Without the promise of sweets, mouths would never have the patience to stay open during dentist appointments or closed during beekeeping demonstrations. Keep mouths copacetic with today's Groupon: for $22, you get an eight-inch, four-layer, Italian-cream cake at Frances’ Bakery in Metairie (a $44.99 value).
Frances’ Bakery stands as the vanilla-scented retail outpost of a family with nearly 100 years of experience in the baking business. Its signature eight-inch, four-layer, Italian-cream cake boasts four towering layers of moist white cake. In between, an Italian-cream icing, made with cream cheese, real butter, ricotta, and pure vanilla, gives the pastry enough structure to stand proudly on a dining-room table or to endure a short-distance sprint to catch a departing bus. Chocolate chips and pecans hide throughout the cake, which is large enough to end a family meal on a sweet note or satiate one very hungry mountain lion.
Orders from around the world inundate chefs at Frances' Bakery, who bake their fresh goods daily from recipes that have delighted taste buds and kept lonely recipe cards company for almost a century. The shop's rich custom espresso drinks pair with freshly filled cannolis, dainty chocolate éclairs, and sugar-free desserts. Thick Sicilian-style focaccia bread, topped with a blend of spinach, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes, adds a unique spin to the pizza concept, and traditional New Orleans muffuletta piles layers of baked ham, salami, cheese and olives upon a hefty round of italian bread.