I first heard of the Carlisle Bakery when one of their cakes was presented to me as a surprise for my birthday last year. Seeing it was my first birthday away from home, my mother made arrangements to have the cake delivered to a friend of mine on campus, while he assembled a group of my friends to celebrate. After I had been formally embarrassed with the surprise itself, we opened the box to find a round cake covered in perfectly curled white chocolate shavings and fresh cream, we hesitated to cut into it. This pause didn’t last long, and between two layers of moist vanilla sponge was fresh raspberry buttercream and between the other two, white chocolate mousse. There were nine of us in total and the cake, probably fit for twenty people, was almost completely finished in no time.
I quickly realized that I needed to make a trip to the bakery, conveniently just three blocks from my first year dorm. From across the street, you can see the meticulous multi-tiered window displays full of pastel-colored rain boots and floral covered cakes during the spring and scrumptious leaf-covered desserts in autumnal tones during the fall. Inside, past the ample seating area, a popular spot for a coffee and a chocolate cigar (flaky pastry twisted with chocolate and dusted with sugar), lay cases filled with lemon squares, sticky buns, scones, miniature versions of their signature cakes, doughnuts, biscotti, cannoli and filled cupcakes with hearty dollops of fresh buttercream on top.
My favorite treats include shortbread cookie sandwiches filled with house made raspberry jam and dipped in chocolate, any of the savory quiche options and the chocolate chip cookies. These cookies and the other types, are truly unbelievable, I can’t put my finger on what the baker adds, but they worth the walk! Through the window behind the counter, you can see five-tier cakes being layered in bridal fondant, topsy-turvy cakes being splattered in edible paint for what one can assume to be a chic soiree, and as I turn around to leave with my goodies, one of the attendants walks through the double doors with a small circular cake topped with a perfectly tousled light blue fondant blanket slightly covering a pair of baby feet – a very cute way to celebrate a birth announcement.
Needless to say this birthday tradition has continued, expanded to other friends’ birthdays, and has certainly expanded to include spontaneous celebrations. Whether you are passing by and fancy something sweet, or you are planning a special occasion, the award-winning Carlisle Bakery is truly ‘a crust above the rest.’