Bakery Review – Grandma Ruth’s in Branson, MO

Cinnamon Roll

My friend Shana had raved many times about a little place in Branson, MO called Grandma Ruth’s that apparently has some of the BEST cinnamon rolls around.  So the first opportunity I got, I high-tailed it down to Branson and stopped into this little hole in the wall cinnamon roll shop!

CinnamonRollDough

Counter

The first thing I noticed was the music coming from the room that had the table and chairs where people were eating their treats…it was live music!  A guy with a guitar singing your typical country western tunes and he wasn’t bad!  And there is nothing fancy about this place, just basic tables and chairs in one room and then you enter the next room and it’s the “kitchen” and counter where you place your order.  It’s completely open so you can see all the baking happening and Grandma Ruth herself is sitting there making cinnamon rolls!  Adds a nice personal touch!

GrandmaRuth

Musician

Avery Music

The day we visited they had three kinds of rolls: Cinnamon, caramel and toffee.  We purchased two of each kind and made our way back to the tables and chairs area to eat them.  My favorite was the classic cinnamon followed by the caramel and then the toffee.  These rolls were HUGE, enough for two people to share!  And they were indeed delicious!  Tender, yeasty, not to sweet (ok the toffee was a tad too sweet for me!) and so good, just like you expect a classic cinnamon roll.  My daughter LOVED them and my hubby and I both enjoyed ours immensely.

Toffee Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon Rolls

If you’re in Branson and looking for some sweet indulgence, these cinnamon rolls are just the thing!

Enjoy!

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Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott

Natashas 1

Natashas 2

My friend Shawna had more than once told me how AWESOME Natasha’s on the Plaza in Kansas City was.  Especially their macarons, apparently the best and I LOVE macarons.  So, when Jeremy and I had a chance to go to a B&B in Excelsior Springs for a couple of days for our fifth anniversary (yay!), I knew that I would absolutely have Natasha’s on my agenda since KC was so close and I wanted to go shopping on the Plaza anyway.  Perfect!

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All I can say is from the time I walked into Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott until the time we left, I was absolutely mesmerized by everything about this little place.  I felt like I was in a little Parisian shop/cafe, surrounded by vintage furniture and picture frames, pristine white walls with pastel accents, gorgeous chandeliers and a little tea bar against one wall.  And the desserts…jars of cookies, bars and marshmallows,  assorted pastries, tarts and little cakes in the pastry case and the most impressive display of macarons I’ve ever seen!

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And the best part…because we were there on Saturday, they had a fresh batch of their massive brioche cinnamon rolls, covered in buttercream.  They apparently only make them on Friday and Saturday which is a shame because if I lived there, I’d buy one every. single. day.  They were TO DIE FOR.  We got one to share and then every flavor of macaron which was 14 different kinds in all.  We thought there was no way we’d be able to eat the whole cinnamon roll but oh my gosh, once we started, we couldn’t stop!  Best one I’ve ever had.  As for the macarons?  Also amazing and probably the best I’ve had.  I liked almost every one (except the maple bacon…I just can’t get into desserts with bacon ick) but Jeremy and I agreed our favorite was the margarita which I wasn’t expecting!

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Our overall rating:  5 out of 5 stars!  This place is a MUST if you are anywhere near the Plaza in Kansas City.  You will be in French pastry heaven!

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Bakery Review – The Sweet Tooth in Blue Springs, MO

The Sweet Tooth

The Sweet Tooth Inside

The Sweet Tooth Bakery Case

Recently the hubby and I went to a B&B in Excelsior Springs for our fifth anniversary and came across this little cupcake shop in Blue Springs, MO called The Sweet Tooth.  When we were there they happened to be remodeling so the place was in a bit of disarray but their cupcakes still looked fabulous and that’s all that matters, right?!  I had read online that their cheesecake was good and cupcakes were REALLY good so I was excited to try both!

Silly Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cupcakse

I chose a plain, mini New York style cheesecake and four different kinds of cupcakes:  Lemon cake with lemon filling and frosting, white cake with white chocolate filling and raspberry buttercream, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and white cake with chocolate frosting.  I will be totally honest and say….that I loved them all!  I don’t know what it was about their cupcakes but they were just soooooooo good.  I can usually take one or two bites of a cupcake and be done but I wanted to eat all of each and every  one of these!

