At Elegant Cheese Cakes, pastry chef Susan Morgan builds gourmet desserts from scratch, laying cheesy foundations before coating them with vibrant chocolate frosting. Celebrate holidays or successful grocery-store runs with the classically decorated gift cheesecake, a box-shaped confection that conceals its mouthwatering contents under chocolate wrapping paper and a frosting bow (a $120 value). Despite its humble 6"x6" frame, this thick cheesecake can conquer the appetites of 10–12 guests. Elegant Cheese Cakes ships all of its confectionary creations overnight ($35+), ensuring cakes arrive in time for last-minute celebrations or unusually filling breakfasts.
It all began in 1928 with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, two old-fashioned oatmeal cookies, and a quick dip in dark chocolate. With these three simple ingredients, George Whitney created the first chocolate-covered IT'S-IT ice-cream sandwich. For the next several decades, he sold these treats exclusively to Playland at the Beach's passersby and seagull gourmands until the amusement park closed in the early 1970s.
This setback didn't deter Whitney, though. Instead, it inspired him to open a tiny shop and continue making ice-cream sandwiches by hand for the San Francisco area's small local stores. More and more stores began clamoring for the treats, so the company started to expand until IT'S-IT Ice Cream made its way into freezers across more than 15 states. "If you?re not from the Bay Area you might be tempted to call the IT'S-IT just another ice cream sandwich," wrote one Google employee according to The Wall Street Journal, "But you?d be oh, so wrong."
The traditional IT'S-IT sandwich with vanilla ice cream continues to be a staple, although chocolate, mint, pumpkin, strawberry, and cappuccino flavors can also be found. The company has expanded its selection to include a handful of other treats. Scoops of ice cream lie sandwiched between oversized chocolate-chip cookies, as well as dark-chocolate wafers. IT'S-IT's version of a sundae on a stick, meanwhile, features ice cream dipped in dark chocolate and then rolled in roasted peanuts.
Founders Dena Tripp and Debra Shwetz started Nothing Bundt Cakes in Las Vegas with the simple aim of making cakes for their families and friends. But thanks to their handcrafted recipes, pure ingredients, and innovative decorating ideas, their business soon grew from a small home kitchen to a franchise, with locations in 13 states.
The custom-designed cakes—made with fresh eggs, real butter, and cream cheese—arrive in flavors ranging from white chocolate raspberry to lemon and chocolate chocolate chip. Thick, frosted petals atop each cake showcase the signature velvety cream cheese–frosting, which must be eaten swiftly before it glides away on a summer breeze.
In the days before baguettes were popularized as day-old jousting batons, the dignified breadform was utilized as a sandwich vessel. To preserve the antiquity of the baguette, the friendly bakers at Cocola fetch them straight from the oven on a daily basis and build graspable sandwiches of the highest quality, such as the albacore tuna nicoise (with a lemon vinaigrette, $9.90) and the hearty grilled eggplant (with fresh veggies, mozzarella, and an olive oil and balsamic blend, $9.90). A sandwich is an intelligent way to get the hunger ball rolling down the hill until it crashes into an array of sweet menu treats. Indulge in tri-colored mousse cups ($4.60) and whipped and stacked hazelnut cakes ($4.60), or nourish your petite palate with pear tarts ($2.80) or bite-sized tiramisu ($3.10).
Making a good sandwich, like removing a child’s head from between stair balusters, requires delicate handling and a lot of mayonnaise. Marvel at skilled condiment usage with today's Groupon: for $7, you get $14 worth of sandwiches and bagels at Izzi's To-Go East-Coast Bagels & Smokehouse in Redwood City.
If the thought of freshly baked goods pulled right out of the oven isn't quite enough to lure you into Mazzetti's Bakery, perhaps the fact that they are created using zero preservatives and ultra-fresh ingredients will get you there. Mazzetti's confectioners whip up a panoply of baked goodies?including French and Danish pastries, bread, cookies, and pies?every day, and as a result, the business has been thriving for more than 38 years. For special occasions, they build whimsical custom cakes and cupcakes topped with creamy swirls of frosting and colorful sprinkles.