Row upon row of baked, fried, and shredded dough line the glass case at Baklava Factory, tantalizing customers with a bounty of honey, walnuts, and custard cream. The factory’s pastry experts concoct more than a dozen kinds of baklava each day alongside other European and Mediterranean sweets, such as fried balls of dough dipped in honey. Customers can sip espresso or cappuccino as they peruse these confections and the bakery’s array of elaborate gift boxes and baskets filled with Belgian chocolates, cookies, and, of course, baklava. Baklava Factory also does corporate gifting and enlivens events with custom cakes embellished with edible butterflies, cartoon characters, and rhinestones capable of fooling amateur jewel thieves.
Bakers at Beard Papa Sweet Cafe fill flaky Japanese double-layer cream puff shells with rich, preservative-free custard in a variety of flavors. Choose an original vanilla cream puff ($2.19), stuffed with velvety custard flavored with imported vanilla beans as sweet as the smile of a baby robot, or stock up on regular pastry spheres by the half-dozen or dozen ($11.55–$21.59). Customers can opt to add a specialty flavor ($2.55 each) to custardy cores, such as green tea made with premium Japanese tea or chocolate crafted from a blend of two high-quality European brands. Patrons may gather specialty puffs in groups of six ($13.55) or 12 ($25.50) to share with friends or presiding judges. Or peruse additional decadent sweets, including a personal-portioned cheesecake stick or fondant au chocolate, a single-serving cake made with Belgian chocolate and filled with an equally cocoarific center.
The gifted tart architects at Früute incorporate myriad fresh and organic ingredients inside handcrafted modern incarnations of the classic French treat. During the 60-minute tart experience, paired patrons can whet their whistles with coffee or tea and admire the harmonious construction and aria-inspiring tastes of a flight of signature tarts. Each flight includes an arrangement of six of Früute's 16 miniature varieties—which range from the classic passion fruit, a vanilla crust donning a tropical macaroon hat, to the curiously flavored wasabi, spicy Japanese horseradish housed in a pistachio crust and topped with a tempura mint leaf. As guests sample the wares, knowledgeable tartists will thoroughly explain each square-shaped selection's ingredients, core flavors, and unsuitability for use as earrings. Guests can conclude their experience by relaxing in Früute's sleek, minimalistic interior and heading off with a quartet of to-go tarts, tucked into a stylish box made from recycled paper.
For 36 years, Cake and Art's kitchen has yielded batch after batch of imaginative desserts, including birthday cakes for celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, Jay Leno, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and Justin Bieber. Behind the scenes at the acclaimed shop—whose work has graced the cover of Life magazine—the skilled staff churns out a surfeit of cupcakes, cookies and brownies, and chocolate bars with creatively customized labels. Their specialty cakes boast foundations of vanilla, chocolate, carrot, red velvet, or lemon, and they often personalize the ubiquitous party treats with customer's photographs and themed designs. The shop's cupcake artist, Kody Christiansen, hosts cupcake-decorating classes and private parties that teach attendees a tier of skills, such as how to create a buttercream flower and how to profit from buttercream botanic gardens.