In 1982, Jeanne and Mark Samii could barely squeeze their old-fashioned cheesecakes into a 300-square-foot bakery. These days, they need a 25,000-square-foot factory to craft a sprawling menu of cheesecakes, tortes, and pies. More than 30 varieties of cheesecake—including key lime, amaretto almond, and fudge marble—pair sweetness with smooth textures, like a saxophone that emanates unsolicited compliments. Available with two or three stories of batter-based bricks, layer cakes showcase gourmet ingredients such as mascarpone cheese and dark-chocolate ganache. The bakery also peddles creamy, sugar-free cheesecakes, towering wedding cakes, and snack-size treats such as cookies and brownies.
The Cupcake Shoppe's founder and oven-master Rachael Miller artfully melds real butter, fresh fruit, dutch-processed cocoa, and pure extracts to produce daily batches of preservative-free cupcakes. Swirls of made-from-scratch frosting crown the petite cakes in up to 10 flavors and hold toppings and frosted treasure maps on their buttercream, whipped-cream, or cream-cheese dunes. Patrons can consult the pastry shop's menu of daily cupcakes ($3 for all single cupcakes; $15 for six), to nab an array of diminutive treats or go all-in with the colossal proportions of a big cupcake ($18 each). Sink cuspids into a cushion of red velvet cake and cream cheese or tackle a two-toned dessert that perches white chocolate chips and buttercream on a chocolate base, orbited by a rim of white-chocolate sprinkles and envious hummingbirds. A rotating list of specialty flavors includes Reese's cupcakes, which doff peanut-butter buttercream hats to courteous tongues, and a wedding-cake variety that hitches sweet teeth to a white, almond-infused centerpiece strewn with edible pearls.
A bloom of pastel sugar cookies sprouts from a foundation of peanut-butter and chocolate-chip cookies heaped at their base. This edible masterpiece, the BouTray, is one of Cookies by Design’s many inventive arrangements. For their creative displays, the bakers have been spotlighted on Home and Lifestyle TV. Once customers have selected their ideal cookie bouquet, cookie platter, or cookie house for displaced gingerbread men, pastry chefs personalize the fresh-baked treats with a written message or design.
Cheryl Durham, the owner of Lollycakes Cupcakes, is watching her dreams come true before her very eyes. Inside her shop, these visions often materialize as delicious cupcakes and treats crafted from scratch using gourmet recipes. Her tasty creations include flavors such as the Black Sheep, which houses a cookies ‘n’ cream cheesecake cupcake within an Oreo-cookie crust. She also whips up frozen LollyShakes, which blend your choice of Lollycake with milk and ice cream. In addition to dispensing sweet treats from her storefront, Cheryl also caters events including baby showers, birthdays, weddings, and business tea parties.
Smoothie King co-founder Steve Kuhnau began mixing fruit, nutrients, and proteins in the late 1960’s, in a successful attempt to assuage his own health conundrums. By 1973, he’d begun selling vitamins alongside his health-boosting concoctions, and soon, more than 600 Smoothie King locations were operating worldwide. Today, the shop’s patrons customize real apple, mango, and banana smoothies with sundry health-bolstering mix-ins. More than 70 blendable multi-vitamins, minerals, enzymes, nutrients, and amino acids fortify frosty smoothies, helping bodies to stay healthy or lift semi-trucks. Snacks such as veggie chips and high-protein cookies augment shakes in both health and deliciousness.
The pink banner that curls around the façade of Yolanda's Specialty Cakes calls to mind the creamy fondant streaks that grace many of the eponymous owner's specialty confections. Though Yolanda Amaya has been perfecting her craft since 1977, many locals are just beginning to hop on her train of sweet treats thanks to readers of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, who voted her shop the Best of the Best in 2010. On-hand consultants help brides- and grooms-to-be select the perfect theme for their wedding cake, and decorators spell out birthday greetings with swirls of icing. Yolanda and her bakers sculpt cakes into a variety of shapes and styles, from tiered towers to wearable quinceañera dresses.