The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but to make it that far you have to be disguised as baked goods. Don a cape of baked goodwill with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $25 worth of cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and more at Buttersweet Bakery.
Buttersweet Bakery, led by Charlita Varner and her staff of pastry perfectionists, erects modern-styled confections using fine ingredients. The treats have attracted attention from the celebrity world, as it supplies sweets for BET Awards shows each year and has whipped up vegan cupcakes for mega mogul Russell Simmons, in addition to catching the eye of Bon Appetit, which featured a recipe for the hypnotically green key-lime cupcakes. Buttersweet bakes a bevy of bite-sized treats, such as individual cheesecakes ($4), chocolate-chip cookies ($1.25 each), tart key-lime cupcakes ($2.75), and smiley bars ($2.25), a toffee-bar treat named after one of Buttersweet's regular customers who always wears a smiley-face mask. Full-sized cakes, appropriate for grander events such as birthdays, anniversaries, and MLB amateur-draft celebrations, exist in flavors such as a sacher torte and red velvet.
With her Easy-Bake Oven, Charlita Varner created her first sweet treat at age 8. Though her equipment has been upgraded since, her childhood passion for baking has never waned. Drawing on skills she learned from her mother, a self-taught baker, Charlita blends eggs, sugar, and butter into customizable cakes whose designs have ranged from chessboards to sombreros.
Her visual flair doesn't sacrifice taste—Buttersweet Bakery's flavors include vanilla, lemon coconut, and key lime, whose recipe Bon Appetit featured on its website. The magazine isn't the only media outlet to stand up and take note of Charlita's work. Her cakes have also basked in the spotlight on TLC's A Wedding Story and delighted guests at the BET Awards.