Treat generators at The Bakery Shoppe craft each bakery item and customized cake from scratch with natural ingredients. Hearty loaves of country-white ($2.88) and black-olive tomato bread ($4.48) sit juxtaposed against appetite teasers such as single turnovers ($1.49 each) and filled donuts ($0.85 each). Cookies on sticks ($2 each) serve as swords against hungry birds and as essential elements in birthday bouquets. Giant Elvis Presley cupcakes ($3 each) lull frosting eaters to sleep with their immense size and gentle ballads, and nonalcoholic chocolate-martini cocktail cupcakes (two for $6) induce visions of happy hours. Sink sweet teeth into french pastries such as Napoleons ($2.19 each) and crème puffs ($1.99 each) or an all-American caramel apple pie ($8.98 each).
The Cup bakes more than a dozen cupcake flavors that revolve every week, making room for new flavor features and seasonal specials. The classic combination of chocolate buttercream and fluffy yellow cake inside the Gold Rush ($2.75) is always available for prospectors to purchase with their own newly sifted nuggets. Patrons alight on lime-green stools as they break through the latticework of a streusel-encrusted sugar glaze to access the Cuppa Coffee Cake ($2.95). The Grasshopper ($2.75) was a recently featured confection, with an Andes mint spelunking into vanilla-mint buttercream. The Pumpkin Harvest ($2.75) treat will induce jack-o'-lantern grins September–December. A selection of The Cup’s from-scratch buttercream is also available in gluten-free incarnations.
At Black Bear Bakery, every batch of Lickhalter sourdough-rye bread, sweet pastries, and crunchy granola is made with the care of a shop owner. That’s because each staff member serves as a partial owner of the communal shop. This makes each staff member feel a personal responsibility for creating a shop they’d like their family to come to, encouraging them to use eco-friendly processes and locally sourced, organic ingredients. Along with whole-grain recipes filled with specialty ingredients such as kalamata olives and rosemary, bakers use century-old recipes passed down from the owners of Lickhalter Bakery. These recipes create hearty sourdough-rye loaves sprinkled with caraway seeds or twisted together with pumpernickel dough.
While breads are their specialty, bakers fill their ovens with more than just bread loaves. They craft handmade, boiled bagels that come sans holes, as well as cookies, baked granola, pizza crusts, and a variety of buns. On the weekends, they welcome the community for a vegetarian and vegan brunch, which features staples such as pancakes, quiche, potatoes, and bread pudding made from their loaves. These dishes can be washed down with pours of fair trade coffee, juice, tea, or pastry filling.
Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one 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 more than 200 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.
After graduating from cake-decorating school in Basel, Switzerland, Karl Knodel immigrated to America and opened his own cakery in 1901. In the 109 years since then, his family members have inherited recipes for his signature baked delights and used them to continue delighting discerning St. Louis sweet teeth and winning acclaim from picky incisors far and wide. Knodel's cakes, which vary in price depending on design decadence, are available in flavors such as caramel fudge, strawberry shortcake, red velvet, and eternity. For handheld treats, there's a 1 lb. cookie box ($9.95) or individual decorated cookies ($0.65+). Cupcakes strut down tongue catwalks in a variety of edible outfits (individual cupcakes start at $0.80). Call no less than five days in advance for custom cakes.