12 Starbucks Drinks Inspired By Popular Desserts

There is an undeniable charm about Starbucks that goes beyond its aromatic coffees. From the inventive secret menu concoctions dreamt up by die-hard Starbucks fans to the ever-evolving seasonal menus, there's a constant element of surprise and anticipation. However, one aspect of this global coffee powerhouse that never fails to delight us is its ingenious knack for reinventing our beloved treats, transforming them into sippable delicacies.

Across its outlets worldwide, Starbucks has been incredibly creative in reimagining desserts as beverages. While U.S. locations may not always offer the most creative dessert-inspired options, Starbucks stores in other parts of the world have certainly stepped up to fill that void, introducing an exciting range of dessert-turned-drink options.

Starbucks doesn't just stop at its base menu. The franchise has time and again proven its creativity by fashioning drinks that echo the decadence of desserts. More often than not, these creations manifest as Frappuccinos, with their blended, creamy nature perfectly suited to embody the rich, indulgent character of desserts. However, the potential for innovation doesn't end there. With some creative twists, even the humble latte can be transformed into a temping dessert in a cup.

American Cherry Pie Frappuccino

While it might be expected that an American Cherry Pie Frappuccino would feature prominently on the menus of cafes across the United States, this indulgently fruity and creamy dessert-like beverage surprisingly debuted in Japanese Starbucks outlets back in 2017. The American Cherry Pie Frappuccino has a distinct and visually appealing construction, reminiscent of an inverted dessert sandwich. The base of the drink consists of a generous layer of rich cherry preserves. This fruity foundation is then followed by a thick, smooth layer of vanilla cream that forms the middle section of this layered concoction. To top it all off, another layer of cherry preserves is added, maintaining the balance between the tart fruitiness and the sweet, creamy vanilla.

Every Starbucks Frappuccino wouldn't be complete without its signature topping of whipped cream. However, to truly encapsulate the spirit of a classic American cherry pie, this Frappuccino is garnished with an unusual addition — a domed pie crust lid, effectively transforming the beverage into a drinkable dessert.

In the run-up to the release on April 13th, Starbucks in Japan initiated a significant marketing push, proudly announcing the American Cherry Pie Frappuccino as part of its summer festival lineup in the intriguingly named Dome Surprise release. Following its successful launch, Starbucks encouraged patrons to customize the beverage by adding elements like chocolate to the vanilla base.

Opera Frappuccino

Continuing its tradition of dessert-inspired beverages, Starbucks in Japan ushered in Valentine's Day 2023 with the introduction of a new Frappuccino — this one inspired by the luxurious French cake, Opera Cake. This ingenious creation is a tribute to the original Opera Cake, which was the brainchild of French pastry chef Cyriaque Gavillion.

Traditionally, an Opera Cake boasts multiple layers of almond sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup, chocolate ganache, coffee-flavored buttercream, and even a decadent layer of chocolate glaze. Starbucks' Opera Cake Frappuccino incorporates the quintessential coffee base, paying homage to the coffee-soaked sponge of the original dessert. The addition of almond milk is a nod to the cake's almond sponge layers. Chocolate chips and chocolate powder are generously included, referencing the chocolate ganache that is an integral part of the traditional Opera Cake. And to perfectly mirror the lavishness of the cake, Starbucks crowns the drink with a generous dollop of whipped cream, decadently layered with a creamy layer of molten rich chocolate.

Fudge Brownie Hot Chocolate

Many of the Starbucks drinks that are based on desserts tend to be a little bit closer to Frappuccinos because that's the easiest drink to make into an ultra-sweet beverage. it's not the only option, of course. The global coffee giant also tweaks its menu to cater to regional tastes and seasons, ensuring a diverse array of offerings worldwide.

A notable example of this is the holiday season specials. While these drinks vary across geographies, a unique beverage that delighted patrons in the winter of 2021 throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa was the Fudge Brownie Hot Chocolate, a release as part of the holiday lineup that also included a Toffee Nut Latte and Gingerbread Latte. This drink offers a more decadent take on the traditional hot chocolate that is synonymous with the holiday season in many parts of the world.

The drink starts with a base of hot chocolate, which is then enhanced with cookie syrup that imparts an additional layer of flavor. Instead of the usual dollop of whipped cream, this variant features a chocolate whipped cream, which further amplifies the chocolatey experience. For the finishing touch, a generous drizzle of chocolate syrup and a sprinkle of fudge pieces are added, creating an irresistible topping that will delight any chocolate lover. In contrast, the regular hot chocolate at Starbucks is a more simplified version, featuring the classic combination of rich cocoa and creamy milk topped with regular whipped cream.

Setouchi Lemon Cake Frappuccino

One of our favorite bakery treats at Starbucks is the Lemon Loaf, so we're super jealous of the Setouchi Lemon Cake Frappuccino available at Starbucks in Japan. This creamy and zesty beverage is a treasure trove of flavors that impeccably replicates the taste of a lemon cake.

