Peering into the pastry display case at Sweet Story Bakery is always a treat. That's because head baker and owner Michele Howard not only creates beautiful desserts, but changes the menu every day. One day, she'll be in the mood to create more decadent treats, and so she'll craft Ding Dong cupcakes, cherry chocolate scones, and New York–style cheesecake. But on another, she'll stick to lighter options such as raspberry lemonade cake or salty and sweet cake pops. Other occasions might bring layered Kit Kat bars, lemon bars, and chocolate-dipped pecan wedges. No matter her mood, however, she always cooks up at least one gluten-free dessert to ensure every guest can sate their sweet tooth. She complements her homemade desserts with jars of novelty candy. These pair with desserts to make great last-minute gifts or to put finishing touches on gingerbread-house renovations.
Guests fill dishes with swirling medleys of frozen yogurt and toppings, taking advantage of the confectionery agency afforded by the self-serve stations at Polar Bear Yogurt. The kosher, locally sourced fro-yo comes in nonfat, lowfat, sugar-free, non-dairy sorbet, and original tart varieties, with flavors that rotate on a seasonal basis but may include wild berry, irish mint, dutch chocolate, or red velvet cake. Polar Bear Yogurt complements its dollops of subzero sweetness with iced coffee, Italian sodas, pies, and grilled paninis. In addition, the fro-yo emporium pays homage to the mammal from which it draws its name with technically inedible polar bear stuffed animals.
In 1997, friends Dena Tripp and Debra Shwetz set out to create a luscious, melt-in-your-mouth bundt cake. What began as an endeavor in their own home kitchens soon blossomed into a bustling business with bakeries in 13 states. Rich cocoa browns and soft pastels lend a nostalgic feel to each bakery, where every day lava-powered ovens warm up batter made from fresh eggs, real butter, and cream cheese. Flavors such as chocolate chocolate chip, pecan praline, and white-chocolate raspberry remain constants on the menu, and a new flavor makes a guest appearance each month. Cakes come in several sizes, from the standard 8- or 10-inch bundt to the single-serving bundtlet and the bite-size bundtini, all frosted with a signature blend of cream cheese and butter.