Upon entering, modern spotlights smear light across the glossy ceiling and beige walls like butter on toast––an appropriate evocation of the baked goods to come. There they wait at the counter: gooey fresh-baked brownies, crunchy biscotti, jelly-filled Danish, and crumbly scones that are as large as calzones. Maine Star Coffee lures patrons with the aroma of confections baked onsite, then encourages lingering with locally roasted coffee, steeping teas, and sweet espresso drinks made from locally sourced milk products. The café is also a haven for artists of all types, housing such entertainment as spoken word, acoustic music, and competitive whittling showdowns.
Cooks typically rely on tried-and-true recipes when they bake cakes. In the kitchen of Sweet Ruminations, a dessert boutique rather than a traditional full-service bakery, baker Amanda Boutcher combines diverse influences: she may craft a tart inspired by the scent of a grandmother’s kitchen, or a pie that celebrates the tender memory of being pied in the face by a stranger. She works with customers to design desserts that suit their own tastes and spring from their own memories. Then, using fruit from local orchards and milk from local, grass-fed cows, she brings the treats to life in gluten and gluten-free varieties.
Patrons can also stop by Sweet Ruminations to sample ready-made sweets: macaroons, cream puffs, and cupcakes are just a few options. Distance is no object to Boutcher, who travels to locations such as the English East Midlands countryside to cater events.
After Vernon Rudolph acquired a closely guarded yeast-raised Krispy Kreme Doughnuts recipe from a New Orleans pastry chef, he shared his appreciation for delectable disks by opening shop in 1937 and selling the first Krispy Kremes to grocery stores. The wafting aroma of glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnuts increased demand for the sweet treats and caused Rudolph to redesign his building's layout to include a walkup window, Rudolph was able to sell them directly to any passing customer who demanded a snack. Later, he joined forces with equipment engineers, creating baking equipment that guaranteed uniform shape and dough consistency.
Rudolph's departure to a pastry-filled afterlife in 1973 did not stop Krispy Kreme from expanding into a global sensation and continuing to innovate. In recent years, the company enhanced the treat-retrieving experience by introducing a Hot Light that, when illuminated, indicates when Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are fresh off the conveyor belt.
Tucked away in the kitchen of each Paris Baguette, bakers trained in French techniques craft buttery, flaky croissants and tart crusts, and their success at this has earned attention from the likes of the New York Times. In addition to pastries and sweets such as mocha rice balls, the bakers knead bread for their namesake baguettes and yeasty creations that hold an Asian twist, such as red-bean-paste-filled donuts. The experts also create fondant-cloaked cakes that venture beyond classic flavors into green tea, cappuccino, and sweet potato, delighting partygoers bored of the same laminated sheet cake that makes its appearance at each year’s birthday celebration.
To wash down these treats, patrons sip cups of java or more exotic drinks such as wheatgrass and black-sesame lattes, persimmon smoothies, and bubble tea. At lunchtime, many locations layer sandwiches, filling hungry stomachs with croque monsieurs and baguettes stuffed with chicken and pesto.