The bakers of this modern cake shop—named 1 of Martha Stewart's 10 favorite cupcake bakeries—decorate elaborate cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops with bright icing. In their open-air kitchen, they weave together quality ingredients, such as Callebaut chocolates, Valrhona cocoa, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, and sugar imported from Gum Drop Mountain. They schedule a set number of flavors for each day, juxtaposing classic flavors with eclectic concoctions, such as french toast, peach cobbler, and Martha Stewart's favorite, cherry pie.
After baking tasty canvases, bakers decorate the cakes with swirls of delicious buttercream or cream-cheese frosting. They can also transform pastry and frosting into custom designs, such as a turntable, piles of books, or a Barbie doll to celebrate a special occasion or conceal sweets from greedy party guests. The rich, smooth icing is so photogenic that no wedding cake ever needs to wear fondant cover-up.
Nicknamed Kokolita at a young age after the popular round, pink cookie, Martha Aguilera combines her talent for baking and love of nostalgia at her bakery of the same name. Recipes bear the names of ’50s and ’60s icons, such as the Holly Golightly cupcake, with pink-champagne cake and fresh strawberry filling inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s character, and the Bob Hope–inspired Ski Nose cupcake, with fresh lemon-curd filling and wisecracking seared-merengue frosting. Martha also draws on her own Chilean background with savory fare such as empanadas, churrasco sandwiches, and traditional brazo de reina cakes. During regular cake- and cupcake-decorating classes for kids, she passes on her skills to younger generations during leisurely paced 45-minute sessions in which kids top cupcakes with colorful frostings, candies, and their best guesses of what Marlon Brando looks like.Kokolita Cakes & More also gives back to local nonprofit organizations with fundraisers and donates to larger causes including cancer research and animal welfare, always taking suggestions for charitable projects from customers and the community.
Making a cupcake from the Cherry Coke and pretzels you bought at a convenience store probably won't win you any prizes, but for Kim Thurman and Kim Aeck, it did. It was this combination (plus some licorice) that brought the duo the win when they appeared on the second season of the Food Network's Cupcake Wars. Together the two Kims run Bake You Happy, a labor of love born out of early-morning pre-workout conversations about baking, during which they'd trade recipes and share tips. Soon they joined forces and opened Bake You Happy—and from all the great press, they've garnered, it's safe to say they're on the right track. And that's not even to mention they were just named Best Cupcakes, Cakes, and Desserts 2013 by readers of The Signal. Their specialty is cakes, in many different forms: cupcakes, cake pops, cupcake jars, and custom cakes. All items are baked using high-quality ingredients, including dutch cocoa, butter, cream, and real vanilla bean. The menu of flavors includes more than 85 varieties.
Each scoop of New Zealand Natural is made from the milk of cows that graze on New Zealand's pristine, unpolluted pastures. Crunch bits of toffee while surfing a smooth wave of fudge in a scoop of English Toffee, or pick plump boysenberries from a melty mound of Boysenberry Dream. Though menus differ across locations, all New Zealand Natural parlors boast a lengthy list of flavors that range from fruity to fudgy and hearty to light. Calorie-conscious eaters can indulge in a scoop of no-sugar-added zilch chocolate or low-fat, creamy mango passion frozen yogurt. Prices start at $2.99 for a small, and ice creams can be served in a cup or cone. Customers can also create their own soft-serve treat from any variety of the hard-scoop ice cream, low-fat yogurt, or fat- and dairy-free sorbets through New Zealand Natural's special Fruit Flo machine. For those preferring slurpable sweets, smoothies ($4.69) and shakes ($4.69) can be sipped in New Zealand Natural's bright and bubbly parlor or taken on a trip down an alley full of forgotten kittens.
Western Bagel has captured local tongues and breadbaskets since first exporting its circular treats to the bagel-barren West Coast 63 years ago. The freshly baked dough-discs cover a wide range of flavors and styles. Recruit a seasoned trio of sesame, poppy seed, and everything varieties from the stable of original recipes and erect a fort by spackling them with rich cream cheese. Meanwhile, each of the six alternative selections, all nearly fat-free and 110 calories, pack a flavorful punch without fostering paunch.
In 1997, friends Dena Tripp and Debra Shwetz set out to create a luscious, melt-in-your-mouth bundt cake. What began as an endeavor in their own home kitchens soon blossomed into a bustling business with bakeries in 21 states. Rich cocoa browns and soft pastels lend a nostalgic feel to each bakery, where every day ovens warm up cake batter made from fresh eggs, real butter, and cream cheese. Flavors such as chocolate chocolate chip, red velvet, and white-chocolate raspberry are favorite staples, and a new seasonal flavor makes a guest appearance each month. Cakes come in several sizes, from the standard 8- or 10-inch bundt to the single-serving bundtlet and the bite-size bundtini, all crowned with signature cream cheese frosting.