Like all great stories, Cakes by Crème de la Crème's was written through persistence. Pastry chefs Michael Jones and Bart Utz first met when they were taking baking courses together. They formed a partnership, worked at several establishments, then pooled their resources and struck out on their own, starting Cakes by Crème de la Crème. The duo, who have chalked up experience working at venues such as the Washington Athletic Club and the Sunset Club, combine their expertise to craft delicious and visually intricate cakes for all occasions. This expertise has garnered press attention from The Knot, who recently included them in their "Best of Weddings 2013" feature.
Their tiered wedding cakes roll out a spectacle for the eye and the tongue, with romantically elegant designs finished in buttercream icing and fondant. They customize cakes to each client’s specifications by creating a unique border or design, and by giving customers a choice of unique flavors, such as banana cake with strawberry preserves and cream-cheese filling. Jones and Utz also specialize in affordable dessert cakes, tortes, and tarts and custom party cakes, which they can mold into inspired designs such as stacks of favorite books, a college’s logo, or a turntable with vinyl records on top—an homage to the days when every cake was also a record player.
The well-traveled pastry chef at Royale Cafe & Bakery's daily, scratch-made selection of pastries fits neatly beneath a small glass counter. The presentation, though, incorporates culinary techniques learned from across the globe via seven years of training and travel. The chef rises early each morning to bake everything from savory souffl? to mini chocolate cheesecake tarts and nutella-filled croissants. These treats come alongside homemade soups, hot paninis, and gourmet salads. Baristas also prepare artful espresso drinks to accompany them, such as mochas and lattes topped with foamy images of flowers, leaves, and hot milk in coffee.
The amiable bakers at Cow Chip Cookies drop 11 types of dough onto sheets before baking their signature cookies to a golden finish. Fresh ingredients from The Butter Creek Farm are used to craft cookies available in flavors such as classic chocolate chip with Ghirardelli chocolate and Mock Baby Ruth cookies featuring a peanut-butter-and-oatmeal cookie-dough base spotted with chocolate and butterscotch chips. As the cookies drop, each one takes on its own slightly different shape, just like a handmade pillow filled with shredded college rejection letters. Gift boxes delight recipients with heart-shaped treats, seasonal shapes, or custom flavor combinations.
Years ago, Healthy Creations' Chef Ariel removed all gluten and animal products from her diet. She grew to love growing her own food in her garden, and developed a passion for turning her backyard produce into scrumptious, healthy meals. Today, she focuses her on sharing recipes for gluten-free and vegan dishes that are both flavorful and satisfying. In her private chef services, she focuses on sustainable Caribbean cooking as well as desserts that fit into gluten-free, vegan, and diabetic diets. She also leads gluten-free cooking classes, where she shares her own recipes with others who are exploring this lifestyle choice or were once bitten by a bag of flour.
The vibrant lime walls at Peaks Frozen Yogurt Bar merely hint at the intense flavors hidden beneath the folds and swirls of its frozen treats. A set of 15–18 dispensers dishes out low-fat, non-fat, and tart frozen yogurt, as well as sorbet, in a variety of rotating flavors. That flavor roster includes Hawaiian pineapple, pomegranate raspberry tart, and sweet coconut. After making their selection, patrons of the sweeteries' three locations—including the newest location, in Issaquah Commons—peruse the toppings bar for any combination of the 40 available treats, such as M&Ms, fresh fruit, and pecan chunks.
At locations in more than a dozen states, U-Swirl delivers more than 40 flavors of frozen yogurt packed with live and active cultures and designed in low-fat, non-fat, and sugar-free varieties. Self-serve machines line the shop?s lime green walls, ready for customers to dispense heaping swirls of old favorites, such as cookies n' cream and fruit sorbet, or seasonal innovations, including eggnog in the winter and fireworks in the summer. Next, patrons head to the toppings bar and crown their frozen treats with as much fresh fruit, cereal, and candy as they can handle before weighing cups and paying by the ounce.
Even though Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has locations throughout the world, it still maintains the small-town candy-store feel envisioned by its creator and CEO, Frank Crail. Crail founded the original location in his adopted hometown of Durango, Colorado, filling the sweet-smelling space with homey accents, such as candy-making demonstrations and games of Pin the Tail on the Chocolatier. Behind the counter, staffers roll fresh granny smith apples in dense caramel and mold lumps of rich fudge on old-style marble slabs. Other fresh confections include mint bark, chocolate-dipped pretzels, and boxed chocolates.