For 30 years, Cakes by Karen has graced gatherings with handmade cupcakes, tortes, and cakes culled from a tasty arsenal of flavors, fillings, and icings. The colorful, creative desserts pair with a variety of occasions, from multitiered wedding cakes decked out with elegant floral designs and smooth icing to fondant-capped tortes in the shape of powdered wigs for Presidents' Day. In addition to baking eye-catching treats, Cakes by Karen furnishes partiers and newlyweds with limousine packages replete with champagne, deluxe stereo systems, and luxurious stretch-limo transportation.
Hammond's Candies' history dates back to 1920, when Carl Hammond Sr., armed with the experience of apprenticing at a candy factory during high school, founded Hammond's Candy Company. He helped to develop the company's signature item, a caramel-wrapped marshmallow called the Mitchell Sweet. Today, after generations of expansion, the company stays old school by crafting candies by hand in small batches, just like old-school storks do with artisanal newborns. Hammond's populates celebrations of all kinds with a rainbow of handmade sweets such as lollipops, chocolate bars, candy canes, taffy, caramel corn, and hard and ribbon candy.
The Hammond's Candies factory opens its doors to the public for 30-minute tours that fill mouths with the free candy of the day and brains with sugarcoated science. Guests outfitted in retro-inspired factory hats stroll past steaming vats of caramel and great belts conveying candy canes in the making, catching glimpses of the action through big windows or taking a seat for more focused demonstrations. The factory also hosts parties and special events, complete with decorations, pizza, ice cream, and goody bags.
Bakers fill La Patisserie Francaise with the sugary scents of fresh pastries crafted according to traditional recipes and cooking methods passed on from its French founder. Breakfast selections span the divide between sweet and savory with chocolate and almond croissants ($3 and under) and butter croissants before plates take lunchtime naps beneath warm crepe blankets snuggling a variety of fillings. Flocks of pastries such as raspberry- and chocolate-layered basilic, cupcakes ($3+), and amaretto éclairs gather behind clear panes of glass cases to collect fingerprints in hopes of finding the one that unlocks their crystalline prison. Punch cards earn their carrier large ice-cream bowls stacked with scoops of mint chocolate-chip, spumoni, strawberry cheesecake, and other flavors.
Opened midsummer 2010 amid the mammoth movieplex at Westminster Promenade, Higgy's Ice Cream Shoppe provides a sweet way to cool down after scorching summer blockbusters. The locally produced ice creams mingle with other delectable dairy-mades, letting guests express their confectionary style by wrapping treats in fruit, candy, nuts, or fashion-magazine cutouts. Single-serve ice cream comes in 5-ounce ($3), 8-ounce ($4), and 12-ounce ($5) denominations (each mixed-in candy, fruit, or nut costs an additional $0.50), or patrons can tote home on-the-go pints ($7) and quarts ($9). Parents can perk up for marathon cartoon adaptations of The Iliad by ordering an espresso, latte, cappuccino, or other coffee product ($2.50 small, $3.25 large), and tincture it with a hint of flavoring ($.25 per addition). Besides caffeines and vanilla beans, Higgy's Ice Cream Shoppe also hawks sorbet, fro-yo, malts, smoothies, baked goods, and ice-cream cakes.