Reader Mailbag: Places to Order A Cake From In Pittsburgh

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sometimes Reader Amy Wrote (a few months ago)…

My usual baker broke her wrist. Name some good cake designers.

First of all, Amy reader status is my fault because I haven’t had time to blog. Also, don’t worry - I got back to Amy! I just didn’t post this yet!

Now, back to the cake.

If there is one thing that I’m passionate about, it’s cake. Pittsburgh is overflowing with delicious bakeries. Here are some of my favorite options broken down into three categories: Presentation, Taste and BOTH!


Prantals - Hands down my favorite bakery in Pittsburgh. The icing is some of the best I’ve ever tasted. And the cake is always pillow-y and fresh! The cherry on the top of Prantals is that they have FANTASTIC prices. I tapped Prantals to create a flamingo first birthday cake and with little direction they churned out this awesomeness. Oh and while we are talking cake, Prantals you must add this bakery’s burnt almond torte to your food bucket list like NOW.

Bethel Bakery - Living on the west side of Pittsburgh, I wasn’t exposed to this South Hills favorite a lot growing up. Flash forward to my wedding in 2010 when Bethel was the preferred vendor. Oh my goodness, the cake is delicious and the icing is also to die for. I worked with them to create a custom shower cake for a friend and they brought my beach vision to life perfectly!

  • Giant Eagle - Yep. My number one in taste only goes to our local supermarket chain Giant Eagle. Their icing is probably right behind Prantals in my book. When I was pregnant I craved their yellow cake with chocolate icing (and now I’m craving it again). Their cupcakes, sheet cake and other pastry prices are super reasonable. Giant Eagles icing rose game is on point, but when it comes to fancy cake shapes they lack some skills. They also have typically bakery theme cakes with plastic figures (hello Disney characters).
  • Oakmont Bakery - I’ve had a number of sweets from this shop, but actually haven’t set foot into the bakery...yet. From the looks of their website, I’m missing out - the storefront is adorable! Back to the cake. It’s good. Oakmont also looks like they dip into some fancy design as well!
  • Ultimate Pastry - This bakery made my taste section purely because I haven’t witnessed their custom cake abilities, but I’ve always had a delicious treat from this Sewickley spot.

  • Vanilla Pastry Studio - Okay, so Vanilla used to be my go-to for all of my sweet needs, but on recent orders I’ve found the cake to be a bit stale. Their icing is nice a fluffy, but not an overall great dessert. HOWEVER, Vanilla has done some of the most amazing custom cake designs. I’m talking crazy cake shapes and awesome fondant detail. This is your place.

Others to Consider
  • Gigi’s Cupcakes - An alternative to a custom cake this chain cupcake retailer is a bit newer to Pittsburgh (McCandless Crossing). I’m still testing the waters here, but the white wedding cupcakes are great!

  • Gaby Et Jules - (above) A French bakery located in Squirrel Hill (and some sweets in Market Square), they are known for their delicious and adorable macarons, but I’ve had some cake here and IT IS SO GOOD. Some of the more delicious decadent chocolate in the city.

Places I Want To Try

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Thirsty Thursday: Coffee

Thursday, September 08, 2016

I’ve had a roller coaster experience with coffee. Never drank it, started drinking it in my early Chicago years (circa 2006-8), then quit cold turkey. Enter 2011. Started drinking a latte here and there. Then I went decaf (I KNOW, eyeroll) because I didn’t want the caffeine, but the taste of something else in the morning. Now with a 1-year-old, I dabble in a cup 2-3 times a week.

As I sip on a sugar-free iced latte from my new go-to, I thought I’d list out my favorite coffee spots in Pittsburgh and a few I hope to hit up. Note that most of my reviews are based on a vanilla latte.  If I’m missing out on the glory of a cup from your favorite spot, please do tell me.

Favorite Coffee Spots In Pittsburgh
  • Nicholas Coffee Roasters - This Market Square spot is MY JAM. I discovered it one day after a haircut (my salon is upstairs). I was getting my husband a cup of Joe and realized their prices were SUPER reasonable. The staff is SUPER friendly and there is also an array of fun snacks in the store.  And the best deal of all - they roast all of their beans in house. (BTW - Adam Levine is a fan).
  • Coffee Tree Roasters - My Shadyside go-to. If the vanilla lattes weren’t delicious enough, CTR offers stickers for your cup. SCORE! Coffee Tree had me dabble in a maple latte after it was one of their seasonal drinks and damn it’s good. They also have a good iced tea.
  • Espresso a Mano - A Lawrenceville stop, for some reason I always refer to this place as Cafe a Mano. Anyways, they have a good iced latte. Sometimes a little more on the sweet side, but still delish.

  • Commonplace Coffee - (above) You have to drive a little into the North Side to get to Commonplace (near The Mattress Factory), but it’s worth the trek. The coffee in this no frills shop is amazing and you can almost always find a spot to park. If you want to enjoy your cup outside, there is a cute little garden across the street. There is also a location in Squirrel Hill AND they also server Leona's Ice Cream (see Zeke's).
  • Zeke’s - Walking into the doors of Zeke’s East Liberty spot, you immediately feel comfortable and a little hipster. The lattes are great and you can pick up a Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwich (WORTH the stop!). Zeke’s has a dumpster drive through (you just gotta look) by the Target, which came in handy when driving around with baby girl.
  • Lili Coffee Shop - A nice little spot in Polish Hill. I wouldn’t recommend driving out of your way for this, but if you are passing through it’s a good option for a cup of brew. They also have brunch options!
  • Carnegie Coffee Company - (below) We tried this spot recently and it is adorable! The shop is located in an old post office and the coffee bar is adorned with old mailboxes!

If I want a regular, hot black cup of coffee, I think Eat ‘N Park has THE BEST.

Coffee Buddah will likely become our new neighborhood go to. My review is still out on this place.

For the record, I’m actually not a Starbucks fan anymore. I’ve realized that these other shops are SO MUCH better than SBUX. I’d also recommend passing on Dunkin’s iced lattes (too sweet) and Crazy Mocha (food is good, coffee is not).

Coffee Spots I Want To Try

I’ve been dabbling in Snapchat a bit with a theme - I only snap what I’m drinking (my name is WhatImDrinking). I never thought I was interesting enough to snap things and I figured my drinking theme went along with this blog name. Follow me if you want to see...well, what I’m drinking!
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