Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Magical Midwest Bakery Tour

Being from the Midwest, I've written before that I think America's heartland sometimes gets a bad rap. When I tell friends and colleagues that I'm visiting Ohio, they usually roll their eyes and try to commiserate with how boring and slow-paced a trip back to the Buckeye State must be ("What IS a buckeye??" they always ask sardonically). In fact, I'm proud of my roots as a Columbusite (yes, that's a person from Columbus) and on my recent trip I was eager to take advantage of all that Ohio's capital city has to offer. It's true that Columbus offers many of the typical summer activities you'd expect in the Midwest; there's a state fair with livestock shows and fried anything on a stick, as well as a festival devoted entirely to sweet corn. However, I was excited to checkout many of the same activities that I often enjoy while living in the big city. In addition to a gallery hop, wine tasting and international heritage festival, I was thrilled to learn that the global fad of cupcakes has even made it to my hometown.

Thanks to a great tip from My Columbus Ohio Blog, my first stop was Bakery Gingham in the German Village neighborhood of Columbus and, taking one look at their website, I knew that I had made a good decision. Just opened at this location in January, I was intrigued by owner and chef Amanda Ellis, who started her career in the corporate world before following her passion for baking (if only I could be so brave!) Stepping into the shop around 10 am (admittedly the crack of dawn when it comes to respectable cupcake eating times) the bright decor with splashes of green and pink was immediately inviting and uplifting. After waiting patiently for what seemed like an entire preschool class to make their cupcake selections, my co-taster (Hi, mom!) and I quickly went to work picking out just about one of every cupcake in the case. What I liked best was the unique use of flavor combinations like Twice Chai, Neopolitan, and peanut butter/banana creation Elvis Has Left The Cupcake. I also loved the moistness of the cakes and thought they were just the right sized portions. Checkout Bakery Gingham's website to see all the great flavors they have on rotation (Cinnamon Toast!) as well as their full menu which also features cookies, bars (it is the Midwest after all), scones, coffee cakes, ice cream and cakes to order. As a bonus, the nice employee that helped us also used to work at Billy's Bakery in NYC, which would have been the next stop on my Big Apple Bakery Tour if only I'd had just thismuch more time in town.
Our next stop on the Columbus Cupcake Crusade was Pink Moon Cupcakes in historic Powell. Opened in 2007, I don't know how I could have missed this adorable bakery for so long. Nestled among antique shops housed in 19th century clapboard buildings, it's hard not to be wooed by Pink Moon's location. Once inside, the quaint atmosphere continues with cupcakes showcased by flavor in individual cake domes, the menu in pastel on a giant chalkboard and a small seating area straight out of an old-time soda shop. Our cupcake mania continued here where we chose Buckeye (chocolate cake and real peanut butter frosting inspired by the state candy...yes, the buckeye) Pineapple Crumbcake, Devil's Food and were gifted a Strawberry cupcake baked with pieces of real strawberry throughout--a first for me! Also owner-operated, Pink Moon is inspired by a lifetime of home baking and is a tasty addition to the community.

By the way, during my research I came across this Wikipedia article on Cuisine of the Midwest, do you think they captured the flavors of your hometown?

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the shout out! so glad you liked bakery gingham! i can't wait to try pink moon!!