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By year’s end, Amaru Confections will open a custom cake shop that owner Chris Wyatt believes will redefine the retail bakery experience in Boise, Idaho. The shop will feature a “show and tell” area where a large glass wall will showcase completed wedding cakes and serve as a type of “revolving art gallery” for customers.

“We are putting in a glass wall so that people can sit down and watch our decorators put the finishing touches on works of art,” Wyatt says. “This place will be the first of its kind in Boise, featuring live music, couches to sit and relax. People can sit down and share a dessert and a glass of wine. This fills a void, as we are going to appeal to the arts and entertainment crowd.”
 
Who knew years ago that cakes would become works of art and such an attraction for consumers to flock to watch decorators in action?
 
Wyatt is watching the trends closely and believes that bakery has a unique opportunity to fit into the entertaining world by offering a lower cost alternative to couples going out for an expensive dinner.
 
“We’re modeling our place after Extraordinary Desserts in San Diego,” he says. “We really like the idea.”
 
Created by celebrated pastry chef and author Karen Krasne, San Diego’s Extraordinary Desserts has dedicated itself to being an elegant dessert bar at its cafe near Balboa Park and patisserie / restaurant in Little Italy, which in addition to lavish cakes, tortes, pastries and ice creams features a wide selection of savory dishes. The goal here is “dazzling artistry, sublime tastes and attentive service.”
 
In 2013, Amaru Confections became the only commercial bakery in the Boise area to operate a traditional retail bakery, as well as a completely separate and 100 percent dedicated gluten-free bakeshop. The bakery offers custom cakes, breakfast breads, and cupcakes as gluten-free, also bakes several gluten-free and vegan desserts, many of which are available for purchase online and at various grocery stores, coffee shops and restaurants throughout Boise.
 
Custom cake and online orders are available for delivery throughout the Treasure Valley and within a 150-mile radius of Boise to include Sun Valley, McCall, Stanley and Ontario. “What drives customers to come back to us is the inspiration they get from helping us create their unique cakes,” Wyatt says. “What we do makes people happy. People need to feel that joy around their special occasion. You just don’t get that same feeling when you go to a supermarket and pick up a sheet cake.” 
 
Now, the bakery owner believes it is time to take their marketing up a notch with the arrival soon of their new retail location that will serve as a date night dessert bar, in addition to helping promote their unique cakes for weddings and other special occasions.
 
“In the 16 years we have been in business the national television shows have done us a great service,” he says. “People are willing to spend the money for great cakes. We are building five-tier wedding cakes every weekend.”
 
As a recent example, Amaru Confections made a $500 groom’s cake in which they used a three-dimensional printer to make the gears and rotors for a two-foot-tall helicopter cake. The propellers actually spun around the cake.
 
“Knowing what we know now, if I did it again, we’d charge closer to $800,” Wyatt says. “But when people saw it, the wow factor was worth it. It became a conversation piece. Eighty percent of the cakes we do, we know our exact costs. But sometimes you have to try something new.”
 

Branching Out

 
In other new ideas to promote and expand your brand recognition, acclaimed Boudin Bakery is joining a new retail development Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek, California.
 
The iconic open-air retail center, anchored by Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Macy's, will unveil additions that more than double mall shop space, adding 50 new stores. In all, total GLA for Broadway Plaza, the foremost retail destination for the East Bay market of San Francisco since 1951, is now more than 900,000 square feet. 
 
Favorite local experiences add to the redeveloped property's overall appeal. "We are excited to be back in Walnut Creek and excited to be a part of the newly renovated Broadway Plaza," says Danielle Merkins, general manager for Boudin SF Walnut Creek.
 
From a tiny, old-world bakery on San Francisco's Dupont Street, Boudin has evolved to the state-of-the-art facilities and services and emerged as San Francisco's oldest continuously running company. The brand now includes neighborhood bakery cafes, fine bistros, and nontraditional locations.
 
With a quaint exterior that recalls the company's Gold Rush roots, Boudin Bakery is a leading attraction at Disney's California Adventure park. This location offers consumers the chance to watch bakers work in the demonstration bakery, and light meals are also served at the Pacific Wharf Café, just steps away. And at San Francisco and Oakland’s international airports, customers can enjoy a memorable taste of Boudin by ordering a signature sandwich on Boudin sourdough bread, soup in a bread bowl, or buy a fresh loaf of bread for the journey.
 

Focusing on Local Ingredients

 
Pastry chefs are making their mark with the addition of hyperlocal ingredients. The newest member of Chicago’s local food movement is B., a farm-to-table patisserie and restaurant located on 150 sprawling acres in suburban upscale Oak Brook just 30 minutes west of downtown.
 
Among the highlights, the 167-seat full-service restaurant features a patisserie helmed by an award-winning pastry chef, a bourbon-focused lounge, Chef’s Gardens for ingredient sourcing, and an on-site honey harvesting program aimed at raising awareness for declining honeybees. 
 
The restaurant has partnered with a lineup of notable Midwestern farms and purveyors, including Viking Farm, Butcher and Larder, Great American Cheese, Seedling Farm, Heritage Prairie Farm, Kilgus Farm, and Local Foods. Thin crust pizzas are drizzled with house-farmed B. Honey.
 
Featured dessert include Springtime Sangria (made with triple sec semifreddo, red wine granita, raspberry sauce, candied rhubarb, crystallized rose petals) and Milk ‘N’ Honey (tres leches honey cake, B. Honey, dehydrated milk foam, honey-oatmeal crumble, white chocolate honey comb, edible flowers).

