importantly, it's extremely moist. The frankly normal size of the cupcake, the ease with which it squishes down under your teeth, and the restrained ratio of cake to frosting all combine to make the cupcake feel (deliciously) homemade.

Frosted Cupcakery:1200 n. highland ave. los angeles ca 90038(map); (323) 467-1080; frostedcupcakery.com

Lemon Bar at Buttercake Bakery
Lemon Bar at Buttercake Bakery

With a name like Buttercake, you probably won't be surprised to hear that the draw of this bakery's lemon bar ($2.75) is the buttery, crumbly shortbread crust. It even has a slightly toasted flavor, which contrasts nicely with the extra tart lemon filling.

Buttercake Bakery:10595 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA, 90064(map); (310) 470-6770; buttercakebakery.com

Lemon Fonut at Fonuts
Lemon Fonut at Fonuts

Sure, the lemon fonut at fonuts ($3.25) is more like a ring-shaped cake, but I'm never one to discriminate based on shape. Especially not when the sweet in question has a tart, bright, zesty lemon icing. The fonut body is moist and a little dense, pushing it even more into cake territory. Those with dietary restrictions will appreciate that it's vegan and gluten free.

Fonuts:8104 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048(map); (323) 592-3075; fonuts.com

[Photograph: Rebecca Fishman]