This dreamy dessert is courtesy of pastry chef Dolester Miles.


Regulars at Birmingham restaurants Highlands Bar and Grill, Chez Fonfon, Bottega, and Bottega Café know that saving room for dessert is nonnegotiable. That's because the dessert menus are filled with delicious confections created by visionary executive pastry chef Dolester "Dol" Miles.

Robbie Caponetto

Miles, who grew up in Bessemer, Alabama, has worked with distinguished chef and restaurateur Frank Stitt for over 30 years. During that time she has become one of the most celebrated pastry chefs in the nation. She is a two-time finalist and five-time semifinalist for the James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef award, and nowhere is her brilliance more evident than in the legendary Coconut Pecan Cake served at Chez Fonfon.

Birmingham sits pretty somewhere on the scale between a charming small town and bustling city, showcasing the best features of both. Shop around the cuter-than-cute villages until your bellies land you at the Highlands Bar & Grill, which just won the James Beard Award for the most outstanding restaurant in the country. (Read that again: In. The. Country.) You'll be weeping tears after taking a bite of Highlands' pastry chef Dolester Miles' coconut cake or peach cobbler. Hint: She just won a James Beard too.
Robbie Caponetto

This coconut cake has gained a passionate following. It's beloved. It's unforgettable. It's never leaving the menu (we hope). In it, Miles takes the traditional Southern coconut cake and elevates it to art. Its decadent layers are bestrewn with flakes of delicately toasted coconut and enhanced by the nuttiness of toasted pecans. This is a cake that people can't help but slow down and savor. Every bite is a familiar-yet-revolutionary world of flavor. It's purely transportive, which is why, if you fancy yourself a connoisseur of great coconut cakes, you need to plan a trip to Birmingham as soon as possible.

Many of Miles' best-loved desserts are unforgettable spins on the classics, like her smooth Lemon Meringue Tart, which takes its inspiration from both traditional French tarts and Southern-favorite icebox pies. These creations are nostalgia-filled sweets that, thanks to Miles' dynamic interpretations, taste utterly inspired. There's a reason this irresistible coconut cake has gained a passionate following, and we hope you get to taste it sooner rather than later. Chart a course for Chez Fonfon, and be sure to leave plenty of room for dessert. We'll save you a seat.