Of all of New York’s exports, perhaps one of the most ubiquitous is the New York–style bagel. In the early 20th century, a Polish immigrant named Isador Goldberg came to New York and brought his own recipe for this classic baked good with him, and it’s in his honor that the owners of Goldberg’s New York Bagels decided to name their shop. The Zagat-rated bakers still use Goldberg’s original recipe, assembling ingredients from scratch, boiling the halos of dough, and finally baking them to give each bagel the perfect crunch that pairs well with a schmear of cream cheese or a layer of lox. Though the bagels come in a range of sweet and savory flavors, all of them are kosher-certified and easily pair with other breakfast items such as omelets, four flavors of blintzes, and waffles. The shop opens at 7 a.m. to serve both breakfast and lunch all day, allowing clients to stock up on staples such as sandwiches, frozen yogurt, or salad-bar selections all day long.
When ESPN asked chef Mario Batali in 2013 what he was planning to eat during the biggest pro-football game of the year, his Baltimore-related dessert answer was simple: Charm City Cupcakes. With 65 flavors, a choice of mini and regular cupcake sizes, and four area locations, it's easy to see what may have inspired Batali's answer. The bakery’s pastry chefs slather just-whisked buttercream atop classic vanilla, chocolate, and red-velvet cake bases, and they also go more exotic with Grand Marnier or peaches 'n' cream cupcakes. Animals and TV characters often top kids' creations, requiring chefs to call upon the same decorating techniques they reveal to students during their specialty classes. At lessons, cupcake-artisans-in-training learn piping techniques, how to make frosting, and how to make iced flowers without the hassle of fertilizing regular flowers with milk and butter.
Not everyone goes on to make a career out of what they loved to do when they were a child. But for Carrie Shelley, baking in her grandmother’s kitchen at the age of 4 unleashed a passion she enthusiastically turned into a business. At Enchanted Cakes and Treats, Carrie revels in inventing unique concoctions, shaping cakes into frogs, wedding dresses, and footballs in flavors such as red velvet, coconut, amaretto, and chocolate. She also whips up a colorful variety of desserts, creating rice-krispies treats, cheesecakes, cupcakes, and pies from scratch. Her attention to detail and skills at customization make her a sought-after wedding-cake designer, a role that sees her incorporating fresh flowers, ribbons, and the best man’s cummerbund into her designs.
The skilled bakers at KoDee Cakes specialize in one-of-a-kind cakes and cupcakes, which they make by hand using fresh ingredients. Bakers make exact replicas of your parents' wedding cake for an anniversary, or cartoon characters made from fondant and flour for when Huckleberry Hound is elected president. The bakers are also happy to accommodate diet requests, including vegan, gluten-free, and fresh fruit options.
But it doesn't stop there at just cakes: they also craft cookies, pies, cobblers, and cupcakes in flavors such as snickerdoodle, almond raspberry, banana foster, death by chocolate, butterscotch, and salted caramel. There's even savory fare available, such as bread fresh from the oven, sandwiches, and specially made dinners such as shrimp and grits.
At Fresh Bakery, it's hip to be square: the trendsetting confectionists eschew antiquated circles for quadrilateral cakes and cupcakes abounding in all-natural ingredients. Nine types of large cakes, including amaretto raspberry and coconut variations, preside over their pintsized brethren, who, beneath carefully arranged decorations, bear creative flavors such as bubblegum and chocolate mocha.:m]]
Oooh So Sweet Cakery and Cupcakery helps patrons celebrate special occasions and spoil their dinners with a smorgasbord of handmade cake pops, cupcakes, multi-layered cakes, and towering wedding creations. As the shop's flagship menu item, cupcakes are whipped up in more than 30 different flavors—from classics such as vanilla and strawberry to inventive creations such as maple bacon or chocolate salted caramel. The store itself resembles a frosting-covered dessert, with candy-pink walls accented with cloud-white moulding, forming the perfect backdrop for glass cases full of freshly made cookies, cupcakes, and confections.
Situated in historic Mt. Vernon, Sweet Bakery Baltimore bakes up daily delights of sweet-tooth satiation, seen in the city’s finest hotels and on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Piping-hot sweet-treat selections include the perennial favorite morning buns—croissant dough rolled in cinnamon and sugar and baked in a muffin cup, similar to the process of primping beauty-pageant contestants ($2.75). Nearly 20 varieties of pie assemble for duty in a spectrum of fruit flavors, including apple crumb ($17.95), pumpkin ($17.95), strawberry rhubarb ($20.95), and blackberry peach ($20.95). Or sample the selection of croissants, served traditionally ($2), glazed in chocolate ($2.25), or pinned together with toothpicks to resemble the Arc de Triomphe. Meanwhile, simple and dressy cupcakes ($2–$2.50) jostle for shelf space beside classic sugar-purveyors such as cookies ($0.60 each, or two for $1), muffins ($2.75), and danishes ($2).