One foot across, and two-and-a-half feet tall. That?s an estimate of the dimensions of the mammoth Levee High Apple Pie. The pie?made with no fewer than 18 hand-sliced and hand-placed golden delicious apples?is something of a local celebrity: it was named one of Oprah?s ?Favorite Things?, featured on the Today Show, profiled on the Food Network?s Paula?s Party, and honored with the Nobel Pie Prize. Tipping the scales at 10 pounds, the apple pie feeds eight and has become so popular, its creator, The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery, now ships frozen versions around the country to make stunning appearances at home tables year-round.
But anvil-sized desserts aren?t the only reason locals flock to The Blue Owl. A whole menu of casual comfort foods beckons with options such as biscuits and gravy, hot roast beef sandwiches, fried chicken, and fresh tossed strawberry salad. Yet homemade fruit pies, cream pies, cheesecakes, and wedding cakes are still the restaurant's biggest claim to fame, and have been since 1985. That's the year that local baker Mary Hostetter (whose homemade baked goods had taken area fairs and festivals by storm), blended her home-based business with that of the legendary Blue Owl Restaurant. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Whether she’s baking for a birthday party or to simply sate a sweet craving, Melissa “Missy” Armbrecht is hard at work in the kitchen. At the cozy Let Them Eat Cake Balls kitchen—conveniently located inside of Missy's very own home—she crafts decadent cake balls and pops for clients across Waterloo and the St. Louis area. In total, she concocts nearly two-dozen flavors ranging from traditional chocolate and vanilla to more complex creations, such as mandarin orange or s’mores varieties. She also allows customers to order treats by the dozen and welcomes requests for custom decorations, such as soccer balls for a post-game party or heart-shaped bites for the anniversary of your first Cupid sighting. Determined to monitor quality from oven to table, Missy delivers all orders herself and can travel to customers located within 15 miles of Waterloo.
After graduating from cake-decorating school in Basel, Switzerland, Karl Knodel immigrated to America and opened his own cakery in 1901. In the 109 years since then, his family members have inherited recipes for his signature baked delights and used them to continue delighting discerning St. Louis sweet teeth and winning acclaim from picky incisors far and wide. Knodel's cakes, which vary in price depending on design decadence, are available in flavors such as caramel fudge, strawberry shortcake, red velvet, and eternity. For handheld treats, there's a 1 lb. cookie box ($9.95) or individual decorated cookies ($0.65+). Cupcakes strut down tongue catwalks in a variety of edible outfits (individual cupcakes start at $0.80). Call no less than five days in advance for custom cakes.
The yogurt-minded staff members at Chill serve all-natural frozen yogurt that is mixed in small 10-gallon batches or less and delivered daily from a St. Louis dairy to ensure freshness. The active cultures, along with calcium, protein, and vitamins, blend together in low-fat flavors such as biscotti, dark chocolate, and red-velvet cake. Patrons fill their cups with the frozen treat, then crown their creations with a selection of fruity, salty, and sugary toppings.
After honing her baking and decorating skills for more than a decade at a French-pastry shop in the New York City suburbs, Sugar N Spice Creations’ owner, Chris M'Gonigle, started her own cakes, cookies, and pastries business. Along with a team of adept decorators, Chris squeezes colored icing into intricate floral bouquets and coaxes seasonal figures such as turkeys, snowmen, and hearts. She and her staff pass on their baking acumen to visitors in cookie- and cupcake-decorating classes, where they demonstrate how to create icing designs and ancient baker hieroglyphs.
It all started in the restaurant where Tom Harte's daughter was a waitress. She convinced him to bake a few cakes and sell them there. The rich, creamy indulgence his cheesecakes promised became a hit in no time, and My Daddy's Cheesecake Bakery was born. Today, a team of confectioners crafts fresh cakes daily at its state-of-the-art 5,500-square-foot storefront and production facility. The demand for their cakes is so high, however, that they offer cakes by mail, ensuring everyone can have their cake and eat it, too. Whether grabbing them in store or online, cakes sate sweet teeth with more than 20 flavors, such as N'Orleans praline, peanut butter and chocolate, eggnog, and dreamsicle. They also welcome guests to stop by the shop for fresh-baked muffins, artfully assembled sandwiches, and cups of gourmet coffee.