Christine Boatwright of Shelby Living Magazine wrote a piece detailing the operations of self-taught baker and Wooden Spoon Bakery owner Leslie Arnold and how she specializes in surprising scone flavors—pear and fresh ginger, apricot white chocolate, and salted caramel, to name a few—but also loves one special, more familiar flavor. Her red-velvet cake, a hand-me-down recipe from her husband’s grandmother, is a popular classic: a light chocolate cake colored a vibrant red and sprinkled with icing and walnuts. As she told the magazine, “I’m proud to say it’s the only recipe I have not tinkered with because it’s perfect the way it is.” Still, Arnold keeps a constantly rotating menu of flavors and offerings at Wooden Spoon Bakery, baking bacon-cheese biscuits, strawberry coffee cake, and blueberry-and-cream muffins one week and specialty brownie cakes the next.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine?s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop?s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M?s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
4 Seasons Salon's advanced equipment has bronzed bodies with UV and UV-free tanning services and the tanning salon is Smart Tan-certified. Formerly known as Unique Tan, the salon fosters sun-kissed glows with an array of beds, including the lay-down Open Sun and the standup Starship, as well as the sunless Mystic Tan booth and custom airbrush tanning, applied by Michelle Owen who has over 9 years of experience. The company's knowledgeable staff kicks off tanning journeys by chatting with clients about their preferred hues. Red-light therapy and massage therapy sessions soothe bodies, and Fit body wrap treatments are available to reduce cellulite, speed up metabolism, and detoxify the body. The stores also stock lotions, such as Designer Skin and Devoted Creations' Collagenetics line, which boasts anti-aging effects.
After six and a half years working as a restaurant pastry chef, Bianca Priest had an itch for change. That itch led her to open her own bakery, where she specializes in everything from old-fashioned towering cakes to new and innovative sweets. Her butter cake batter, which boasts a satisfyingly dense texture similar to pound cake, provides the base for most desserts and helps stabilize any wobbly tables in the bakery. Bianca also crafts cupcakes, pies, cookies, and bars from scratch, as well as custom cakes and elegant nuptial desserts. Those with dietary restrictions can rejoice in the bakery staff?s ability to accommodate special diets, with lower-sugar-content and vegan options available.
Tuesday through Saturday, Annalyce's Bake Shop lays out six varieties of cupcakes chosen from a repertoire of nearly two dozen flavor combinations, which range from classic red velvet to exotic Nutella. Freshly baked, these spongy, handheld cakes hide under piped crowns of airy buttercream and flourishes of sprinkles, mini Oreos, or marshmallows. Annalyce's keen bakers also sculpt breathtaking special-occasion cakes using pliable fondant icing, which can be shaped to resemble Lego bricks, red roses, or the town comptroller.
Basked in natural light and the glow of hanging pendant lights, Courtyard Cafe’s interior is filled with the aroma of carved corned beef, fried green tomatoes, and smoked turkey. These aromas waft from the deli counter, where sandwich makers craft lunch fare such as reubens, burgers, and club sandwiches. Trays of cupcakes crafted with whipped green, red, and yellow frosting line up alongside full-size cakes customized by an in-house cake designer for special events such as weddings and wedding proposals to cakes. The staff also leads cooking classes that teach kids the culinary skills to bake pies, pizza, or Asian dishes. Housed in a downtown building erected in 1887, the Courtyard Cafe’s red-brick exterior evokes a bygone era seen in historical black and white photos lining the straw-colored walls inside. Customers can sit at counters or tables inside, or relax on a landscaped patio next to trees, shrubbery, and a trickling fountain.