Though she focused her early life on becoming a classically trained musician, Leiticia Rice also dabbled in airbrushing and painting at a young age. It wasn't until a birthday party in 2012, however, that she thought to channel her talent for visual art into cakes. As she faced rapidly increasing demands for her unorthodox pastries, she founded Ritzy Cakes—where today, she and her staff make cookies and cake-based treats with a focus on bold colors, quirky imagery, and accurate maps of long-lost treasures.
Leiticia tops cookies with marshmallow fondant and fondant characters, and forms red-velvet, chocolate-fudge, french-vanilla, and yellow cake pops into a range of shapes and sizes. Her most popular baked goods are her cakes, in which she blends her own imagination with the ancient symbols of the Antoinettes, a French cake-worship cult. Using 14 cake flavors—such as chocolate fudge, cream cheese, and peanut-butter fudge—she crafts multilayer confections in shapes such as silver shoes, gilded skulls, masquerade masks, and flower-covered gardens.
Starting with only a single ice shaver and a hand-built hut, Bahama Buck's has expanded its icy empire to include a menu loaded with arctic indulgences and more than 91 gourmet flavors of Sno. Dessertsmiths drizzle complex flavors such as tangy kiwi, sweet sugar cookie, and emotionally ambivalent tutti frutti over fluffy mounds of pulverized ice to create Sno cones ($2.69+). Fruit juices and syrups spawn creamy smoothies ($3.99+), and frozen limeade ($2.79) puckers drinkers' lips, making them as taut as the bed sheets in a black hole's hotel.
With her team of ace pastry chefs at her side, Melody Larsen enlivens events with her pastries and a massive catering menu of hors d'oeuvres, sandwiches, and fondues. Her carefully crafted cakes incorporate a wide array of flavors and fillings creating many options for picky taste buds and an extra layer of indecision for those who want it all. Many of these cake flavors also find their way into batches of cupcakes, which Melody stuffs with fillings and tops with buttercream or whipped frosting. When her crew isn't busy readying eats and pastries for events, they serve clientele with sit-down breakfast and lunch service at the café, where diners can feast on quiches and cinnamon rolls in the morning and cold and hot sandwiches in the afternoon.
From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon frosty foundations of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft serve, which swirl idyllically into cones, cups, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal surprise fillings of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Fruit rules the roost on the other side of the slushy emporium, where Orange Julius blends its signature frothy drinks crafted from fruit juice, ice, and a "magic” powdered sweetener that explains why they disappear from most customers’ cups minutes after the first delicious sip. Real fruit purée forms the basis for the shop's smoothies, which also come in diet-friendly light versions that boast one-third fewer calories than regular smoothies.