Small Bites, Big Taste

Looking to level up your holiday treats this season? Rather than offering the same cakes, pies, and other delectable delights this year, consider bite-sized or miniature delicacies instead.

We found four bona fide dessert spots serving up small indulgences that seem tiny to the eye but deliver big on flavor.

Slice Pie Company

Overview: Hardworking entrepreneur Kristen Mullins launched Slice in 2014 following years of baking scratch-made pies with her father and business partner, Michael Mullins. The company’s signature apple pie is fashioned from a cherished Mullins family recipe that won a blue ribbon at the North Carolina State Fair.

What began in a detached garage at the Mullins’ home has grown to an easily accessible storefront near downtown Raleigh.

“It was time to grow a new layer of the business, but ultimately we needed a larger kitchen,” said Kristen Mullins, who added that she gets inspired by seeing her preteen daughter Eliana “proudly light up” every time she tells people what her mom does for a living.

Slice has been designated as having the best pies in North Carolina by USA Today, MSN, and The Daily Meal.

Sweet Deets: The store affords patrons a grab-and-go location for slices, half and whole pies, and the wildly popular four-pack mini samplers. Enjoy seasonal and staple flavors like pumpkin, pecan, double chocolate chess, and coconut cream. Order online or preorder for local pickup. Nationwide shipping is available.

Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. When you visit, be on the lookout for Rosie, a restored 1931 Ford Model A coupe that’s often parked out front.

Pricing: A four-pack mini sampler is $30. For walk-ins, packs are accessible in baker’s choice, but they are also available for preorder in bulk.

1400 S. Saunders St., Raleigh
(919) 349-8499

Duck Donuts

Overview: Originated in 2007 in the quaint Outer Banks town of Duck, NC, this donut outpost is known for its made-to-order creations in a “duckzillion” customizable combinations. The business has more than 100 locally owned and operated shops across 22 states plus Puerto Rico and two international locations. The Cary store opened in December 2014.

“We have a proprietary donut mix and use a soy-based cooking oil with no trans fats,” said Brandon Trimyer, who owns Duck Donuts locations in Cary, Raleigh, and Durham along with his wife, Kelly Trimyer (also known as “the drizzle queen”).

Sweet Deets: Sold by the two dozen, mini donuts are not made on demand, but rather by preorder at least a day in advance (calling the store is best). Assorted seasonal flavors available until November 24 include apple cobbler, pumpkin roll, and coffee cake glazed with streusel and powdered sugar. Yuletide options include mint chocolate drizzle, holiday sprinkle mix, chocolate with chopped bacon pieces, and vanilla with raspberry drizzle.

“The wonderful thing about the minis is that we can coat and top them just like our regular-sized donuts,” Brandon Trimyer explained.

Hours of Operation: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

Pricing: $19.50 for two dozen mini donuts.

100 Wrenn Drive, Suite 101, Cary
(919) 468-8722

Nothing Bundt Cakes

Overview: Founded in 1997, this Texas-based franchise artisanal bakery boasts more than 430 locations in over 40 states offering a “modern spin on a classic treat.”

Bundt cakes are handcrafted daily onsite and topped with splurge-worthy cream cheese frosting. An exclusive recipe yields cakes as moist as you’ll find anywhere.

“We keep a signature assortment of everything readily available in the case at all times,” said manager Stephanie Urso, a Connecticut native with a culinary school background.

Orders may be placed online or over the phone, but walk-ins are welcome. “We always suggest people order ahead of time, and our website offers a great online ordering system,” Urso added.

Sweet Deets: Be sure to check out the bite-sized Bundtinis as well as Bundtlets, which involve individually packaged miniature Bundt cakes. Gluten-free options also are available for Bundtlets and 8-inch cakes. Bundtinis are sold by the dozen, but you may custom select up to four flavors in a single box.

The 10 available flavors include chocolate chocolate chip, lemon, red velvet, and white chocolate raspberry. Seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice and chocolate peppermint chip resonate well during the year-end holidays.

Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (closed Sunday).

Pricing: A dozen Bundtinis cost $24. Toppers like ugly sweaters and Santa hats are an additional $6 per dozen. Bundtlets are $5 each.

2008 Market Center Drive
Park West Village, Morrisville
(919) 694-5300

Once in a Blue Moon

Overview: A downtown Cary mainstay for 25 years, Once in a Blue Moon is best known for its exquisite custom cakes, cookies, pastries, and more. During the holiday season, hand-decorated sugar cookies steal the spotlight.

Proprietor Lily Reed, who originally hails from Illinois, started working as a baker at Once in a Blue Moon back in 2001.

“I left to work at some other restaurants in Durham and Chapel Hill, but I came back here in 2005,” Reed explained, adding that she served as head decorator for 15 years. “When previous owner Roger Dagan retired five years ago, I bought the bakery from him.”

Sweet Deets: Among the most popular small items are assorted brownie bites, but what Reed calls “little fancies” include miniature items like cream puffs, French silk bites, key lime bites, and bite-sized cheesecakes.

“For the cream puffs, we make pate a choux (French pastry dough) and fill them with pasty cream, dip them in ganache, and drizzle them with white chocolate,” Reed said.

A minimum notice of 48 hours is needed for special orders.

Hours of Operation: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Pricing: Miniature items run from $2.25 to $5 apiece (at least a dozen items are required). Small brownie bites trays are $38.99 for 28 pieces, while large brownie bites trays cost $58.99 and include 52 pieces.

115-G W. Chatham St.
Ashworth Village, Cary
(919) 319-6554

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