Though LaDawn has loved baking with her mother and grandmother since childhood, Sweets By LaDawn began as an accident. After LaDawn told her coworker that her (nonexistant) recipe for Italian cream cake was better than a local restaurant's, she then quickly cobbled together a cake to bring in. Surprisingly, all of LaDawn's coworkers agreed her cake was in fact better than the restaurant's, and the orders for cakes started coming in. After relocating to Cincinnati from Baton Rouge following Hurricane Katrina, she now creates custom cakes that she sculpts into 3-D shapes, tops with printed images, or frosts to a decorative finish. She starts with a choice of cake batter in flavors such as lemon, red velvet, or spice cake. From there, she can pipe cakes with a swirl of cherry, Oreo, or chocolate bavarian cream fillings. She then frosts the entire thing in a pristine layer of cream cheese, buttercream, chocolate ganache, or molded fondant. Outside of cakes, she also crafts cookies and cupcakes. Plenty of parking is available near Sweets by LaDawn, and customers may sit in the shop's outdoor seating area to enjoy treats from inside.
Aromas of roasting pine nuts, pesto sauces, and baking lasagna fill the air as chefs at Ferrari’s Little Italy and Bakery craft traditional Italian fare according to the owners' family recipes. They sprinkle the signature insalata Ferrari with cranberries, pine nuts, and gorgonzola cheese and top the pollo basilico's roasted chicken with rigatoni, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto cream sauce. Additionally, a pair of bakers slides around 150 loaves of fresh focaccia bread into their ovens each day, yielding slices topped with three colors of bell peppers, spinach, and gorgonzola cheese. These appear in glass bakery cases alongside pastries and artisan gelato from local dessert makers Madisono’s Gelato and Sorbet.
Inside Ferrari's multiple dining areas, gas fireplaces flicker among exposed-brick walls, and family photos help create a homey feel. On the outdoor patio, fragrant wisteria vines climb a wooden pergola, and a picturesque fountain quietly babbles recommendations from the wine list.
Teri Scheff, a skilled ceramics sculptor and the founder of Artrageous Desserts, augments celebrations with customizable cupcakes and cakes, in traditional stacks or eye-catching original designs. Armed with a spatula and steady hand, the playful artist crafts cakes for weddings or other special occasions in the likeness of family pets, a new car, or a conventional birthday cake's long-lost twin. The bakery's mature-cake division boasts racy designs in anatomically inspired shapes and adult-themed inscriptions.
Wake up with dishes from Giminetti's breakfast menu. Fork through a fluffy stack of syrup-drenched pancakes ($3.50 for stack of three) or opt for a cheesy omelette ($4) with melted sharp cheddar. Brownies ($2), white-chocolate macadamia-nut cookies ($0.75), and monstrous Danishes ($1.50) tempt sweet teeth. For midday meals, try the vedgewich ($5.50), an array of tempting veggies (grilled onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, sprouts, cucumbers) and savory provolone plopped between slices of multigrain rustica and slathered with a liberal dose of horseradish mayo. Subs, hoagies, burgers, and paninis appease meatier palates.
With graduations, weddings, and whale-wrestling season fast approaching, a customized party cake serves as a tasty treat for groups of gathered revelers. A 10-inch party cake from Maribelle serves about 30 people, and the cakery's abundant bounty of flavors and fillings will please even the most picky cake connoisseur. Plump a lemon almond cake with red raspberry filling, or infuse a rich German chocolate cake with fresh sliced strawberries or Frangelico cream. Any combination of bakery beautifying extras—be they fresh-cut or frosting flowers, chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate curls and shavings, or curly ribbons—are included in the price, so pile on the ornamentation to construct a memorable masterpiece.
Diane's Cake, Candy and Cookie Supplies, formerly Mergard’s, whips up delectable baked goodies in a rainbow of customizable varieties. With seven cake flavors and 15 filling options, the bakery's bevy of cupcakes takes a wild variety of forms to satisfy even the most rogue sweet teeth. Patrons can mix and match flavors to create a scrumptious cupcake combination, such as red velvet and cream cheese, chocolate and bavarian cream, or lemon and red raspberry. Alternatively, customers can forgo the cupcakes in favor of noshing on a saccharine cornucopia of two dozen sugar cookies. Available in a plethora of shapes and designs, Diane’s custom cutout cookies make welcome gifts at baby showers, birthday parties, or diet-protest rallies. Orders need to be placed seven days in advance to ensure baked goods receive proper taste-bud-pleasing training.