The pastry chefs at Gone Cupcaking Across America share a wealth of gourmet cupcake experience with aspiring dessert artisans, in flavors that include whisked buttercream atop classic vanilla, chocolate, and red-velvet cake bases, and more exotic choices such as Grand Marnier or peaches 'n' cream. At lessons, students learn piping techniques, how to make frosting, and how to make iced flowers without the hassle of fertilizing regular flowers with milk and butter.
Mrs. Fields' sugary delectables have lifted the spirits of mall shoppers and fortified dessert-deprived food courts for more than 30 years. Icing artists wield a full spectrum of frosting hues to customize a 16" or half-sheet cookie cake with borders, artwork, or a personalized birthday message that makes up for last year's barely edible diamond ring. The 16-inch disk serves 13–16 people and the half sheet serves 20–25, making them both viable substitutes for traditional group-dessert options such as regular cake or regular cake with sprinkles. Choose from flavors such as the signature semisweet chocolate chip, sugar butter, or white chunk macadamia.
Pop Corns' popologists use large wooden paddles to stir fresh, air-popped kernels with sweet and savory ingredients. Maize is harvested before being detonated into caramel, cheese, and kettle corn and stuffed into bags ($3.08+ for small) or golden one-gallon tins ($18.95). Chocolate-caramel popcorn comes gilded with molten caramel and ensconced in a chocolate shell for a treat as sweet as a love poem from a gummi bear. At the Fort Lauderdale location, a sundae bar encourages dairy bedazzling with homemade Yo Mama's ice cream and an array of toppings. Prices vary by location.
Believe it or not, Yamila Izquierdo used to be a dental hygienist?until her sweet tooth led her astray into a world of sugar and sprinkles. With Sugar Buzz Buffet, she and her daughter Yarlane specialize in lavish displays of sugary delights that are as ideal for a wedding reception or child's birthday as they are for an Oompa Loompa's retirement party.
Tall glass jars display rainbows of old-fashioned candies. Tiny pastries and cheesecakes sit on tiny dishes, practically begging to be devoured whole. The staff also have a sure hand with the savory stuff, making dishes such as paella and quiche as adorable as cupcakes. In fact, everything looks as delectable as it tastes: Yamila and Yarlane's endless creativity results in flourishes such as ballerina-gown cupcake toppers, tissue-paper flowers, and yards of shimmering ribbon decorating their magnetically appealing displays.
When chemistry grad Janice Kacheline collided with health-administration guru Megan Linden, the two created a confectionery chain reaction that would one day culminate in the petite gourmet cakes of Wicked Confections. Janice and Megan handcraft each dessert as orders roll in, sculpting batter in a mélange of flavors such as snickerdoodle and peanut-butter cup. Drawing on Megan’s bartending background, the duo also whips up alcohol-infused cakes, ranging from the decadent twisted stout to a Cosmo cake inspired by the show Sex and the City. Drivers with flour-dappled faces rush past toting boxes of confections, which help fuel birthday cheers at parties or busy the mouths of nosy zookeepers on the witness stand.