Half of the experience of a Smokies vacation is experiencing the local cuisine.
From chicken and dumplings to barbeque, you have to admit, East Tennesseans know how to get the most out of some good old fashioned southern homestyle cooking.
But a tragically unsung hero is the dessert.
Here in the Smoky Mountains, we know how to do desserts right.
They’re always decadent, deliciously unique, frequently larger than life and sometimes, they can even get a little crazy.
In this article we celebrate those over the top desserts, and give you the scoop (ice cream pun) on how and where to find them.
Without further ado, here are the top 6 craziest desserts in the Smokies.
6. Kristi’s Chocolate Cake (The Peddler, Gatlinburg, TN)
The Peddler in Gatlinburg, Tenn., is one of the most popular restaurants in the Smokies. It’s famous for its steaks and its humongous salad bar.
But our favorite thing at the Peddler is Kristi’s Chocolate Cake.
And if we are being really honest, Kristi’s Chocolate Cake is probably our favorite dessert in the Smokies, period.
The menu’s description of Kristi’s Chocolate Cake is short, sweet and unassuming: “Warm cake, vanilla ice cream with hot fudge”.
When you order it, you assume you’re going to receive a standard slice of cake.
But the thing that shows up at your table looks more like an entire cake. Or a mini cake at least.
This huge “slice” of cake stands at about 3 inches tall. It’s insanely rich, and incredibly decadent. It has the perfect mixture of cake and ice cream with a generous amount of fudge and what tastes like homemade whipped cream.
It easily feeds four people (if not more) and at the time of this writing only costs $9.99.
5. Alcohol infused milkshakes (Buzzed Bull, Pigeon Forge, TN)
Buzzed Bull Creamery isn’t your average, everyday run of the mill ice cream shop.
Sure, you’ll find all the standard fare that you might expect to see at the local Baskin-Robbins, including ice cream cups, cones and milkshakes. And it’s all frozen via liquid nitrogen right before your eyes, with plenty of kid-friendly options available.
But for the adults, they also offer a little something extra special: Alcohol infused milkshakes and ice cream.
By default, each “buzzed” creation starts at about 5% ABV, but additional shots can be added for an extra charge.
For reference, that’s about the same alcohol content of a 12-ounce beer.
Each concoction can be customized to your liking with a variety of ice cream flavors, liquor options and toppings.
4. Crazy Mason milkshakes (Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar, Gatlinburg, TN)
Crazy Mason is now open in Gatlinburg as of July 20, 2021.
The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar is known for its crazy, over the top creations.
Each of these crazy concoctions are designed to look like works of art.
Served in mason jars, each cup is rimmed with layers of sugary goodness and stacked with full-sized toppings that topple over the jar in a way that seems to defy gravity.
Each menu item is crazier than the next.
Some of the craziest, larger than life toppings include a full-sized uncut banana, an entire cupcake, a slice of 3-layer coconut cake, an entire slice of pecan pie and a whole popsicle, just to name a few.
You can view their entire menu online here.
3. Handmade Farm-Size Cinnamon Roll (Five Oaks Farm Kitchen, Sevierville, TN)
This is, by far, the biggest cinnamon roll we’ve ever seen.
Served at Five Oaks Farm Kitchen in Sevierville, Tenn., across from Tanger Outlets, the menu describes this sweet treat simply as “farm-size” and served with “sweet cream icing”.
And apparently, they like things big on the farm, cause this thing is huge.
However it’s worth noting here that this dessert, despite appearances, is not quite as decadent as one might assume. There’s a lot of pastry, a light coating of icing and only a hint of cinnamon.
So while tasty in its own right, cinnamon roll connoisseurs should note that there are some better cinnamon rolls to be had in the Smokies.
We personally suggest Cinnaholic at the Mountain Mile.
Five Oaks Farm Kitchen’s Farm-Size Cinnamon Roll serves an entire table of hungry people for just $5.75 at the time of this writing.
2. Dollywood’s 25lb Apple Pie (Spotlight Bakery, Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN)
Now we’re starting to get into the really crazy stuff.
Dollywood’s Spotlight Bakery serves up a variety of handcrafted pastries and desserts, but it’s their 25lb Apple Pie that tends to get all of the attention.
Created to celebrate Dollywood’s 25th anniversary, this tasty behemoth is made from scratch in a giant cast iron skillet and can feed an entire fleet of people.
Don’t feel like you can manage to eat an entire 25lb pie during your next trip to Dollywood? No worries, you’ve got options!
You can purchase the pie by the 3lb slice for just $18.99 (feeds 3-4 people) or opt to order the entire pie and have it shipped to your house – skillet included – for just $189.99.
1. Ice Cream on a Cloud (Mad Dog’s Creamery, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN)
And finally, our award to the craziest dessert in the Smokies goes to … Ice Cream on a Cloud at Mad Dog’s Creamery and Donuts.
Ice Cream on a Cloud is a traditional ice cream cone dipped and swirled in a plume of vanilla flavored cotton candy.
Never before have we ordered a dessert that produced as many questions and comments as we made our way out the door and through the parking lot with this gorgeous oddity dripping in our hands.
“What’s THAT?!” people called out. “OH WOW!” they exclaimed.
The reactions this thing produces would be worth the price of admission alone, but to top it all off – it’s not just a looker, it’s also super tasty.
If cones aren’t your speed, Mad Dog’s also serves a “burrito” version of this dessert where they ditch the cone and wrap an entire “log” of ice cream in the cotton candy instead.
Mad Dog’s Creamery and Donuts has two locations – one in Pigeon Forge and the other in Gatlinburg.
At the time of this writing, Ice Cream on a Cloud starts at $6.99 (prices may vary depending on toppings and customizations).
Have you tried any of these crazy desserts in the Smokies? Do you know of a crazy dessert that we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.
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