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

The cakes were super moist and the frosting wasn’t overly sweet and the fillings were perfect.  I will say they were some of the best cupcakes I’ve had which I definitely was not expecting!  The cheesecake was also very good.  Highly, highly recommend this little shop!  A must if you are wanting some really delicious cupcakes.

Chocolate Mint Cupcake

 

Black and White Cupcakes

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Sugarjones in Rockford, IL

Alright, third sweet stop on our whirlwind trip to Illinois is Sugarjones in Rockford!  Now if you’ll recall we already got our chocolate and pie fix so naturally it was time for some CUPCAKES.  Honestly I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it to this place or not since we had to be at a wedding fairly early that day but lucky for us Sugarjones opened at 10 a.m. so after we got in our free out-of-towner workout on at the local YMCA, we headed over to Sugarjones to get ummmm…breakfast (I mean really, how many degrees of separation are there between a muffin and a cupcake?!  Yeah, not many.)

So we got there and the place was hoppin’!  They obviously had a ton of special orders that day…boxes were flying out the door!  The place was really cute and I loved how the kitchen was open and you could see everyone working away.  The owner herself was there and I actually got to meet her and tell her that I had a blog and would be doing a review on her place.  Fun!

The cupcakes themselves looked beautiful.  So simple and elegant.  I was sooo excited to try them.  We bought three different kinds:  Churro, Black & White and a Chocolate cupcake.  So how did they taste?   To sum it up in one word:  PHENOMENAL.  I am not joking when I say these are possibly the best cupcakes I’ve ever had  (aside from Red’s Cupcakes, of course!).  The cake was perfect, moist and tender and just divine.

The frosting was another thing altogether…I LOVED It.  The moment I tasted it, I was in heaven!  It was silky smooth and not at all sugary or greasy.  It reminded me of a Swiss or Italian buttercream but not quite the same.  I couldn’t put my finger on it so of course I had to ask the owner what it was!  Sure enough she said it was her version of a Swiss buttercream but without the egg whites.  So, her own recipe.  I TOTALLY wanted to ask her for it, but refrained.  But I still might.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, we did rank the cupcakes.  Honestly, it was almost a three-way tie because they were all soooo good that it was hard to choose but for me, my favorite was the Churro.  It had swirls of cinnamon and sugar in the cake and a dreamy vanilla frosting…it was beyond scrumptious.   The Black & White was my second favorite and then Chocolate was third.  But like I said, ALL were excellent.  I’m only sad that they are 8 hours away.

If you are in the area, I highly, HIGHLY recommend checking this place out.  Or if you have already, I’d love to hear your feedback!

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The Chocolatier, Inc.

A couple of weeks ago Jeremy and I went on a little getaway to Illinois.  Illinois?  Yes, Illinois.  A friend of ours who lives in Rockford, IL was getting married the same week of our anniversary so we thought we’d make a it little anniversary celebration trip too.  We actually stayed in Bloomington, IL the first couple of days of our trip at a little B&B called the Vrooman Mansion (see pic above).  Except there is nothing little about this place…it has 18 rooms, a massive outdoor patio, several parlors and is just gorgeous!  I highly recommend this place if you are travelling through Illinois.  Oh, and the breakfast is divine!

We did lots of antiquating and some other mansion tours (one being the David Davis Mansion–who knew there were so many in Illinois?) and even hit up a winery that had live music one night.  Oh, and found a couple of totally fabulous restaurants.  We LOVED every minute in Bloomington.

Of course part of our trek through Illinois included some carefully researched sweet stops.  The first being this very unassuming chocolate shop in Bloomington, The Chocolatier, Inc.  It’s located in their downtown area and when we drove up I kind of thought it didn’t look too legit.  The outside was meh and inside there were ZERO frills…we’re talking bakery cases for the chocolates and then jars of bulk candy.  No gimmicks, no aesthetic niceties…nothing.

But guess what?  I was WRONG.  This place was more then legit.  It was crazy good.  I didn’t get any of the bulk candy, because I wanted to focus on the chocolate that was made there.  I can honestly say the chocolates at this place were perhaps the best I have ever had.  I’m talking melt in your mouth, nothing artificial, amazing, deliciousness.

