Since 1848, Applegate Farm has existed under many guises, but its purpose has always remained the same: to provide fresh dairy products for local families. Originally home to the Sitger family and their golden guernsey milk, the farm has changed hands several times since the late 1800s and survived through the Civil War, both World Wars, and all six Star Wars. It experimented with its first ice-cream cone in the late 1920s under the guidance of owner Julian Tinkham, who also had the good foresight to preserve the farm's historic structures so that future generations could visit the 19th-century farmhouse that once helped slaves to freedom or count the number of tiles in an authentic 1919 tile silo?one of only three built in the state.
Since then, the farm has expanded and operates under the current leadership of the Street family, who hold themselves to the same dedication to quality that has sustained the dairy for more than 167 years. The range of ice-cream flavors changes seasonally but usually includes at least 63 distinctive varieties ranging from orange pineapple and toasted almond to vanilla peanut butter and Graham Central Station?which won top prize at the New Jersey State Ice Cream Festival. No-sugar-added and dairy-free treats, like apple cider donuts, can also be found in scoopable form, along with ice-cream cakes, ice-cream pies, and ice-cream sandwiches.
Guided by more than 35 years of experience pampering sweet teeth, Ezzat Tadros leads a team of confectioners as they pop brownies, strudels, and cookies into the oven and pipe colorful curlicues of frosting onto cakes.
Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Elmo cupcakes delight tykes with friendly faces, and bouquets of steam blossom from individual cheesecakes, carrot cakes, peach cobblers, and raspberry squares. The aroma of freshly baked bread swirls above croissants, the warm loaves serving as ideal fodder at parties or at least an excuse for arriving covered in flour. In the bustling kitchen, the bakers also create custom cakes for all occasions, sculpting batter and fondant into the shape of guitars, football helmets, and even slot machines.
A curved-glass case is the only thing that separates salivating customers from Brothers display of french and italian pastries, which include whipped-cream pies, cookies, danishes, and two sizes of cannolis. The store's fresh baked loafs of garlic, brioche, and rye bread, however, perch proudly on open racks, ready to encase sandwich meats, warm butter, or mouthwatering restaurant reviews. The intermingling smells of sweet and savory treats culled from natural, preservative-free ingredients represent a 35-year-old tradition at Brothers Quality Bakery. Custom sculpture cakes are the cherry on top of the baked goods sundae, and the Brothers Quality staff pile layers of fondant and icing upon their red velvet and chocolate masterpieces to create designs such ladybugs for birthday parties, corsets for bachelorette parties, and snowmen for holiday events.
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.
Don't try to order a cherry cheesecake in December from Marc's CheeseCake. The shop uses only fresh Bing cherries in its recipe, so it's by necessity a seasonal treat. The same goes for a variety of other fruit options, but fortunately, the menu of more than 30 flavors ensures that there's always a dizzying array of choices.
The shop is as choosy about its other ingredients as it is about the fruits. The dairy comes from New Jersey. The cream cheese is?naturally?from Philadelphia, and the chocolate gets imported from Belgium. The resulting cakes are rich, creamy, and full-bodied but a little less dense than traditional New York cheesecake, making them better chess opponents. They're sold fresh and whole, but if your sweet tooth won't let you wait to get home, you're in luck. In the spring of 2014, Marc's started making its own ice cream for guests to enjoy at a couple indoor tables or out on the sidewalk patio. Flavors have grown to include such varieties as Burnt Brown Sugar, Honey Rosemary, and Pretzel Logic to go along with the more traditional vanilla, chocolate, and Cookies and Cream.