Humble Pie Specialty Cakes' Liza Iraci is both a fine artist and a pastry chef, which is why her custom cakes and pies resemble edible masterpieces. Liza affixes delicate flowers to the tops of towering cakes, ices themed creations for sporting events, and decorates birthday cakes with the recipient's favorite cartoon character or Everly brother. In addition to these specialty orders, the shop prepares seasonal pies and cupcakes in such flavors as cookies and cream, heath bar, and cream-filled chocolate.
Nestled below a fanciful awning bearing stripes of pink grapefruit and fudge, the bakers at Sweet & Social welcome sugar-craving smiles to explore the treats holding down the dessert sampler. To create a platter of fresh-baked delights, first select four cupcakes from the flavors du jour, with offerings ranging from classic red velvet to more creative concoctions with equally creative names. The Curious George wraps banana custard in a warm blanket of vanilla cake, then throws on a hat of chocolate ganache to hide its bald head smothered with peanut-butter-buttercream re-growth serum. The 14 Karat cupcake offers to accessorize any drab orange jumpsuit, hiding golden carrot in a vanilla-cream-cheese chest among walnut jewels. After juggling a foursome of frosted crumb bundles, rest your hands atop two soft chocolate brownies and refuel with two black-and-white cookies.
Each day, LaSalle Bakery conjures a massive menu of edibles from fresh dough, sugar, and frosting. The warm, sweet aroma of fresh-baked morning treats such as croissants ($1.65), jelly and cream donuts ($.95), and muffins ($.95) will make sleepy noses feel like they're still dreaming, especially when they realize they're not wearing any clothes. LaSalle's apple ($1.75) and blueberry turnovers ($1.95), meanwhile, provide a topsy-turvy breakfast that's far easier to eat than an upside-down bowl of Lucky Charms. Day-brightening smiley face cookies and black-and-whites ($1.50) will meet your longing gaze from fully stocked display cases. Buy your coworkers' friendship or silence with a bag of premium butter cookies ($10.50 per pound) or Italian biscotti ($8.50 per pound). Loaves of take-home breads, including Italian ($2.25) and rye ($3.50), meanwhile, provide a well-crusted base for any sandwich or bread fort. LaSalle can also pack your lunch for you with a 7" personal pizza on either white or whole-wheat focaccia bread ($3.95–$4.50).
There's literally no sweeter war won than cupcake war. Just ask Ruthie and Ron Bzdewka, who in 2008 founded House of Cupcakes in Princeton, New Jersey after taking home top honors from the second season of Food Network's Cupcake Wars. The owners' cupcakes are even more in demand than they were before their victory on the show, which is why they now fling them at celebrities during special events including the MTV Music Awards. The secret to Ruthie and Ron's success: their grandma's cupcake recipe, which is the basis for increasing selection of more than 45 unique flavors, such as the award-winning Espresso Brownie, Salted Caramel, and Coconut Vanilla Snowball.
Not limiting their expertise to cupcake orders, baked goods-lovers can delight their palette with the tastes of other creations, including push-pops, cake-pops, cookies, mini-cupcakes, gourmet banana pudding, and brownies. Gourmet handmade ice cream sandwiches are also available, and are made from scratch with a choice from 15 different cookies, brownies, and 30+ ice cream flavors. Their large selection can be produced into custom orders for any event, such as color-coordinated cupcakes for weddings, logo-emblazoned pull-apart cakes for corporate outings, and tailored treats for baby showers or birthdays.
With every cake and cookie that Jolei Desserts founder Jorge Tua makes, his ultimate goal is to match the culinary prowess of his former babysitter and baking guru, Nina. Eschewing classical training for life experience, Jorge built his bakery from the ground up and opened his hard-won labor of love in November 2011. Since that fall day, Jorge can be found bustling about his kitchen happily popping his dulcet confections into and out of ovens or cheerfully deploying his gift of gab upon customers in the front of the shop. Championing the cause of decadent eats made from scratch, Jorge vehemently shuns artificial flavors and preservatives for wholesome ingredients forged by nature rather than man or margarine-making elf. Along with his dedication to old-timey baking practices, Jorge, terrified of becoming known as the “boring neighborhood baker”, challenges himself to switch up his roster of baked goods daily to exercise his culinary creativity while supplying his regular crew of sweet-toothed patrons with sugary surprises each morning.
Much like its name, Sugar & Spice combines two temptingly complementary culinary ventures: a gourmet restaurant focused on modern American takes on seafood and beef, and a full onsite bakeshop. Chefs rise early, preparing brunch dishes such as peppercorn-crusted tuna and shaved-black-truffle omelets. At dinner, they plate arrangements of new york strip steak, daily fish catches, and five-cheese mac 'n' cheese, and grind and blend their burgers in house to ensure none contain rare vintage baseball cards. Inside the bakery, cake-makers and designers build 50 flavors of cupcakes and more than 50 cake combinations, as well as custom wedding cakes, fruit and chocolate pies, and decadent cookies. Sugar & Spice also provides catering services and have supplied meals for special events such as backyard barbecues, film shoots, and other large gatherings.