They say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, and that phrase may never be truer than it is at the holidays. If you’re hankering for a sticky bun before work or surprising your loved one with one-of-a-kind fudge this holiday season, you’re in luck; the Southern Minnesota area has bakery and specialty treat shops aplenty for every sweet tooth you know (your own included).
The Perfect Day Cakes
324 N. Cedar Ave., Owatonna
Thea Farrington, owner of Perfect Day Cakes in Owatonna is one of the people who bakes to express their joy.
“I love the traditions that I get to see that people have over the holidays,” she said. “Over the years it’s been fun to get to know the customers well enough to know what they’re baking or wanting to order for the holidays.”
When it comes to selling items for the holidays, Farrington said cookies and cupcakes that are nicely packaged tend to be the biggest gift items that she sees fly off the shelves.
“Of course French macaroons are adorable for someone who wants a little more of an elegant treat,” she suggested. “Chocolate covered strawberries work for Christmas, not just for Valentine’s Day, too. We decorate those and cake pops. They both look great decorated for the holidays.”
Along with macaroons, cake pops and chocolate covered strawberries, you can find decorated cupcakes, frosted sugar cookies, caramel rolls and pies a plenty at Perfect Day Cakes.
303 Division St. S., Northfield
Co-owner of CakeWalk Bakery Teara Myers said her favorite part of the holidays is enjoying the wonderful smells as holiday memories of baking with her grandma flood her mind.
If you’re looking for a party tray to bring to a work gathering and are wanting to experience those holiday smells that Myers loves, CakeWalk should be a stop on your list.
“We have bar trays that include mini size bars with a variety of flavors like lemon, fudge brownie, seven layer and turtle brownie,” Myers said.
In addition, CakeWalk has special petite pastry trays that include samplings of cannoli’s, raspberry mascarpone’s, éclairs, cream puffs, fresh berry treats and mini chocolate flourless tortes.
318 Central Ave. N. #101, Faribault
607 S. Front Street, Mankato
With a location in Faribault and Mankato, Bluebird Cakery offers something for just about everyone, including a unique pie promo.
“If you bring your own dish, we’ll make a pie in it so it looks like you made it and you can trick your family,” Faribault store leader and CFO Chelsea Hein said with a laugh.
Hein says the pie promo helps get customers in the festive spirit, which is something she looks forward to each year.
“My team at the Cakery is like my extended family,” she said. “During the holidays we get together and have a big party so we get be together.”
For customers having their own holiday parties, Hein said the store’s ugly sweater sugar cookies are a huge hit, as are seven layer bars and Scotchachroos. For the person looking for a non-edible holiday gift, Hein suggests a Bluebird coffee mug with a gift certificate inside.
Ruf Acres Market
220 Central Ave. N., Suite 102, Faribault
If you’re like Ruf Acres Market owner Ramon Carrion, one of your favorite things about the holidays is being able to support local organizations.
“I don’t want to buy something for my mom that she can buy herself,” he said. “I want to give her something homemade that she can’t find anywhere else.”
That’s why he offers a little bit of everything at his Faribault business. From Kul chocolate to Ruf Acres Farm pure maple syrup, he has it all. Holiday shoppers can find local made teas and hot sauces, vegan BBQ sauce, spices, beans, homemade soap, lip balm and organic laundry soap at Ruf Acres Market.
For centuries, sweet treats and food have been seen as an expression of love. Maybe it’s because food is something everyone can relate to or maybe it’s because it’s a way to express one’s own tastes to someone else.
Whatever it may be for you, one of these or the many other unique bakeries around Southern Minnesota is sure to have something to please the lucky person on the receiving end of your sweetly-conceived thoughtfulness.
Bluebird: Bluebird Cakery in Faribault and Mankato offers decorated sugar cookies, which make the perfect holiday gift.
Ruf: Are you looking for a special type of chocolate to complete a gift? Ruf Acres Market in Faribault has a unique selection of gourmet chocolate.
By Anna Vangsness