When the bakers at Cake Bakeshop decide what creation to craft each day, they usually use one important criterion: are the ingredients for this recipe in season? If the answer is yes, then they add it to their roster of small-batch bakery items for that day. This means that their ovens can be cooking anything from fruit tarts in the summer months to pumpkin-spice blondies in the fall. During the cool winter months, they rely upon the interplay of nonfruit flavors such as their ginger-molasses cookies and brown-butter rice-krispies treats. No matter what the season, however, they create traditional three-tier cakes?including german chocolate and the slightly sweet-and-sour margarita?topped with edible decorations and swirls of buttercream for customer celebrations.
Six months prior to Nothing Bundt Cakes' grand opening in 1997, best friends Dena Tripp and Debra Shwetz toiled away in the kitchen in order to perfect a bundt-cake recipe that would lavish palates with flavors reminiscent of homestyle treats of days past. Within today's bustling bakery, cake crafters mingle high-quality ingredients, such as fresh eggs, real butter, and cream cheese sourced from spelling-bee-champion cows, to whip up such flavors as chocolate chip, pecan praline, and white-chocolate raspberry. Sweet scents waft from the shop’s ovens as customers select their frosting-flecked dessert from sizes ranging from towering tier cakes to individual Bundtlets, a size ideal for the solo snacker.
A shared love of beach volleyball led the two owners of Marine Street Cafe to move to Manhattan Beach, famed for its surfers and beach-volleyball players. The area’s history has continued to inspire the ownership duo—they have named some of their sandwiches after athletes who regularly visit the café. In their sandwiches—and the rest of the items on the menu—the team uses natural and organic ingredients to craft a wide range of dishes that draw from international cuisines. Many of the sandwiches feature a housemade aioli; that includes the Cooker, a banh mi sandwich that features grilled free-range chicken, pickled carrots, and sriracha. For breakfast, a housemade vanilla whipped cream tops dishes such as the belgian waffle and ricotta pancakes.
Cupcakes Couture's squad of chefs, led by owner Jenine Cravatt, plucks fresh, high-end ingredients from local sources to prepare eye- and tongue-astounding cupcakes every morning. Topping the menu are gargantuan Couture Cupcakes such as the succulent Sunday Mimosa, a champagne cupcake lovingly injected with orange-curd filling and accented with citrus frosting, orange caviar, and the soaring anthem of a local marching band with oranges stuck in their horns. Less intimidating yet still stimulating are the 19 designer cupcakes. Little Miss Shortcake ($4) caps its strawberry cake and homemade strawberry preserves with vanilla-bean frosting and a pink French macaroon beret. Caffeine hounds sniff out the Jeweled Java (espresso-infused frosting resting on a moist hillock of flavorful chocolate mocha cake, $4) and hunt it down until it climbs a 12-ounce cup of Lavazza coffee ($1.50). Cupcakes Couture also offers bikini cupcakes, which have less than 100 calories.
Skinny Minny’s invites customers to control their own dessert destiny with self-service stations to fill cups with non-fat, low-fat, no sugar added, and sorbet swirls sprinkled with as many toppings as they see fit. A full hour of unlimited yogurt throws the doors wide for an onslaught of creations that combine pistachio and chocolate under a blanket of toffee or cheesecake mountains studded with a forest of blueberries, kiwi, and strawberries. Cap’n Crunch can scale to the frosty apex of premium low-fat peanut butter fro-yo or slide down the fudge-drenched slopes of non-fat Georgia peach yogurt. Yogurt’s natural colonies of beneficial active cultures make it a healthy alternative to soft-serve ice cream, and, much like colonies on Roanoke Island, mysteriously disappear after exposure to the elements.