You know what makes everything better? Cake. The curative power of dessert is a real thing, at least when it comes to our emotional state during a time of social distancing, quarantine, and—quite likely—cabin fever. But fortunately, while the pandemic continues to command headlines and uproot life as we know it, there’s still cake, and these three Chicago bakeries are here to provide sweet, sweet comfort.
Photo courtesy of Dinkel’s Bakery/Facebook
Bon Vivant Cakes
First up is the adorably sassy confections from Bon Vivant Cakes, which actually has a line of quarantine-themed cakes for this weird and unfamiliar time. The custom sweets are the imaginative handiwork of pastry chef Emily Nejad. Each cake is shaped like a heart (aww!) and emblazoned with quarantine-inspired frosting phrases such as In This Together, Stay Home, and Can’t Touch This. If you’re in a mood, you can crank it up a notch with a Fuck This Sucks cake; just be sure to not share that one with the kids. Flavor options include a birthday cake or chocolate base, with fillings like strawberry preserves, salted caramel, and vanilla buttercream, and each cake ($70) is large enough to feed eight. Visit the Fancy Heart Cake page on Bon Vivant’s website to place an order for delivery or no-contact pickup.
Perhaps you’d like a cake that doesn’t remind you of the pandemic. If you’re looking for something a little more classic, Dinkel’s Bakery is a go-to for both local delivery and national shipping, with lots and lots of desserts to choose from. The long-standing Lakeview bakeshop specializes in German treats and pastries, like stollen, strudel, pretzels, and black forest torte with cherry kirsch filling. The stollen is Dinkel’s bread and butter, and it’s sure to sweeten up any socially distant situation. The recipe for this fruitcake-like dessert features almonds, pineapple, and golden raisins soaked in rum and brandy. After baking, the loaves get a glaze of melted butter and powdered sugar. In addition to other available cake options, like coffee cake, brandied fruitcake, and whiskey-soaked Bundt cake, the bakery ships its famed chocolate chip butter cookies, which are always a hit.
Bittersweet Pastry Shop
Another Lakeview institution, Bittersweet Pastry Shop has long been revered for its elegant, French-inspired desserts and pastries, including beautiful cakes, quiches, breads, and scones. Fittingly, the café has added a designated Social Distancing Menu to its website, featuring a lengthy lineup of dishes and sweets that are particularly good for taking home and savoring over the course of several days with family members. The offerings, available for delivery and pickup, number plenty of savory bread options, but we’re really here for the cake. In particular, the flourless chocolate mousse cake, the streusel coffee cake, and the buttery berry-studded clafoutis.