The Setouchi Lemon Cake Frappuccino is a cream-based beverage, and thus, doesn't contain any caffeine. The drink blends lemon cake with milk, creating a sugary and creamy base. A tangy lemon peel sauce is mixed into this base, infusing the drink with the essence of refreshing citrus. The final garnish consists of Starbucks' signature whipped cream, topped with tangy lemon icing that brings in the nostalgic taste of a lemon loaf. The addition of pearl sugar as a finishing touch gives the beverage a delightful crispy crunch that echoes the texture of a perfectly baked loaf.

What sets this beverage apart is the use of Setouchi lemons, which are renowned in Japan. Setouchi is known for lemons that are larger and juicier than their typical counterparts. Their unique taste profile — a balanced blend of sweet and tart flavors — makes them an ideal choice for dessert-inspired creations. As a result, the Setouchi Lemon Cake Frappuccino has a delightful citrusy flavor that is less tart compared to regular lemon beverages, making it a perfect dessert in a cup for those who appreciate a subtler, more nuanced citrus experience.

Chocolate Cookie Crumble Crème Frappuccino

A notable mainstay on the Starbucks menu in North American locations is the Chocolate Cookie Crumble Creme Frappuccino. This is a cream-based Frappuccino that ingeniously captures the delightful essence of a layered cookie in the form of a beverage. It's akin to enjoying a cookie in a cup, making it a real treat for dessert lovers and fans of innovative, drinkable cookies.

When you order this Frappuccino, the first thing that hits your eyes is its layered construction. It starts with a base layer of whipped cream generously topped with a crumble of chocolate cookies. This is followed by a rich, cream-based drink with an enticingly chocolaty taste, reminiscent of a classic chocolate cookie. The beverage is then finished off with another helping of whipped cream, an extra sprinkling of cookie crumbles, and a drizzle of rich chocolate sauce.

The end result is a drink that is reminiscent of an Oreo cookie, with its harmonious blend of cream and chocolate flavors, reimagined in a liquid format. For those who prefer a caffeinated version, Starbucks also offers a Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino. This variant swaps the cream base with a coffee base, infusing the drink with a hint of robust coffee flavor while retaining the irresistible charm of the cookie and cream duo. We love that the cream-based Chocolate Cookie Crumble Cream Frappuccino serves as a kid-friendly version, while the Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino provides a caffeine-laden alternative for adults.

Tiramisu Latte

Given that the foundation of a classic tiramisu comprises ladyfinger cookies soaked in coffee, it's only logical that this delightful dessert could be reimagined into an equally enticing latte. The layered confection that is tiramisu, complete with its luscious ladyfingers, mascarpone cream, and a generous dusting of chocolate, is a dessert that appears intricately complex yet is remarkably straightforward to prepare. It has an inherent ability to please a crowd with its layered textures and flavors.

Starbucks masterfully translated this beloved dessert into a latte form that retained the dessert's key flavors while seamlessly fitting into its beverage menu. This inventive creation, the Tiramisu Latte, was an espresso-based drink that combined the robust flavors of coffee with the creaminess of milk and the rich taste of mascarpone syrup. Starbucks' signature topping of whipped cream added an extra layer of decadence, which was then sprinkled with cocoa espresso powder, a nod to the chocolate dusting on traditional tiramisu.

The Tiramisu Latte offered a variety of serving options — customers could enjoy it hot, iced, or even as a Frappuccino, catering to a broad range of preferences. Sadly, this delicious homage to the classic Italian dessert is no longer a part of Starbucks' regular menu.

Carmel Flan Latte

Flan, a custard dessert with a layer of clear caramel sauce, while incredible, is not always easy to perfect at home. It's silky texture and nuanced flavor demand a certain culinary finesse that can be quite challenging to achieve. Luckily, Starbucks stepped in and offered a delightful alternative for flan lovers with the Caramel Flan Latte during several winter seasons.

The Caramel Flan Latte was an espresso-based beverage that beautifully captured the essence of this delectable dessert. It started with a base of rich, dark espresso blended with steamed milk, which was then sweetened with a special flan-flavored syrup. This concoction attempted to mimic the creamy, custard-like taste and texture of a classic flan.

What set this beverage apart was its distinctive topping. Instead of the usual dusting of cocoa or spice, this latte was adorned with caramel whipped cream, a delightful nod to the caramel sauce that typically tops a flan. An additional drizzle of caramel sugar completed the garnish, adding an extra layer of flavor and a hint of crunch for a multi-textured sip. Plus, we're always in love with drinks that offer a special kind of whip, as was the case with this one.

Iced Sugar Cookie Latte

Baking cookies during the holiday season is a cherished tradition for many, and what could possibly be a more fitting companion to this festive activity than a beverage inspired by one of the most iconic holiday cookies? Enter Starbucks' Sugar Cookie Latte, a delightful drink that successfully captures the essence of a freshly baked sugar cookie in a cup, creating a unique and comforting experience.

The Sugar Cookie Latte is a versatile offering that's easily adapted to various dietary preferences. Right off the menu, you can order this drink with almond milk, making it an inclusive choice for those who prefer plant-based milk options or follow a vegan diet. This accessible nature of the beverage makes it a favorite among customers, proving that indulging in festive flavors can indeed be guilt-free and inclusive.