Here’s what we got.  It was so hard to choose but I narrowed it down to six.  A Coffee Buttercream, Chocolate Covered Marshmallow, Marzipan Truffle, Amaretto Truffle, a Peanut Butter Cup and a Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.

First of all, none of these were bad.  They were all delicious.  But of course we had to rank our favorites.  The Coffee Buttercream came in last only because I thought it could have used a tad more coffee flavor.  Next, was the Chocolate Covered Marshmallow which was actually really, really good and I have never found a homemade marshmallow I like better than mine (sorry, it’s true!).   After that the Marzipan came in fourth, only because the top three were soooo good.  So third was the Amaretto Truffle…amazing amaretto flavored ganache covered with a milk chocolate shell.  Yum.

Second was the Peanut Butter Cup.  Oh my gosh…I’ve always loved my homemade peanut butter balls but I thought this thing was way better.  So good.

And lastly the star of the show was the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.  Holy cow.  Amazing dark chocolate ganache middle infused with raspberry puree and covered in a dark chocolate shell.  It. Was. Divine.  Not to mention gorgeous.

So yeah.  This place is the real deal when it comes to chocolate.  Definitely go if you are ever there.  Our next stop was in Chicago at a teeny, tiny pie place…can’t wait to share with you next week!

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Bakery Review – TwentyOne Cakes in Nixa, MO

Cupcake places are popping up everywhere!  It’s madness I tell you!  Delicious, sweet (slightly sickening) madness!  Believe it or not, after Jeremy and I stopped at Stacey’s Sweets in Ozark, we hightailed it to Nixa to try ANOTHER new cupcake joint.  I have to be honest…this place was good but after trying several different kinds of cupcakes and a brownie at Stacey’s Sweets, I probably was a little sugared out at this point.  TwentyOne Cakes is in a house turned bakery right on Highway 14.  It’s a very straightforward, unassuming place.  I was surprised to walk in and see the cupcakes were actually mini cupcakes which I was VERY thankful for after gorging ourselves on EIGHT regular size ones not even an hour earlier.  There were also a couple of different kinds of cake pops, a HUGE peanut butter chocolate chip cookie and I believe there was a cake also that you could get by the slice.

My only criticism of this bakery was the lack of just a basic cupcake.  Most of the flavors were somewhat unique and different if not what some might consider “odd” and I really like to try at least a couple basic cupcakes when I go somewhere new.  Then again I might have just come on the wrong day.  I did however think her cakes were nice and moist (which is impressive for minis!) and the buttercreams were quite delicious.  And I wasn’t a fan of the cookie; it wasn’t quite as soft and chewy as I prefer.  But hey, that’s just me.  Overall, a delicious experience!  Here’s what we ended up choosing:

Maple Bacon

German Chocolate

Strawberry

Red Hot

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie

If you are in Nixa, check this place out for a sweet fix!  And if you’ve been there, let me know what you think!

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Bakery Review – My Daddy’s Cheesecake in Cape Girardeau

As I mentioned last week in my B&B Weekend post, we stopped in at a bakery called My Daddy’s Cheesecake while were out and about exploring Cape Girardeau and hitting up antique shops.  I did NOT expect the town to have a bakery, let alone one that offered all that this one did!  The building was very straightforward, nothing kitschy or frilly about it and kind of reminded me a of a Panera Bread or McCallister’s restaurant.  They did, in fact, have quite a menu of food other than dessert but that was NOT what I was there for–I had come to get a sugar high!

First of all, let’s just start with the selection.  They had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR bakery cases jam-packed with so many different, mouth-watering treats that I was immediately overwhelmed and thought “Holy crap, how am I going to decide!”.  We’re talking one whole case with only cheesecake (of course!), another with cupcakes, gooey butter cake slices, chocolate covered strawberries, cannoli, etc, another with muffins, cinnamon rolls, Italian pastries and yet another case pretty much devoted entirely to cookies…you name it, I’m pretty sure they had it!

