While traditional wedding cakes remain the standard, many brides are opting to change up their dessert offerings with sweet treats that run the gamut from macarons and chocolate-chip cookies to mini pies and cake pops. From candy buffets to custom creations (have you tried a cruffle?), here are seven San Francisco bakeries breaking the mold and bucking tradition to make inventive and delicious desserts guests are sure to love.
Sift Dessert Bar (Above)
Sift founders Andrea Ballus and Corey Fanfa won Food Network's Cupcake Wars in 2011, so there's no doubt that the baking duo has skills; one taste of their cupcakes, cookies, macarons, mini pies, and ice-cream sandwiches confirms that they know how to turn simple ingredients into something sublime. They even invented their own unique creation, the cruffle, a decadent confection of cake and frosting mixed together and hand dipped in chocolate. They'll work with your tastes and colors to create a custom dessert bar, and with locations in San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma, they cover the whole Bay Area. *Read real brides' reviews here! *
Photo: Courtesy of Pretty Please Bakeshop
In addition to homemade cupcakes, cookies, brownies, macarons, and mini pies, Pretty Please offers something truly special: twinks, which are similar in shape and size to those Twinkies you loved as a kid (only so much better). The oblong cream-filled cakes come in both the classic yellow cake as well as more refined flavors like pumpkin spice and red velvet. Read real brides' reviews here!
Photo: Kara's Cupcakes
The OG of San Francisco cupcakes, Kara opened her first cupcake bakery in 2005; now there are 10 Bay Area locations of the beloved shop. The tasty cupcakes are handmade in small batches using local and organic products and come in standard varieties (sweet vanilla, peanut butter chocolate) and not-so-standard (passionfruit, java). There's also a line of gluten-free cupcakes with the same delicious flavor but no wheat. Caramel corn, handmade marshmallows, and seasonal cookies are also available. For added fun, book the "Karavan" — a cupcake food truck that will park at your venue. Read real brides' reviews here!
Photo: Courtesy of Cako
Cako is best known for its cupcakes, which come in delectable, creative flavors such as orange creamsicle, maple bacon, Snickers and strawberry cheesecake, so if you're looking for something beyond the usual, this is a great option. In addition to cupcakes, they also create delicious macarons, cake pops, and a half-dozen varieties of cookies, such as Mayan chocolate, snickerdoodle, Mexican wedding cookies, and even paleo-compliant cookies. There are three locations in San Francisco and one in San Jose.
Photo: Courtesy of Bitchin Baklava
For something that completely breaks the usual cake mold, opt for savory-sweet baklava. Bitchin Baklava delivers party trays of the Middle Eastern treat in both classic walnut or walnut with semi-sweet chocolate chips plus more unusual flavors such as PB&J, Asia peanut, and almond mocha. As an added bonus, it's a delicious way to tie in a nod to your culture if your family comes from Greek or Turkish descent.
Photo: Sweet Lauren Cakes
For the largest selection of cake pop flavors and varieties, check out Sweet Lauren Cakes, which creates its cakes and cake pops with quality ingredients like local Ghirardelli cocoa, Strauss Creamery butter and Tahitian vanilla beans. Brown butter, sweet vanilla, and mint chocolate are just a few of the flavors available and designs are custom made to your preferences. Read real brides' reviews here!
Photo: Courtesy of SF Candy Bar
SF Candy Bar creates custom candy buffets, sourcing candy based on your chosen colors, flavors and varieties. Candy options include caramel, chocolate, coconut, licorice, mints, sour candy, gummies, marshmallows, lollipops, taffy, rock candy, gum balls, jelly beans, and so much more. If you loved it as candy-crazed kid, they can probably find it! They can also provide cookies, popcorn, and cake pops, plus they'll provide beautiful serving ware and take-home bags so guests can grab a sweet treat to go. __