 

Springtime Sangria from B. Patisserie
  
 
Headed by pastry chef Erica Tomei, who won the American Culinary Federation’s cake competition in 2014, B. Patisserie continues to raise the overall sensory experience at B. with its fresh-baked aromas and creative offerings. B. Patisserie features Tomei’s daily hand-crafted specialties, everything from honey cinnamon scones made with house-farmed B. Honey to artisan breads started from home-grown yeasts.
     
“My creations flow as an extension of Chef Sean’s food,” says Tomei, who accepts custom orders for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and the like. “Chef and I can take any special request – egg-free, nut-free, gluten-free – to fit any dietary need.”
 
Tomei’s unique ability for flavor profiling is evident in her beautifully balanced concepts, whether it’s a honey cupcake or a cinnamon swirl brioche. She admittedly is not afraid to think outside the box, to mix a little sweet with savory. Tomei’s “gift for combining flavors” to create something truly unique translates across cultures and taste buds. 
 
In similar fashion, Posto 9, a Brazilian Gastropub, recently introduced Dani Borow as executive pastry chef in Lakeland, Florida. Borow is responsible for the day to day operation of the pastry kitchen, creating and executing desserts, pastries, and Brazilian appetizers for Posto 9.
 
Borow comes to Posto 9 with 15 years of experience as a pastry chef. Before joining Posto 9, Borow was the owner of Buttercup Gourmet Bakery in Lakeland. She began her career at the Great Harvest Bread Company, in Annapolis, Maryland. Prior to starting her own business, she has worked at several Marriott International properties, and was the bakery and pastry lead chef at their largest property, The World Center Marriott in Orlando.
 
"When I learned about Posto 9's concept, I immediately fell in love with it. Being a native of Brazil, I passionately started dreaming up how I could take all those childhood flavors and elevate them and transform them into something that would entertain the American palate. Making the move to Posto 9 was something that happened naturally, as if life and career had come full circle for me," Borow says.
 

Fall Menus

 
The surest way to build your brand to more customers is by promoting seasonal foods. Bakery café chain Au Bon Pain recently introduced its new fall menu featuring innovative seasonal baked goods, classic savory sandwiches, flavor-packed soups, and an indulgent new latte that puts a unique twist on classic pumpkin.
 
The new menu features a number of traditional bakery items and beverages that harness the popular flavor-rich ingredients of autumn. New limited-time offerings include Apple Streusel Muffin, a flaky Pumpkin Croissant and Pumpkin Blondie. These new baked goods pair well with morning pick-me-up’s like Pumpkin Latte, a traditional guest favorite served hot or iced, and the new Pumpkin Chai Latte, a distinctive recipe that features green chai tea blended with pumpkin spice and a touch of cinnamon.

 

Pumpkin Croissant from Au Bon Pain
 

“For the recipes in our new fall menu, we were inspired by the cozy flavors of the season to create indulgent, satisfying items as well as more healthful options that are still bursting with flavor,” says Katherine See, Au Bon Pain’s executive chef.

To celebrate one of its first and most popular menu items, Au Bon Pain will be hosting a free Mini Chocolate Croissant Day on September 13 at participating locations. The fast casual chain is also offering a 2 for $5 deal on all croissants and croisbuns throughout the season.
 
The fall menu also introduces the new Smoky Swiss Turkey Sandwich. A crossover between a Reuben and a Rachel, the Smoky Swiss Turkey offers a flavorful combination of melted Swiss cheese over sliced turkey that is topped with smoky BBQ sauce, Vidalia onion coleslaw, and a zesty spread on toasted whole grain wheat bread.
 
Other leaders in fast casual are promoting new fall-inspired bakery treats. Dunkin' Donuts is celebrating the return of fall with a harvest of donuts. Dunkin' Donuts is once again putting the tastes of creamy chocolate and REESE'S Peanut Butter together in one tasty treat with the return of the REESE'S Peanut Butter Square. For a new sweet autumn treat, Dunkin' Donuts fans can also enjoy favorite fall flavors of caramel and apple with the new Caramel Apple Croissant Donut.
 
A creative twist on the classic candy, Dunkin' Donuts' REESE'S Peanut Butter Square is filled with rich and creamy REESE'S peanut butter buttercreme, topped with chocolate icing and finished with an orange icing drizzle to match the colors of the traditional REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups. The Caramel Apple Croissant Donut is a glazed croissant donut with apple filling, finished with caramel icing drizzle. Both items will be available for a limited time beginning today at participating Dunkin' Donuts restaurants.
 
Dunkin' Donuts also has a new, special offer making it easy for coffee lovers to enjoy an afternoon espresso beverage. From noon to 6 p.m. each day at participating Dunkin' Donuts restaurants nationwide, guests can purchase a medium hot or iced espresso beverage for the special price of only $1.99. Guests can customize their latte or macchiato with any sweetened coffee flavor swirl, including seasonal flavors such as Salted Caramel or Pumpkin.
 
Dunkin' Donuts' newest breakfast sandwich selection, the Belgian Waffle Breakfast Sandwich, is available for limited time as well. The new Belgian Waffle Breakfast Sandwich features Cherrywood smoked bacon, egg and American cheese served between two thick, deep-ridged Belgian Waffles, golden brown on the outside and fluffy and light inside for a scrumptious and satisfying sandwich served any time of day.
 
To celebrate Dunkin' Donuts' winning waffles, the brand has launched a new mobile game. "Savor the Flavor" Instant Scratch & Win Game features a virtual waffle-themed scratch card, giving fans a daily opportunity at winning Dunkin' Donuts mGifts through September 30.