Local Bakeries Serve Up December Decadence

Celebrate the holidays with these sweet treats.
Entertaining is easy with petit fours by Queen of Cakes in Edina.

December dazzles with decadent desserts. Let the diet and pending New Year’s resolutions wait. For now, it’s time to indulge your senses with some sugary sensations. Edina desserts are a well-deserved splurge.


Queen of Cakes Inc.
Tiny petit fours have enormous appeal. “Petit fours are kind of making a comeback,” says Terri Leckas, owner. The dollhouse-dimensioned treats are bursting with toothsome sweetness. Queen of Cakes petit fours have many flavorful possibilities, including candy cane-filled chocolate cake or classic red velvet. Pretty poinsettias, Christmas trees and other intricate decorations turn petit fours into art. “We’ve got ’em down now and sell so many because they look so darn cute,” Leckas says. Each cake is custom-made in a laborious process. Precise specifications for height and width ensure a tidy finish. A coating of dark truffle or white chocolate enrobes dainty squares with edible wrapping paper. Neat dipping takes skill; cake crumbs easily overtake the smooth warm chocolate coating. Dibs on any mistakes! Starting at $3.25 each.


Cocoa & Fig
Are they brownies or are they cake? Intensely bittersweet-flavored Valrhona chocolate bouchons will keep you guessing. The two bite-sized medallions are named after the French word for cork. Top-shelf ingredients and piping create bona fide bonbon beauties. While the bouchons are delicious on their own, you can take the cocoa exuberance further and eat them with ice cream or whipped cream, or microwave to create a molten cake. For an ideal spirit pairing, break out the port. “A warm chocolate dessert on a cold winter day sounds wonderful. Nothing beats a deep, rich chocolate in the winter time,” says Laurie Lin, baker-owner. “Every time of year is dessert season, actually. People love their sweets.” We think this is an appropriate mindset for an accomplished French pastry chef so skilled in crafting fine-quality confections. $5 per fourpack.


Convention Grill
The hot fudge sundae is a slice of Americana served on an over-sized platter. For 42 years running, the dessert has been a diner classic as ingrained in the fabric of the place as the red-checked tablecloths. Fame spread during the 1990s, when the recipe appeared in Bon Appétit. Enjoy the original anytime in Edina. Even during the coldest weather, ice cream remains popular, and this hot fudge sundae’s overflow never fails to turn heads. Fanciful puffs of whipped cream droop over big scoops of vanilla cream with all the whimsy of a storybook illustration. A mere tulip glass is not enough to contain the surplus of creamy sweetness; good thing the sundae comes on a dinner plate to catch the inevitable drips and corral the bubbling hot fudge sauce (chopped peanuts and sliced bananas are optional). Dive in with your spoon, share the thrill and create a sweet memory. Large $5.95, small $4.95.


Patisserie Margo
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced the Continental but only Patisserie Margo can bake that Euro sentiment into a cake. Part German Black Forest cake, part Italian zuppa and resembling an English trifle (prepared at a French bakery), the zuppa torte has a multi-layered personality. It’s fashioned as an elaborate sandwich that begins and ends with chocolate cake, with a splash of seasonal splendor in between all the buttercream. The silky vanilla Bavarian cream filling is lit up by eye-popping deep-red cherries and a tiny tinsel of chocolate balls. “It’s a really nice balance of cake and mousse, with the crunchy texture of Valrhona pearls; and the brandied cherries make it more adult,” says owner Margo Bredeson. The cherries mirror the cake’s red fondant top. Zuppa torte cherries are symbolic of the indulgence of the holidays. “You know when it gets to be one of those long days—a cherry or two will disappear,” says Bredeson. Call ahead so you don’t miss out. $45.


Edina Grill
Minnesotans hold a special place in their hearts for pie. Pie is not just revered, its glory stems from our national pride. Among fruit pies, and just behind apple pie, the banana cream pie places as a perpetual winner. The clever crew at the Edina Grill serves this version with a sweet twist or two. A sauce of sautéed bananas with candied walnuts pools alongside a fluted dish of banana custard, graham cracker crust crumbles and whipped cream. Built fresh to order, this dessert enchants with its playfulness. Luckily, you can experience this pie year-round. “The dessert itself doesn’t translate into a season,” says Francis Gonzalez, directory of culinary. “Banana cream pie translates to any season and time of year.” So there’s never a need to skip your dessert. Banana cream pie is always in season! $8.50.


Pittsburgh Blue
Red velvet cake celebrates all of life’s moments: birthdays, anniversaries, promotions and more. After countless fêtes and finales, the red velvet cake has become a Parasole standard. The company’s bakery turns out scratch-made red velvet cakes for its sister restaurants, including Pittsburgh Blue and Salut. “It’s something everyone looks forward to, and heaven forbid they take it off the menu,” says executive chef Anthony Leonhardi. A super-sized slab of three-tiered cake revels in extravagance. You might want to break out the champagne for this dessert. Sweet, buttery cream-cheese frosting anchors the pudding-like layers into a lusciously moist cake. Sides of Sebastian Joe’s black cherry truffle ice cream and homemade strawberry sauce echo the cake’s red hue. Family-style portions invite sharing, with enough for the whole table to enjoy a nibble. $11.95 slice, $70 whole.


Sweet Retreat Cupcake Boutique
Fruitcake garners the gamut of opinions from good to bad to ugly. But that was before fruitcake cupcakes came to town. Sweet Retreat brings you holiday treasures. Fruitcake lovers will be enraptured, and haters will surely reconsider their ill-fated stand. These lovelies are all a fruitcake should be and better. Rich, moist, carrot cake batter is supercharged from brandy-soaked dates, raisins, cherries and sweet orange peel. A puff of cream cheese frosting seals in freshness. Bite into bliss. The joys of Christmases past rekindle with every spicy-sweet crumb. “People are afraid of it because they see fruitcake, but I think it is delicious,” says owner Stephanie Kissner. “To me, it is like a taste of the holidays.” $3.


Patrick’s Bakery & Café
The napoleon is more than just a dessert. With origins dating back to the 16th century, this pastry epitomizes the “grande cuisine,” or high art, of French fare with its elegant simplicity and divinely regal taste. This is a favorite pastry in France, says Patrick Bernet, owner. Fun fact: Napoleon had little to do with the creation or naming of the dessert. Chef Marie-Antoine Carême developed the napoleon into a French culinary icon. In France a mille-feuille (the French word for the pastry) is often an afternoon accompaniment to coffee or tea, says Bernet. You can recreate the experience in style at Patrick’s. His version of the famed napoleon brings the glorious dessert to Edina. Crispy, tasty alternating layers of pastry and cream are not too sweet. “It’s the way you fold. The pastry is supposed to be a thousand layers when done,” says Bernet. The stack of pastry and cream melds into confectionery magic. Combed vanilla and chocolate fondant decorates the top. $4.95.


Wuollet Bakery
Stoke up your family festivities with a yule log cake. The traditional French bûche de Noël exemplifies the hearth and home. Wuollet Bakery knows how to convey the warm spirit in its rendition of this French-inspired Christmas classic. Fresh-baked cake swirls with a thick ribbon of chocolate or crème de menthe filling. “It is a fantastic traditional dessert fit for the holidays. The rich devil’s food cake, paired with the velvety smooth Bavarian cream filling, creates the perfect indulgence for the end of the night,” says employee Stephanie LaPlante. Preorders suggested. Call for information about sizes and prices.