Each week, pre-booked tours take kids into Mary Denning's kitchen, where they learn about the creation of various cakes, pies, cookies, and baked goods. In one corner of the bakery, they might see the baker using Mary's mother's recipe to stuff pasties with ground sirloin and veggies. In another, owner Mary Denning creates custom cakes for weddings and special occasions, using icing to sculpt intricate floral designs or replicas of the edible baseball caps worn by famous gingerbread athletes.
But the cake shop doesn’t just accommodate kids. Mary and her team want to share their sweet creations with as many people as possible, so they make sugar and gluten free desserts and—on select days—host baking classes.
When Santa Toarmina arrived in Detroit from Italy, she discovered that Americans seemed to prefer a sweeter pizza sauce and started adapting her pies to better fit the American palate. Generations later, Toarmina?s Pizza still uses Grandma Toarmina?s recipes, topping crusts?which can come in flavors such as garlic and Cajun?with a sweet pizza sauce and such ingredients as house-smoked ham, fresh veggies, and a heap of Wisconsin mozzarella cheese.
And the chefs take time to really stretch out the mounds of dough into 24-inch crusts that can feed the entire family or one hungry, hungry hippo. The pizzeria also offers oven-baked subs, fresh salads, wings, and ribs blanketed in barbecue sauce.
On a warm August day in 1938, a father and son unveiled the first sample of what was to become Dairy Queen, selling 1,600 samples on the first day, a feat as unheard of as a dragon that breathes ice. Its ensuing prolific expansion was fueled by its frozen treats, which propelled the dessert shop from 100 stores in 1947 to 1,446 in 1950. Today, their dessert recipes remain largely unchanged, and Dairy Queen has added chili cheese dogs, barbecue pork, and grilled chicken to its menu. Dairy Queen's enormous dessert menu boasts treats ranging from soft-serve cones and blizzards filled with cookies to takeaway ice-cream sandwiches and cakes.
Sweet Chateau owner Victoria Thompson draws from her experience as a pastry chef at several prominent hotels to create her artisanal cupcakes, cheesecakes, and wedding cakes. Each cake comes with meticulous decorations: she covers cinnamon-apple cupcakes with caramel drizzle and chopped apples, and triple-citrus cupcakes get topped with orange-flavored frosting. The shop itself, meanwhile, is about as elaborate as the desserts: it’s housed in a redbrick country cottage near a boating dock on Belleville Lake. It has soft pastels on the interior, cedar shingles on the outside, and an iron gate to keep out Oompa Loompas in need of a sugar fix.
Before Pam Turkin flung open the doors to the first Just Baked in 2009, she was just baking cupcakes on the weekends. But after her corporate travels took her past a growing number of cupcake shops outside of southeastern Michigan, she decided to turn her hobby into a career. She now helms 17 shops in the area, where she and her staff of dessert experts whip up eclectically flavored cupcakes such as red velvet cheesecake, chocolate chip cookie dough, and grumpy cake. In addition to the mouthwatering flavors, all of their items boast real butter, real eggs, and real milk as opposed to artificial ingredients from artificial cows and chickens.
Jungle Java was designed to create a space where parents could enjoy a good cup of coffee while watching their children play in a safe and soft environment where tykes traipse through a well-padded multilevel maze of forest huts and treehouses. Toddlers can take time away from the fray in a separate safari area equipped with soft tunnels, slides, and age-appropriate cryptograms. As children romp, parents plunk themselves in the soft folds of a leather couch or power through some work on the free WiFi network. Jungle Java's caf? carries a menu of coffee drinks, smoothies, and snacks that include all-beef hot dogs and turkey and avocado sandwiches on eight-grain bread.