So after a little (ok, a LOT of) deliberation, we made our choices!  So, here they are, in no particular order.  Ok, that’s a lie.  They are definitely in order, from least favorite to most favorite.  These are my selections, although Jeremy and I agreed on our top three.  Yay!   Ok, here we go!  (First, a picture of the spread!  I’m sure people thought we were absolute pigs!!)

First up in sixth place the Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookie.  I chose this cookie because not only were there only two left (from a massive tray of them) the girl that was helping raved on and on about them.  I was excited.  And then I was sad.  These cookies were, in a word, horrible.  It was dry, crunchy and tasteless and I wanted so badly to spit it out but didn’t have a napkin.  I knew I should have gone with my gut and got the white chocolate macadamia nut cookie and I was *this close* to going back up to the counter and asking for a trade-in or something.  But I didn’t.  So here is the red velvet cookie, dead last.  Sigh.

Fifth, the baklava.  I love baklava.  LOVE.  But this just didn’t hit the spot for me.  It was ok, but a little dry and lacking some serious honey/gooey factor that is a necessary component of great baklava.  Not bad, just not outstanding.

Fourth, the Chocolate Raspberry Swirled Cheesecake.  It was decent but to be honest both the cheesecakes to me were more thick (solid?) and like a very firm ganache consistency than they were creamy.  The texture was just a bit off for me.

Third, the Amaretto Cheesecake.  Again, texture weird, but the Amaretto flavor redeemed it slightly for me–that was YUMMY.

Second, the Chocolate Ganache Cupcake.  I have to say this was a very good cupcake.  The cake was tender and fluffy, the chocolate frosting was delicious and the chocolate shavings on top were so yummy.  Only complaint was the massive tunnel of chocolate ganache inside the cupcake that had completely hardened.  A little awkward trying to cut into the cupcake but we managed!

And, drum roll please, first place goes to…the Cannoli!  Woo hoo!  This thing was deeeeeelicious.  I couldn’t stop eating it.  And I didn’t.  And I did not care.

So the desserts were a little less than stellar and seemed to be more style than substance but I’d really like to go back and try some other things, since they have such a variety!   And I heard people raving about the cinnamon rolls which were so huge and nearly sold out…I KNEW I should have tried one!  Oh well, next time.

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Weekend Getaway B&B

The Bellevue Bed & Breakfast

Jeremy and I decided to take a last minute trip this past weekend and stay in a new (to us) B&B called The Bellevue.  He found this absolutely beautiful historic home in Cape Girardeau, right on the Mississippi River, in the heart of the downtown area.  We left Friday night, stayed in Poplar Bluff and got up early the next morning to hit the road so we could arrive to Cape Girardeau in time for all the shops to open.  We spend Saturday visiting antique shops, seeing historical sites, had an amazing dinner at a place called Bella Italia and relaxed the rest of the evening in our amazing bedroom.

Front door with beautiful stained glass transom above.
The men's parlor.
Beautiful windows and draperies in the women's parlor.
Love the chandelier and seating in the women's parlor.
Pretty mirror in our bedroom.
Cove bedroom upstairs.
Homemade pecan pie tassies and chocolate covered cherries in our bedroom.

The next morning we were treated to one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had.  It was 3-courses and started with the cutest mini bundt shaped blueberry muffin.  It was an amazingly moist cake bursting with blueberries and a hint of cinnamon and had a homemade blueberry sauce spooned over it.  Second course was thinly sliced sweet strawberries, drenched in an amaretto infused Chantilly creme topped with homemade whipped cream–DIVINE.  Finally, we were treated to enormous omelettes stuffed with cheese and, to our surprise, vegetarian “ham”, all smothered in a rich hollandaise sauce!  I was super excited to find out the “meat” inside the omelette was actually a vegetable based, high-protein, low-carb substitute.  It was delicious!

Strawberries in Amaretto Chantilly Creme.
The spacious dining room.
The china--too pretty to eat off of!
We came through the back entrance and this was the first thing I saw--LOVE.
Fun sitting area in the dining room.

After stuffing ourselves at breakfast, we hit the road to head back home and stopped at a place called Big Spring and another place Jeremy and I had both been to as young children, Alley Spring.  It was so neat to go somewhere that we both vaguely remembered from our childhood and make our own memories together as adults.

