Prudence Manolov is an artist. But you don't have to stand at a distance when viewing her work. Not even for the pieces that take her up to 20 hours to create.
She wants you to eat them.
Manolov's most-prized works of art are her specialty cakes, whose sculptural, airbrushed designs and unusual flavors have earned her feature spots on Fox-35 News and at events celebrating everything from marriage to a baby's first insulin spike. She initially honed her sugar-sculpting skills at a cake-decorating class at Michaels, where she discovered fondant and an outlet for her artistic talents. Along with elaborate cake creations, which have taken shapes ranging from footballs to seated mermaids, she and her bakery staff create gourmet cupcakes, cream puffs, cannolis, brownies, and other pastries.
Italian Ice Paradise’s staff showcases its specialty for customers by heaping spoonfuls of the shop’s 12 flavors of italian ice. A row of picnic-style tables outside presents al fresco enjoyment of cups of Italian ice or, alternatively, scoops of Hershey's ice cream topped with hot fudge or sprinkles. In all, the haven for dessert serves 17 flavors of that Hershey’s treat, including strawberry and moose tracks—which are what moose trains run on.
When serving as the centerpiece for an exhibit of fine crystal and china, an ornate cake made in the likeness of a table by Cut the Cake's bakers proved to be deceptively realistic. An inadvertently placed box sank into the cake’s edible wood grain and prompted an emergency visit from cake decorator Julie Manning, whose confectionary talents and keen aesthetic eye enabled her to quickly touch up the damaged buttercream before dawn.
Manning applies the same innovative spirit and attention to detail to each memorable wedding cake she creates, earning Cut the Cake five-star awards from Wedding Wire’s Bride’s Choice Awards in 2010, 2011, and 2012. In addition to brides-to-be and ambassadors from Candyland, her clientele has included icons such as James Brown, Lauryn Hill, and B.B. King.
In addition to cake staples such as vanilla and chocolate, Manning also bakes pieces with nontraditional flavors such as piña colada and chocolate mint with crumbled cookies. For an extra dose of sugar, she can accessorize her confections with one of 21 sweet or fruit-packed fillings.
Gwen Willhite founded Cookies by Design in 1983, when an unsatisfying brainstorming session about gift ideas led her to ponder one question: why should flowers and sweets remain separate? Her solution was to design the cookie bouquet, where custom, hand-decorated cookies are displayed on sticks and arranged like flowers in gift baskets. Her invention quickly became a popular gift among locals, particularly those allergic to real blooms or too bashful to look at naked cookies.
Twenty-five years later, there are more than 200 Cookies by Design locations across the country. Each shop's team of bakers creates cookie baskets with a degree of care that matches Willhite's original vision, decorating and arranging sweet shapes for birthdays, holidays, and any other special occasion.
At Sweet! By Good Golly Miss Holly, cupcakivores can feast on deliciously moist and mouth-pleasing cupcakes that are designed with premium ingredients and created fresh every day. Snack on a key-lime cupcake’s tasty yellowness, which is partnered with key-lime frosting, lime filling, and graham-cracker crust. Or, comfort late-night dessert desires by choosing a dozen cupcakes from artisan flavorations such as marble—whose cake parts are paired with chocolate frosting and white-chocolate vermicelli—and black-and-white, a lesson in false cupcake dichotomies that features chocolate cake and white chips topped off with a swirled frosting of uncertainty. Cupcakes come in various sizes, including the mini ($2 each; $6 for four; $18 per dozen), the classic ($2.50 each; $27.50 per dozen), the original ($3/$33), and, for ambitious treat seekers, the giant, which can feed up to 20 people ($55+). Frozen yogurt is also available, with 12 different flavors and 38 toppings from which to choose.