Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop’s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M’s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
The decor of the Kupcakes Etc., with its alternating lines of dark and light lime green, brings to mind the crinkled ridges and grooves of a cupcake wrapper, perhaps putting visitors in the mood to select from the menu's 20 cake and frosting flavors. Strawberry-shortcake, lemon-meringue, and red velvet cupcakes can be consumed in one of four sizes, ranging from bite-size minis to gigantic cakes that feed up to 10 people. Cakes can be decorated with chocolate candies and multicolored sprinkles, which sends out a festive vibe—much like hitting a piñata with a folded Ouija board does.
Scott Hunter never spent a lot of time in the kitchen. However, according to a 2012 article in the Times-Picayune, things changed when his sister came home one day with $90 worth of cupcakes and he decided that there might be something to the cupcake business. So, he teamed up with baker Melissa Lacaze to develop a menu of 17 rotating flavors, including Mama's sweet potato with cream-cheese frosting and Bananas Baby. In addition to made-from-scratch cupcakes, Sweets & Eats also bakes full-size cakes draped in fondant or buttercream frosting for birthdays, weddings, and successfully returning a TV to the store after dropping it down a set of stairs.
Despite Batini Brown’s belief that “taste trumps design,” the chef, owner, and pastry designer at SweetCakes & Candy Emporium turns her delectable treats into miniature works of art, crafting everything from butterflies to shark fins out of sugar and chocolate. As a baking class once changed Ms. Brown’s life by showing her a new career path, she pays it forward by offering both group and private workshops that cover baking, decorating, and the most poised way to extract one’s face from a cake at a party.
Orders from around the world inundate chefs at Frances' Bakery, who bake their fresh goods daily from recipes that have delighted taste buds and kept lonely recipe cards company for almost a century. The shop's rich custom espresso drinks pair with freshly filled cannolis, dainty chocolate éclairs, and sugar-free desserts. Thick Sicilian-style focaccia bread, topped with a blend of spinach, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes, adds a unique spin to the pizza concept, and traditional New Orleans muffuletta piles layers of baked ham, salami, cheese and olives upon a hefty round of italian bread.
When you’ve got five kids at home, making birthday cakes becomes part of your regular routine. But it wasn’t before too many birthdays had passed that Cherie Berget’s cakes started gaining the attention of her friends and family, and soon enough, Nola Belles was in business creating custom decorated cakes. Now serving the area for more than eight years, Berget has tackled everything from elegantly tiered cakes for weddings to colorful fondant-topped desserts for a child’s birthday. Underneath the layers of customized decorations lies a base of fluffy cake in a range of flavors. While clients love the fresh flavor of her cream de mint cake or her creamy coconut sponge cake filled with coconut pastry cream, her signature dessert is a white almond cake filled with fresh strawberries and topped with layers of vanilla buttercream and chocolate-dipped strawberries. She can pare down the sizes of her cakes to create dozens of cupcakes, or create cakes using cookies for a fun alternative celebration centerpiece.