Big Spring. Pictures can't even begin to show how amazingly clear and blue the water was.
Big Spring.
Alley Spring Mill.
Alley Spring.
Alley Spring...beautiful water.
Bridge over the water at Alley Spring.

Oh and how could I forget!  Much to my surprise and extreme delight, there was a BAKERY in Cape Girardeau.  Here’s a sneak peak picture–I’ll give my full review next week!

My Daddy's Cheesecake Bakery.

It was so much fun I really did NOT want to come home–a  fabulous weekend and great early Valentine’s Day getaway!

Me and Jeremy at Alley Spring.

 

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The Meatloaf Bakery

When Jeremy and I lived in Rockford, we’d occasionally make trips into Chicago to shop, eat and visit the museums and parks.  Fun times.  One of our favorite areas of Chicago was Lincoln Park, which was a college town full of unique shops, bakeries and concert venues.  We discovered a cupcake place called Molly’s Cupcakes and I’ll never forget one time while we were on our way to get cupcakes from Molly’s we passed another cupcake place that immediately caught my attention due to the enormous size of their cupcakes.  They were huge!

Photo courtesy of LA Weekly

As I peered in the window I thought something seemed off…these cupcakes didn’t look quite right.  And then I realized I was not looking at delicious vanilla and chocolate cakes topped with creamy, dreamy buttercream but instead it was…meatloaf!  Topped with mashed potato “frosting”! Ummm, DISGUSTING.  I guess the name of the place should have given it away.  After all, it was The Meatloaf Bakery, hello!  But I didn’t even see the name because I was too preoccupied staring at the “cupcakes” inside.

Photo courtesy of LA Weekly

I had all but forgot about the place until this past Sunday night when Duff Goldman paid The Meatloaf Bakery a little visit on his new show, Sugar High.  Despite my initial gross out, I have to admit that the food actually looked good.   And I truly couldn’t believe the place was still in business.  I specifically remember thinking, “This place’ll never make it!”  Boy, was I wrong!

Photo courtesy of tumblr

Would YOU eat a meatloaf cupcake?!

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Side by Side Dessert Lounge

Jeremy and I had a little date night this past Friday night in downtown Springfield, MO.  We started out by getting dinner at Grad School (AWESOME wings and burgers) and then went directly across the street to grab dessert before seeing Another Earth at The Moxie.  For dessert, we went to a new place called Side by Side Dessert Lounge.  It’s actually connected to a restaurant called Blu Sesame and I think the idea is you eat dinner there and then go immediately next door and get dessert.

The place was small and had a fairly modern design.  The desserts were displayed beautifully in a bakery case, everything from eclairs to cheesecake, creme brulee and black and white cookies.  They even had hand-dipped ice cream.  We stood there for a looooong time trying to decide what to get before choosing a whoopie pie, tiramisu, a strawberry macaron and a cupcake.  Everything was reasonably priced and we ended up spending only $13 for all our goodies.

Our least favorite item was the Tiramisu.  It was not at all traditional tiramisu; instead of ladyfingers it was layered with cake that had been soaked in coffee (at least I think it was coffee…it wasn’t strong enough at all).  Between the cake layers was something like a basic vanilla custard or pudding, not the usual mascarpone or even cream cheese type filling.  And there was not one hint of rum, which is one of my most favorite parts, so that was disappointing.

Next was the Strawberry Macaron which was crumbling the minute we picked it up to take a bite.  It had a very hard, brittle outer shell and was a little bit difficult to bite into.  The strawberry buttercream inside was squirting out everywhere because it was so hard to bite!  Definitely not the slightly crisp and chewy macaron I have experienced in the past.   Another bummer.  Moving on….

We decided the White-on-White Whoopie Pie (yes, it is as massive as it looks!) was runner-up to our favorite, only because of the buttercream.  The cookie or cake or whatever it was on the outside, was seriously odd.  It was tough and not even close to having a cake-like texture and was not soft enough to be a cookie.  Very strange.  Jeremy and I sat there trying to figure it out and finally gave up.  But like I said, the buttercream was the only redemptive part of the whole thing…very light, airy and delicious.

