When Duff Goldman Hosts a Dessert Party, You Go and Try as Many Sweets as Possible

Wait until you see the next-level desserts Duff and other famed pastry chefs turned out for a late-night dessert soiree during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
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Food Network's baker extraordinaire Duff Goldman is known for crafting over-the-top desserts at his own bakery, Charm City Cakes, and judging them on various baking championships. So it's no surprise that when he hosts Sweet 15: A Dessert Party, the sugar showing is going to be downright epic. During the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on Saturday night, just as partygoers felt their meat sweats fade and started to crave another bite to eat, Duff and some of the most-famed pastry chefs and bakeries from across the country took over the elegantly adorned The Villa Casa Casuarina for an epic late-night soiree that was enough to make any sweets lover smile.

Not one to present any ordinary dessert, of course, Duff showed up with a cotton-candy display featuring his Grapefruit Meringue Crumble Push Pops (pictured above). These layered beauties boasted the showstopping presentation you'd expect from Duff — and, perhaps more importantly, all the expert tangy, creamy flavors and crispy texture, thanks to the crumble atop each pop.

Milk Bar's Christina Tosi served up not only Mini Maple Sugar Cookies, but one of her fan-favorite cakes as well. This towering masterpiece, her Strawberry Lemon Cake (pictured above), was layered with a duo of cakes (vanilla and cheesecake) and two instances of strawberries (the jam filling and the frosting), and finished with her signature milk-flavored crumbs.

Known for her whimsical take on desserts, Pastry Chef Hedy Goldsmith cooled down the crowd with her take on frozen pops inspired by the ones you'd find in Thailand. FN Dish caught up with Goldsmith and she explained that she made these pops in "a traditional Thai Popsicle maker," pictured above. She added, "It's street food, so what they do in Thailand is they take fruit juice and they pour it in and they make these Popsicles, and voila."

For Saturday's flavors, Goldsmith told us, she used dessert to inspire drinks. "I decided to do something fun with it and to really make flavors that I would think would be great cocktails and translate them into Popsicles," she explained. "So any one of these [juices] can be poured into a shot of vodka [or] tequila, and it would be just so much fun." We opted for a pineapple-based pop scented with Thai basil and lemongrass (pictured above) — and let's just say we were sorry we didn't go back for another.

Pastry Chef Sherry Yard, a previous Cutthroat Kitchen judge and competitor, wowed the crowd with Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Cones (pictured above), finished with a fluffy marshmallow topping that was torched on demand.

There was no missing Zak The Baker's Croquembouche (pictured above), which brought together two-bite cream puffs  into a tall tree of the sweetest proportions. Each golden round was stuffed with a vanilla cream and finished with a glasslike shellac of caramel.

The team from Norman Love Confections stopped guests in their tracks as they took in the sights of the eatery's shiny jewelesque chocolates and its Chocolate Coffee Mousse (pictured above), dressed up with crunchy hazelnuts.

Mikel Pichs of Gianni's at The Villa offered almost-too-pretty-to-eat bonbons, including these speckled creations (pictured above) that were flavored with — believe it or not — Parmesan cheese. The salty, nutty flavor of the Italian cheese didn't overpower the chocolate, but rather only complemented the dark chocolate and the taste of hazelnuts that was also inside.

Luis Vasquez from the Miami Beach Edition Hotel offered two treats, a Florida Citrus-Cardamom Pavlova and a cake-and-ice cream combo. This presentation of Birthday Cake and Ice Cream (pictured above) was at once elegant and youthful, featuring both gold leaf and multicolored sprinkles.

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