A new breed of bakeshop is luring customers away from coffee bars, with generous amounts of butter and sugar as well as caffeine. The owners are often former pastry chefs looking for a place to call their own; their rigorous restaurant training enables them to elevate homey desserts (sticky toffee pudding, apple pie, buttery shortbread cookies) to the level of the extraordinary.
Here is a sampling of some of the most exciting new bakeshops across the country and their best Thanksgiving desserts to make at home.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, San Francisco
Mr. Holmes made national news this year when someone broke in and stole binders containing the secret recipe for its renowned Cruffin. Undeterred, Mr. Holmes continues to sell Cruffins, plus other cult desserts like its astonishing white chocolate–pumpkin mousse pie. 1042 Larkin St.; mrholmesbakehouse.com.
Proof Bakeshop, Atlanta
Working for both Proof and its sister restaurant, Cakes & Ale, helps pastry chef Abigail Quinn come up with ideas. Proof’s sticky toffee pudding cake, above (“a gooey, comforting, warm thing,” Quinn says), was inspired by Cakes & Ale’s version. 100 Hurt St. NE; proofbakeshop.com.
Recipe: Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake
Buttercream Bakeshop, Washington, D.C.
Trained at Union Square Cafe in Manhattan and Birch & Barley in Washington, DC, Tiffany MacIsaac elegantly upgrades lowbrow American desserts. About her take on Ho Hos, she says, “They’re perfect little packages of rich, rich chocolate and peanut butter.” 1250 9th St. NW; buttercreamdc.com.
Bribery Bakery, Austin
When she was still part owner of Foreign & Domestic restaurant, Jodi Elliott launched her Saturday bake sales. Their success inspired her bakery, Bribery (the name wittily refers to her favorite parenting technique). Her crisp shortbread cookies, amped up with cranberries and lime curd, are a holiday essential. 2013 Wells Branch Pkwy., #109; briberybakery.com.
Fluff Bake Bar, Houston
This bakery by day and dessert bar by night is home to Houston’s Sugar Fairy, a.k.a. Rebecca Masson. She deftly adds layers of flavor (sour, salty) to her desserts, and also obsesses over texture: “I do not like toothless apple pie,” she declares. 314 Gray St.; fluffbakebar.com.
Recipe: Mountain Rose Apple Pie