Finally, the one thing we actually liked (sort of) was the Original Vanilla Yogurt Cupcake.  The girl that was working told us that their cupcakes were made with yogurt (hence the name), which gave it a super moist texture.  And it was very moist.  It was also kind of pound-cake like.  Again, unlike any cupcake I’ve ever had.  It was topped with a homemade whipped creamed, strawberry chocolate curls and white chocolate.

Overall, everything was honestly kind of odd and I can’t say that I want to go back anytime soon.  Maybe for a cupcake since we did like that.  And the ice cream sandwiches looked good also.  Let me know if you’ve been or if you plan on going…I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Modica Market

One of my families stops in Florida is a little place called Seaside.  This is a richy-rich little community that we like to visit and pretend we actually live in but know good and well that we can’t afford the 500 square foot, ocean view house that is somewhere around $1.2 million.  But one can dream.  And we also like to visit all the quaint shops in the area.  Lots of restaurants, clothes boutiques and art galleries.

There’s also a fun little store called Modica Market that sells some of the prettiest and unique food you’ll ever see.  The shelves are loaded with imported oils and canned goods.  The deli and bakery cases hold the most mouth-watering sandwiches, seafood, cold salads, cakes and baked goods you’ll ever lay eyes on.  Pretty much, you want one of each. Of everything.

I, of course, chose two slices of cake, one called Sunshine Orange Cake and the other was Caramel Cake.  The caramel cake was three layers of a super dense golden vanilla cake with the most yummy caramel layered in between and all around it.  The Sunshine Orange Cake consisted of three layers of made-from-scratch orange cake, layered with orange buttercream and topped with white chocolate ganache, orange whipped cream and mini white chocolate chips.

These cakes did not disappoint and we savored every bite!  Good thing that place is nowhere near where I live or I’d be in trouble.  Next up…Tommy Bahamas!

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The Catering Divas Divalicious Bake Shoppe

I had heard about a new bakery in Hollister, MO, The Catering Divas Divalicious Bake Shoppe (what a name!) and got my chance to stop in and visit a couple weekends ago after a trip to White Water in Branson with my sister and her husband.  I felt a little bad dragging them along for my “research” but they didn’t seem to mind.  After a short little drive right down into the heart of downtown Hollister, we arrived at our destination.  I was a little shocked to learn the bakery was just a tiny room off of a bar, so that was a little off-putting at first but the space was cute inside.  On the small countertop were a few pieces of pineapple upside down cake, cookies, brownies, a couple of pastries, a few cake pops, zucchini bread, some quick breads and rolls and a few chocolate cupcakes in the refrigerator.  I thought they’d have more to choose from because they supposedly stay open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday so they might have had a rush that day, but we still managed to choose quite the selection between the four of us.

The things we chose were cupcakes (chocolate with peanut butter buttercream and chocolate with vanilla buttercream), red velvet cake pops, a brownie and a slice of pineapple upside down cake.  The pineapple upside down cake was good but I probably wouldn’t get it again (only because everything else we got was way better).  The brownie was really yummy, more cake-like with a chocolate glaze, drizzled with caramel and sprinkled with pecans.  The red velvet cake pops were also really, really good and not sickeningly sweet like a lot of cake pops I’ve tried.  Possibly the best cake pops I’ve had yet!

And finally, the cupcakes were delicious.  They only had a few chocolate varieties left (I typically like to try white cake with vanilla buttercream).  The chocolate cake part was very moist and had a mild chocolate taste and both the peanut butter and vanilla buttercreams were amazingly smooth and not too sweet…I think the frosting might have actually been an Italian or Swiss buttercream because it definitely did not taste like a typical powder sugar buttercream.

As for the prices, they were very good, if not even a little low on some things.  Jeremy and I got four items and only spent $7.  Overall, we liked the treats very much–you can definitely tell that the owner knows her cake!  I’m already thinking about stopping by for a cupcake the next time I’m in Branson.  Let me know if you’ve been there or plan to stop by sometime soon–I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

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BitterSweet Bakery – St. Louis Bakeries, Pt. 1

Last weekend, Jeremy and I headed to St. Louis to see Jimmy Eat World Saturday night.  The concert didn’t start until 8 p.m. so we had plenty of time to go at a somewhat leisurely pace and make some stops along the way.  We managed to hit up three vintage stores that we came across while driving and then proceeded into St. Louis to check out a couple of bakeries that had pretty decent reviews online.

