Loard’s Ice Cream beguiles ice cream connoisseurs with more than 40 flavors of cold culinary comfort. Experience the tastes of fall without sautéing leaf piles by slurping up regular-sized scoops of pumpkin or maple-walnut ice cream crafted with cream from local suppliers ($2.50 each). Popular concoctions such as cookie-dough, bubble-gum, and ube-taro-root ice cream color tongues’ opinions on nothing-but-dessert diets, swaying them to beg for milkshakes for breakfast ($3.85), double scoops for lunch ($3.85), and kids’-sized scoops for post-cardio workouts ($1.90). The punch cards unlock further treasures of Loard’s loaded menu, including ice-cream-free italian sodas, shaved ices, and freshly made cookies.
The modest size of Cheesecake Kitchen’s bakery stands at odds with its extensive menu of cheesecakes and cheesecake-flavored desserts, many of which include copious toppings of peanut butter, candy bars, and fruit. The 5-, 7-, and 10-inch cheesecakes nestle side-by-side within a display case that proudly exhibits more than 25 concoctions laced with flavors such as chocolate mocha and eggnog rum. In addition to traditional cake slices, the expert staff bakes their signature cheesecake tastes into brownies, cannoli, cupcakes, and elegant pillbox hats. Cheesecake Kitchen’s freezable cakes can also be slathered in customized decorations to celebrate a birthday party.
Known throughout the Central Valley as The Cupcake Lady, Troyce Fraga has certainly earned the moniker emblazoned on the side of her bright-pink delivery truck. Her first batches of cupcakes came shortly after her first steps as an infant, and the recipes she has perfected since those early days have gone on to win state-fair ribbons and local acclaim. These recipes draw inspiration from cocktails, candies, and even Mexican cuisine, resulting in flavors as diverse as minty mojito and horchata.
These days, throngs of dessert lovers sprint after Troyce’s cheery delivery truck as it drives along a route of Central Valley destinations such as Turlock City Hall, Latif’s Restaurant, and Emanuel Medical Center. When she isn’t packing marshmallows and raspberry preserves into her specialty cupcakes, Troyce dumps the gooey fillings out the window to slow down cars driving too close for comfort. Those lucky enough to be around when her truck stops can sample buttercream frostings and classic cake flavors such as red velvet and triple chocolate. In addition to her fresh-baked cupcakes, Troyce’s truck shuttles cake pops, whoopie pies, and cupcake parfaits to parties and other catered events.
Michelle's bustling bakers handcraft a variety of sweet and savory breads from seasonal ingredients, sourced from area farmers' markets. Handpick a preservative-free loaf ($8.50) or half-loaf ($5.50) in one of more than 25 flavors, from traditional options, including zucchini walnut and lemon, to zanier selections, such as papaya, pear, and jalapeno-cheese cornbread. Michelle's crew also bakes a line of vegan breads, as well as gluten- and sugar-free constructs made with rice or tapioca flour and Splenda. Sway sweet teeth with a saccharine medley of cookies and brownies ($2.50–$3.50 each), or teach a precocious terrier basic fractions with a pumpkin or sweet-potato pie ($10).
Jantz Cafe & Bakery is truly a family operation. It first opened its doors in 2001 under the direction of brothers Larry, Sheldon, and Andrew. Their mother, Margaret, supplied the majority of the recipes, and even their grandmother chipped in some concoctions. The Jantz brothers originally envisioned their shop as a side operation, but when customers began arriving in throngs, they knew they were onto something much bigger.
Since that modest beginning, Jantz Cafe & Bakery has added two additional locations in Mariposa and Merced. At each, the family relies on the freshest ingredients available while churning out batches of freshly baked bread, homemade pies, and other treats such as O'Henry bars and sweet-potato muffins. The business remains in good hands, too, since the next generation of Jantzes has already begun to learn the ropes and prepare to bake the future's edible smartphones. The Merced location is located in the El Portal plaza making it an ideal place to stop by before or after appointments or whenever a craving for good ole' home cooking arises.
At Yogolicious, guests take dessert cravings into their own hands. They swirl frozen yogurt or Italian-style gelato into cups, selecting exactly the right amount before adorning the twisted peaks with combinations of more than 50 toppings. Fresh fruit, cereals, nuts, and syrups sit atop frozen treats, with dollops of whipped cream to crown the entire dessert.