This latte's flavor profile is as enchanting as the cookie it's inspired by. It starts with a base of Starbucks' Blonde Roast espresso, chosen for its lighter, subtle flavor that doesn't overpower the sweetness of the sugar cookie element. This espresso is then blended with a specially formulated sugar cookie syrup that infuses the drink with a delicate flavor reminiscent of a classic holiday sugar cookie. Each Sugar Cookie Latte is finished off with a topping of festive sprinkles, adding a cheerful touch of color and a slight texture contrast to the smooth latte. Perhaps it's the perfect drink to enjoy while making cookies or even to leave out for Santa.

Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino

Few things encapsulate the joy of summertime fairs better than the taste of a warm, freshly made funnel cake. This deep-fried doughy delight, dusted with powdered sugar and often adorned with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of strawberry purée or other sweet flavors, is a perennial fairground favorite. It's only fitting, then, that Starbucks would draw inspiration from this beloved treat to create a dessert-inspired drink, the Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino.

Although its stay on the Starbucks menu was fleeting, the Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino made a lasting impression on those who had the pleasure of tasting it. This drink was essentially a caffeinated twist on the classic Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino but with an added layer of complexity that mirrored the layered nature of its funnel cake muse.

This drink began with a layer of fluffy whipped cream at the base of the cup, followed by a vibrant strawberry purée. Next, a coffee-based drink was prepared by blending milk with a unique funnel cake-flavored syrup, adding a hint of the sugary fried dough flavor to the beverage. To finish, the Frappuccino was crowned with another whipped cream dollop and a final strawberry sauce drizzle. The standout aspect of this beverage was how the layered preparation mimicked the essence of an actual funnel cake, complete with its contrasting textures and flavors.

S'mores Frappuccino

The S'mores Frappuccino has indeed carved a special place in the hearts of Starbucks fans. This dessert-inspired beverage, available for limited times, has evoked a nostalgic longing akin to sweet summertime memories, making it one of the most anticipated and desired offerings on the Starbucks menu.

The fanfare surrounding this Frappuccino started in 2015 when it was first introduced. The delightful blend of flavors reminiscent of a classic S'mores dessert garnered immediate adoration, and the drink became a much-anticipated summer staple. However, in 2018, Starbucks decided to discontinue this beloved beverage, leading to widespread disappointment and an unrelenting uproar among its dedicated fan base. Recognizing the fervor and passion for this drink, Starbucks heeded the call of its persistent customers and brought it back in 2019, although it has remained elusive since then.

S'mores Frappuccino starts with a layer of whipped cream at the bottom of the cup, followed by a drizzle of rich mocha sauce. This is then topped with a blend of coffee and milk, recreating the familiar chocolatey taste of a S'mores treat. But what sets this Frappuccino apart is its topping — a marshmallow-infused whipped cream, which brilliantly captures the taste of fire-roasted marshmallows. Lastly, a sprinkling of crunchy graham cracker crumbs completes the drink, adding a texture contrast that enhances the overall experience. Yes, we miss it too.

Chocolate Banana Frappuccino

Venturing further into the realm of dessert-inspired beverages with a fruity twist, Starbucks in Japan introduced Banana and Chocolate Banana Frappuccinos in April 2022. These fun concoctions were garnished with little pieces of candy on top, lending them an extra touch of whimsy and fun. Although these unique flavors created quite a buzz, their tenure on the Starbucks menu was regrettably brief.

The Banana Frappuccino, while not necessarily classified as a dessert beverage on its own, offered a cream and subtly tropical flavor that was a refreshing change from the usual offerings. Its appeal lay in its simplicity and the natural taste of the banana, which, when combined with the creamy base of the Frappuccino, created a delightful drink. Topping the drink with little pieces of candy added a playful and nostalgic touch, reminiscent of banana-flavored candies one might have enjoyed in childhood.

However, the true dessert-inspired star was the Chocolate Banana Frappuccino. Drawing inspiration from a beloved treat found at ice cream trucks and theme parks — the chocolate-dipped banana — this drink artfully recreated the essence of this simple yet decadent dessert. The familiar sweetness of the banana was perfectly balanced with the rich, indulgent flavor of the chocolate, creating a harmonious blend that delighted the taste buds.

Banana Split Mocha Frappuccino

For those who relish the idea of transforming a classic dessert into a drinkable delicacy, Starbucks in the Philippines made waves in the summer of 2017 with another unique creation: the Banana Split Mocha Frappuccino. This delectable concoction was designed to mimic the delicious layers of a traditional banana split, arguably one of the most iconic summer desserts.

The Banana Split Mocha Frappuccino was an innovative melange of fruity and chocolatey elements. The drink began with a fruity base, reminiscent of the bananas in the actual dessert. This was followed by a rich, chocolatey middle, emulating the indulgent sauces that adorn a banana split. The beverage was then finished with a generous dollop of whipped cream, sprinkled with crumbled waffle cone pieces, and drizzled with more chocolate. This final layer mirrored the essential toppings of the dessert, creating a full sensory experience reminiscent of enjoying a cool sundae on a hot summer's day.