I’ll start with the second bakery we visited that day, Bittersweet Bakery.  First, the space itself was really cool, one of those refurbished old brick warehouse buildings.  Inside were hardwood floors, exposed ductwork and modern chandeliers.   The bakery case was full of cakes and the countertops displayed quite the assortment of jumbo muffins, breakfast breads, biscotti and jumbo cookies.  I was a little surprised at the lack of selection just judging by what I’d seen on their website.  They did have a small display with a couple of whoopie pies that looked awesome, an amaretti cookie and a couple macaroons.

My first two selections they were out of, a whoopie pie and a mini peanut butter pie.  Apparently they were out of a lot.  So I finally settled on a Chocolate Chunk Cookie and Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake.  Jeremy chose Chocolate Buttermilk Cake.  The cakes themselves were very good, dense and probably some of the most moist cake I’ve ever had.  Inside they had chocolate mousse/vanilla pastry cream fillings and they were topped with a huge swirl of what I thought was Swiss buttercream but apparently it was Italian.  Not sure what the difference is but either way, I loved the frosting.  Jeremy, not so much.  He’s used to the American style of buttercream.  I also loved the fact that you could really see and taste the vanilla bean in mine.  At $5 each they were enough for two to share so we could only eat about half.

The cookie was allright, nothing special.  The texture was pretty good, very chewy but the flavor was somewhat lacking and a teensy bit on the salty side.  I kind of liked it but Jeremy didn’t like it at all.  It was somewhere around $3 and most of it went into the trash, unfortunately.

So, our overall experience here was ok.  We got there around 4 p.m. so I guess it was a little late in the day for them to have much left.  That was really disappointing to me because I would have really liked to have tried some other things.  But I will say their cake was absolutely delicious!  So if you are in the area, get there early for the best selection and definitely split one of the cakes with someone–you won’t be disappointed!

I will have Part 2 of our St. Louis bakery adventures next week–I’ve saved the best for last!  Oh and in case you were wondering, the concert was AWESOME.

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Sugar Leaf Bakery

There is a cute little bakery in Branson, MO that I have been DYING to try for a few years, called Sugar Leaf Bakery.   This past weekend I was finally able to stop in!  I had heard from both family and friends that they had great baked goods and fabulous wedding cakes.  The day that Jeremy and I went they had German Chocolate Cake, Key Lime Pie, Coconut Cake, Carrot Cake, Turtle Cheesecake and an assortment of delicious looking cookies.  So hard to choose!

For me, it was a toss up between the Key Lime Pie and the Coconut Cake but because I had heard they had amazing Coconut Cake, I went with that.  And oh my, was it good.  The cake was moist and dense and the coconut filling was super gooey.  It was all covered in a light whipped cream frosting and toasted coconut.  It had a great balance of flavors and wasn’t sickening sweet so that was nice.  I also got a jumbo snickerdoodle cookie that was chewy, cinnamony and delicious.

As for Jeremy, he apparently was filling the whole caramel/chocolate thing because he got a massive slice of Turtle Cheesecake and a Turtle cookie.  And I have to admit, he chose well.  The cheesecake was a dream.  Seriously.  First, you had a thick layer of chocolate cookie crust which was filled with the creamiest, smoothest vanilla cheesecake filling I think I have ever had.  The cheesecake filling had shavings of dark chocolate all through it and finally the whole thing was topped with a layer of caramel and drizzled with chocolate.  After the first bite I wanted to yank the plate away from him and scarf the whole thing down.  But I refrained.  I have to say, it was probably the best cheesecake I’ve ever had.   And I always thought I made fairly good cheesecake but this one definitely inspired me to improve on my own recipe.  The Turtle cookie was great also…a nice thick chewy chocolate cookie with a pool of caramel in the middle, sprinkled with chopped pecans.  Mmmmmmm!

They also had great looking salads, soup, paninis and other sandwiches.  We are already planning to go back and try lunch sometime and I fully intend to have a slice of that Key Lime Pie!  Do NOT miss this place if you’re in the Branson area–you are definitely in for a treat!

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