While cake isn't always a health food, it can be under the guidance of the bakers at Caked Up. They gather their ingredients from local sources to ensure a dessert's freshness as they create classic indulgences such as cakes, cupcakes, and bite-size lolli cakes. But their fresh ingredients are only half the equation. When something a little healthier is desired, they can swap out traditional flour for gluten-free grain or remove all traces of eggs, milk, and butter from the batter to cook up completely vegan desserts.
No matter what ingredients they use, the bakers always ensure that desserts bear beautiful designs. They can make easy swirls and flowers in frosting, or create custom designs that utilize fondant, cake shaping, and piped frosting. This allows every dessert, no matter if it's a tray of cupcakes or a tiered cake, to be the perfect centerpiece for a party or slapstick open-mic night.
The word bagel serves as an umbrella term, describing a whole host of flavored doughs, just so long as they have a hole in the middle. The bakers at The Bagelry take full advantage of that potential for variety, pairing more than 25 flavors of bagel with 11 styles of cream cheese. They also top their circular creations with breakfast goodies such as eggs, bacon, and shredded Sunday crossword puzzles. For lunch, they turn to a wider variety of grains to make sandwiches such as the meat-free Yenta with cucumbers and muenster cheese and the Zadey with corned beef and pastrami in thousand island dressing.
CakeLove's baking staff, led by owner and Food Network's Sugar Rush host Warren Brown, specializes in cupcakes and cakes, baking batches from scratch daily with fresh, natural butter, sugar, eggs, and more. Each location's rotating selection of vanilla, chocolate, red-velvet, banana, carrot, and pumpkin cake bases is smothered with a variety of flavored buttercreams. Chocoholics can silence grumbling sweet tooths with creative concoctions like Cynthia's sin (chocolate cake dipped in chocolate ganache, topped with peanut butter buttercream, drizzled with chocolate and caramel, and sprinkled with candied peanuts), while those longing for a tropical getaway can abduct their tongue to a farflung locale with the lime on the coconut (shredded coconut and lime zest on a vanilla cupcake with lime buttercream). Cupcakes are $3.25 each, $19.50 for a half dozen, and $39 for a baker's dozen. Other sweet forms of gourmet baked goods ($2–$5), as well as the bakery's six-inch to 12-inch layer cakes ($25–$130), can sugary-up birthdays or candy-coat a van full of Shriner cars.
Patrons at Sweet Frog White Oak can get exactly the dessert they want. The froyo spot holds an array of self-serve flavors and a fully stocked toppings bar where customers can pile on mini chocolate chips, nuts, or granola. The rotating selection of low-fat and nonfat flavors may include original tart, cake batter, and New York cheesecake.
Though they sound like names for Paul Bunyan's fists, redwood and burlap are two of the key components for crafting bagels at Ize's Deli & Bagelry. When Angie and Lee Greenberg move their bagels from a broiling kettle to a stone oven, the two materials work to form a pleasantly crispy bagel exterior. Angie and Lee also prepare handmade spreads and cream cheeses to schmear their doughy creations in flavors like strawberry and scallion. This process is a family endeavor—Angie's parents assist in the kitchen to ensure that all bagels are prepared in small, fresh batches.
Guests seated in the cozy dining area reap the benefits of the Greenbergs' lunch and breakfast labors. In addition to their New York–style bagels, the owners serve up omelets, knishes, soups, and deli sandwiches stacked with savory meats. On some of the sandwiches, they swap bread for the venue's namesake: the Empire, for example, features layers of hot roast beef, cheddar, and horseradish mayonnaise on an onion bagel.
Though the staff delights in passing out meals to their countertop customers, they also arrange artful platters for catered events. The gourmet smoked-fish platter nestles lox, whitefish, and tuna salad amid lettuce and imported cheeses, and party servings of bagels and subs accommodate feasting groups.