For those of us with fast-paced lifestyles and jam-packed holiday schedules, it’s not always easy to pull everything together and successfully usher in the celebratory spirit.
That’s why the good folks at Cary Magazine have decided to help point you toward several places where you can pick up the perfect dessert for your company party or special gathering at home.
If you’re looking for something different that will help put everyone in a jolly mood this season, consider one of these dazzling delights available at three of Western Wake’s finest food purveyors. Just be sure to tell them we sent you.
Harvest Pumpkin Tart
Among the renowned artisan breads and other fine delicacies created by La Farm’s master baker and co-owner Lionel Vatinet, the exquisite harvest pumpkin tart is no less impressive.
“This is one of our most popular tarts, particularly during the Thanksgiving season,” the Frenchman said. “It is one of those desserts that really melts in your mouth.”
Comprising choice ingredients like pumpkin puree, heavy cream, eggs, sugar and various spices, the tart rests in a perfectly golden, flaky pastry shell base. “We decorate it with pumpkin seeds on top,” Vatinet said.
The tart is available from early November until about mid-December, according to Vatinet, who along with his wife, Missy, is celebrating La Farm’s 10th anniversary and a popular newly added café.
The family-sized harvest pumpkin tart is $21.99 and serves six to eight people. Individual portions are available for just $3.99. It’s best to call ahead to ensure availability or place an order.
La Farm Bakery
4248 Cary Parkway, Cary
Peppermint Black Bottom Cake
Chocoholics will rejoice when they discover the über-decadent peppermint black bottom cake at downtown Cary’s charming Chatham Street Café (formerly Cindy’s House Café). Proprietor Gayla Bonke, who hails from just outside Rochester, N.Y., has worked in the restaurant and catering business for nearly 25 years. “I absolutely love to bake,” she said. “I’m really passionate about it, and I make everything from scratch.”
So what’s the story behind the distinctive black bottom cake? “I used to make cupcakes filled with cream cheese and chocolate chips for my friends, and I called them ‘adult cupcakes’ because they were rich and gooey and too good to be shared with children,” she said with a laugh. “Whenever I opened the restaurant, I figured cupcakes were fun, but most people probably prefer to have cake instead.”
Today, Bonke uses cocoa, Ghirardelli chocolate and peppermint candy to make the cake a must-have item for her sweet-toothed patrons. “It’s very festive for the holidays,” she said.
Chatham Street Café’s peppermint black bottom cake is available for $5.25 a slice or $40 for the whole dessert.
Chatham Street Café
140 E. Chatham St., Cary
At downtown Fuquay-Varina’s bustling Stick Boy Bread Co., owners Josh and Katie Dies serve up a distinctive eggnog cheesecake guaranteed to make your taste buds jingle all the way and then some. No wonder it’s among the full-service bakery’s best-selling seasonal items.
“Last year it was our most popular cheesecake during December, so we carried it over to January,” Katie said.
When it comes to the secret behind this delectable dessert, Katie explained that it starts with their signature cheesecake recipe, and then heavy cream is replaced with eggnog. “We use the highest quality eggnog we can find and then spice it up with nutmeg,” she shared with a smile. “The top is dusted with a snowflake design using nutmeg — or cocoa if people request it.”
Dies emphasized Stick Boy’s commitment to using premium local resources whenever possible. “We’ll go to the farmers market or gourmet grocer to find the highest quality eggnog available,” she said.
For the perfect yuletide beverage to accompany the cheesecake, you can’t go wrong with either hot chocolate or spiced eggnog. Stick Boy’s eggnog cheesecake is priced at $27 for the whole dessert or $3 per slice.
Stick Boy Bread Co.
127 South Main St., Fuquay-Varina