The bakers of this modern cake shop—named 1 of Martha Stewart's 10 favorite cupcake bakeries—decorate elaborate cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops with bright icing. In their open-air kitchen, they weave together quality ingredients, such as Callebaut chocolates, Valrhona cocoa, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, and sugar imported from Gum Drop Mountain. They schedule a set number of flavors for each day, juxtaposing classic flavors with eclectic concoctions, such as french toast, peach cobbler, and Martha Stewart's favorite, cherry pie.
After baking tasty canvases, bakers decorate the cakes with swirls of delicious buttercream or cream-cheese frosting. They can also transform pastry and frosting into custom designs, such as a turntable, piles of books, or a Barbie doll to celebrate a special occasion or conceal sweets from greedy party guests. The rich, smooth icing is so photogenic that no wedding cake ever needs to wear fondant cover-up.
Western Bagel has captured local tongues and breadbaskets since first exporting its circular treats to the bagel-barren West Coast 63 years ago. The freshly baked dough-discs cover a wide range of flavors and styles. Recruit a seasoned trio of sesame, poppy seed, and everything varieties from the stable of original recipes and erect a fort by spackling them with rich cream cheese. Meanwhile, each of the six alternative selections, all nearly fat-free and 110 calories, pack a flavorful punch without fostering paunch.
Some first dates are so magical they’ll change your life, and this was the case for Danna and Adam Caldwell. The lovebirds had their first date at a frozen-yogurt shop where they discovered a mutual passion for frozen yogurt (and each other). In 2007, the now husband-and-wife duo created Menchie’s along with a colorful cast of mascots that includes Menchie the frozen-yogurt swirl, P.B. the peanut-butter cup, and Mellow the marshmallow.
Today, the frozen-yogurt franchise has grown to more than 200 locations around the world. Each one offers an assortment of self-serve yogurt flavors and toppings, which customers can mix into a yogurt cup or waffle bowl. The yogurt is made from California dairy cows raised without artificial growth hormones or video games; many flavors are nonfat, no sugar added, even vegan.
Eating frozen yogurt on a sunny day is one of life’s simple pleasures, and at Planet Yogurt, patrons can indulge outside even during the winter because the shop provides fleece blankets for snuggling on the patio. This thoughtfulness extends to the frozen yogurt itself, as the shop aims to accommodate a range of dietary restrictions with kosher-certified yogurt as well as gluten-free, nondairy, and nonfat options. Visitors can enhance Dannon yogurt flavors—such as orchard cherry, white-chocolate macadamia, and red velvet cake—with more than 60 toppings, skillfully assembling their desserts while watching the shop’s five high-definition TVs or studying the backs of their eyelids.
Nicknamed Kokolita at a young age after the popular round, pink cookie, Martha Aguilera combines her talent for baking and love of nostalgia at her bakery of the same name. Recipes bear the names of ’50s and ’60s icons, such as the Holly Golightly cupcake, with pink-champagne cake and fresh strawberry filling inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s character, and the Bob Hope–inspired Ski Nose cupcake, with fresh lemon-curd filling and wisecracking seared-merengue frosting. Martha also draws on her own Chilean background with savory fare such as empanadas, churrasco sandwiches, and traditional brazo de reina cakes. During regular cake- and cupcake-decorating classes for kids, she passes on her skills to younger generations during leisurely paced 45-minute sessions in which kids top cupcakes with colorful frostings, candies, and their best guesses of what Marlon Brando looks like.Kokolita Cakes & More also gives back to local nonprofit organizations with fundraisers and donates to larger causes including cancer research and animal welfare, always taking suggestions for charitable projects from customers and the community.
Just like the real Paradise, filled with edible angels and knowledge of good and evil trees, Paradis's flavors change with the seasons and the mood of its cows. No day is ever the same, but it will always have inventive flavors for even the most discerning: 2009 saw the introduction of silky ice cream concoctions such as strawberry buttermilk and peanut crunch chocolate chip as well as effusive sorbets such as mint lime and orange chili. One scoop goes for $3.50, milkshakes with two flavors go for $5, and ice cream by the pint ($10) and quart ($20) for parties and Arctic picnics.