Cooks typically rely on tried-and-true recipes when they bake cakes. In the kitchen of Sweet Ruminations, a dessert boutique rather than a traditional full-service bakery, baker Amanda Boutcher combines diverse influences: she may craft a tart inspired by the scent of a grandmother’s kitchen, or a pie that celebrates the tender memory of being pied in the face by a stranger. She works with customers to design desserts that suit their own tastes and spring from their own memories. Then, using fruit from local orchards and milk from local, grass-fed cows, she brings the treats to life in gluten and gluten-free varieties.
Patrons can also stop by Sweet Ruminations to sample ready-made sweets: macaroons, cream puffs, and cupcakes are just a few options. Distance is no object to Boutcher, who travels to locations such as the English East Midlands countryside to cater events.
At Town Crier Bakery, the sheer range of sweets available is as dazzling as the decorators' intricate designs in buttercream and fondant. The bakery's signature pound cake alone comes dosed with everything from lemon curd and raspberry preserves to fresh pumpkin and spices. Meanwhile, the fryer turns out fresh donuts and bakers overload cupcakes with toppings such as bacon and peanuts in between fixing batches of hot cross buns, gingerbread, and cinnamon rolls. Everything's made from scratch, meaning that many recipes can be adapted to suit vegans, the gluten-intolerant, and water nymphs whose touch makes sugar disintegrate. Towering couture wedding cakes are another specialty, but a coffee bar also beckons casual snackers to stop in.
Behind Horsham Donuts' red-brick facade, bakers line shelves with circular fried pastries covered in everything from colorful sprinkles to slices of bacon. Crisp apple fritters appear alongside an Italian espresso maker that bubbles and churns as it brews cappuccinos and macchiatos. The staff also serves iced coffee to help fend off the summer heat or autumn firestorms.