Just Cakin’ It’s executive pastry chef, Jennifer Anderson, with the support of fellow cake designer and business partner Shelly Bakosh, dug deep into her creative consciousness to conjure up more than 100 cupcake varieties handcrafted out of dark Dutch-process cocoa, fresh fruit, and pure butter. The pastel-colored bakery's lineup of cupcakes serenade sweet teeth with five permanent flavors, including triple chocolate and red velvet, and nine funkier flavors that rotate every Tuesday. The talented bakers also personalize regular-size cakes for life's momentous occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and babies' first speeding ticket. Creamy milkshakes, frosty scoops of ice cream, and fresh-baked cookies round out the shop's saccharine selection.
The locally owned and operated purveyor of icy treats provides a nutritious alternative to mean-spirited ice cream. On average, its extensive roster of frozen yogurts and sorbets ($0.39 per ounce) contains about 30 calories per ounce. Other nutritive benefits of Cultivé's fro-yos include the presence of live and active cultures, which have been shown to delight digestive tracts, encourage insecure immune systems, and help fight lactose intolerance with love, acceptance, and tempting jimmies.
As natural light floods in through Main Street Yogurt's floor-to-ceiling windows, self-serve machines swirl rotating flavors of dessert-inspired frozen yogurts augmented by more than 75 add-ons. Guests amble up to 1 of 10 taps to fill cups or yogurt-fueled mopeds with varieties such as dulce de leche, cookies 'n' cream, red velvet cake, or fruity blends including blueberry and mango. Next, the custom toppings bar, filled with treats such as house-baked brownie pieces, fresh fruit, and nuts, sends bite-size sherpas up fro-yo mountains. Because each visit allows up to two punches, patrons can treat a friend, date, or an easily bribed tax auditor.
A Victorian-style tearoom housed in a 1929 firehouse doesn't seem a likely place for an April Fool's prank. But since Linde Lane Tea Room owner Kristina Wiley throws a themed special event each month, she decided to treat her guests to a surprise meal. Visitors took a drink of pineapple champagne, only to find their flutes filled with Jell-O. More prank courses followed, such as strawberry-chocolate cupcakes that were really mashed potatoes and meat topped with truffle sauce. As the diners laughed at each course, a President Obama impersonator walked in, convincing a young attendee that she was actually shaking hands with the commander-in-chief.
Wiley prides herself on making every visit to Linde Lane Tea Room a memorable one, whether through novelty events like these or seating parties in the 8-foot teacup booth, which Wiley calls "a piece of art people can sit in." Appearing on TeaMap's top 100 U.S. tearooms across the United States and ranked fourth best in California, Linde Lane Team Room evokes Victorian opulence through custom-made chandeliers, richly patterned carpets, and a dark wood bar where more than 49 fair-trade teas rest in copper canisters. The staff can also custom-blend teas for patrons, using martini shakers to blend loose leaves with spices such as raspberries, chocolate chips, and honeysuckle. An in-house pastry chef and culinary chef prepare every dish, including Linde Lane's safeguarded scone recipe, which took more than one year and 12,000 chef hours to perfect.
Big Spoon Yogurt’s special topping bar complements hot cocoa and frozen yogurt ensembles with more than 75 novel accompaniments. Beverage construction commences at Big Spoon’s topping bar, where steaming chassis of hot cocoa ($1.25–$2.59) don marshmallow tires—in mint, german chocolate, cinnamon, and toasted coconut flavors—and warm-cookie steering wheels in a rousing race to anticipating taste buds. Patrons sweeten metric-system conversions with frozen yogurt by the ounce (price varies by location), available in chocolate, vanilla, and a rotating stock of non-dairy and sugar-free flavors. Seasonal winter flavors provide the taste of frozen eggnog without the hassle of holding company Christmas parties in a polar bear’s living room, and fall flavors scour a farmer’s windowsill for apple pie and pumpkin yogurt—all customizable with the bar’s more than 75 toppings.
Though Andrea Ballus's wedding frustrations propelled her into reality-television fame, the camera never focused on personal drama—instead, it zoomed in on the cupcakes. As she planned her marriage, Andrea couldn't find a bakery innovative enough to cater her reception. Rather than settle for tired designs, she decided to create her own cupcakes, mixing confections in signature flavors and garnishing them with edible art. These concepts led to the first incarnation of Sift—a dessert venue whose ingenious edibles have since won first place on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars and returned to compete on Cupcake Champions.
Sift's current cupcake menu pays homage to classic tastes as well as cunning combinations, from the snickerdoodle and red velvet cakes to the Knock Your Sox Off—a bavarian-cream-filled vanilla cake dipped in chocolate ganache. Visitors can pluck their favorites from the onsite displays or order custom servings that suit a wedding or party theme. In the past, Andrea and her staff have festooned cakes with images of cheerful dragonflies, company logos, and Pink Floyd album art as well as holiday graphics for New Year's and Christmas. They can even infuse the cupcake batter with a chosen wine, resulting in nearly perfect food and drink pairings.
Alongside their signature item, Sift prepares a separate catalog of nostalgic desserts, including whoopie cookies, macarons, and ice-cream sandwiches.