Karie Foster was searching for her true calling in the early 2000s. She was frustrated by her job in real estate, and wanted to branch out into a creative pursuit. After she hosted a cupcake-themed birthday party for her friend's daughter, she knew what to do. She noticed that even the adults at the party devoured her treats with the speed of an over-caffeinated auctioneer, so she decided to open her own bakery. Here, she specializes in the cupcakes and sweet treats she loved as a child, baking a rotating selection of family-recipe favorites such as mini cupcakes, sheet cakes, and chocolate-fudge pie.
The Long Beach bakery, named Miss Priss after Karie's childhood collection of prissy dolls, looks like a life-size dollhouse. Beyond the quaint storefront dressed in gauzy pink curtains, light pink hutches house baked goods accented with frilly pink bows, and a ruffled tiered cupcake stand displays rows of ornately frosted pastel goodies.
For three decades, the bakers at Melrose Baking Company have used all-natural ingredients to lovingly create fresh, crusty breads from scratch, and without the use of preservatives. Today, the bakery crafts more than 200 different doughy creations, from rosemary-garlic focaccia to soft and salty pretzel rolls disguised as non-pretzel-shaped loaves.
One of Sugar and Spice Bakery's cupcakes is like an edible choose-your-own-adventure novel. The customer guides every step of its creation, starting by selecting mini, regular, or jumbo cupcakes. Next, they pick one of 11 flavors—such as spice or vanilla—and decide on fillings such as banana cream. They then opt for cream-cheese, peanut-butter, or housemade buttercream icing. Final touches might include sprinkles and slices of strawberry.
Sugar and Spice's talented bakers use the same ingredients to create round and sheet cakes, which present larger canvases for designs. Icing and fondant transform into superheroes, logos of favorite sports teams, or even a photograph of the birthday boy or girl.
Blends Soft Serve Creations sets their frozen treats apart and puts the power of invention in the hands of the people by offering them the chance to blend individual flavors into their own new creation. Patrons can choose a base of ice cream or frozen yogurt or opt for a smoothie or fruit-juice freeze to sip through a straw. Next, they can infuse the treat with one or a combination of 30 available flavors, including watermelon, cinnamon spice, and peach, and top it off with candy and fruit mix-ins. Blends also lists its recommendations for tasty treats that have passed flavor-quality and brain-freeze-probability tests, including cake-batter ice cream topped with vanilla-wafer crumbles and sprinkles, and fruit punch with cherry and orange flavors, highlighted by cherry, strawberry, and raspberry mix-ins.
Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one exciting question: why should flowers and sweets remain separate? Her solution was to design the cookie bouquet, where custom hand-decorated cookies are displayed on sticks and arranged like flowers in gift baskets. Her invention quickly became a popular gift among locals, particularly those allergic to real blooms or too bashful to look at naked cookies.
Twenty-five years later, there are roughly 90 Cookies by Design locations across the country. Each shop's team of bakers creates cookie baskets with a degree of care that matches Willhite's original vision, decorating and arranging sweet shapes for birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.
Created by Patty Newkirk and her daughters, Laurie and Nancy, Creative Cakery began in 1983. Up until that point, the women had perfected their cake recipes inside the family kitchen, selling confections out of their home. Their designs are built upon bundt cakes with a fluted design that allows for easy frosting and decorating, in addition to nooks and crannies to add in birthday, holiday, or corporate-takeover-themed accoutrements.