Thursday, May 6, 2010


My stomach and teeth are screaming at me today. This is why...

When I was in Iowa City, I did a bit of a cakewalk, visiting some local bakeries and grocery stores. Pictured above is one that I actually had to drive to, as it is located in Coralville near the Oakdale campus (2180 Norcor Ave). Yummy's is a bakery that specializes in cakes. The previous location on the Coralville strip flooded in 2008, but luckily the owner decided to rebuild. It's now in a new strip mall in the midst of a eerie neighborhood where every house looks exactly the same. Sort of Edward Scissorhand-ish minus the pastels.

We walked in and were greeted by beguiling scent of fresh baked cake. The store is small, but very clean and shiny, with display cases filled with individual portions of baked goods. The walls had photos of wedding and occasion cakes which you can also view on their Facebook page.

Instead of cupcakes, Yummy's has squares of their cakes in just about every flavor conceivable. It was almost too much to choose from, but I was able to narrow it down to a simple marble cake with chocolate buttercream. My sister chose milk chocolate- chocolate cake filled with chocolate sauce, chocolate mousse, and topped with chocolate whipped cream. Oy Vey. Next time I will go with something more exotic like the Mango Mousse or Almond Marzipan.

They also offer cookies and pastries. The cinnamon rolls are, dare I say, cinn-full...nope better not. That would be lame.

So here is my cute container o' cake. The yellow and chocolate flavors integrated nicely in my mouth.

The frosting was just the right amount, but could have been a bit sweeter. Then again, I would prefer a spoonful of sugar be 'a bit sweeter.'

Getchyour swirl on girl. I rode those curves right on into Cakeville.

While traipsing through the ped mall, we made sure to stop in at Revival. Revival is a store with a good mix of vintage and contemporary clothing with cute handmade accessories sold on consignment. They also have this adorable cake stand filled with cupcakes from Sugarplum.

A business since 2008, Sugarplum bakes cupcakes in an at-home bakery and sells them at Revival and the Iowa City Farmer's Market. Flavors are limited to what is baked that particular day, but here is a full menu of flavors that she can make for events and parties.

On that particular Thursday, I had a choice of chocolate chip or vanilla. The lady at Revival struggled to smoosh it into a pink takeout carton. Frosting got everywhere, but no matter. I just used a spoon to excavate it. The frosting was very light and airy, obviously whipped cream based. I prefer buttercream, but this was good too. The cake was actually my favorite part. That may be the first time I have ever said that. My tongue was joyfully greeted by big chunks of gourmet chocolate in a moist yellow cake. If I had to choose one of the two businesses to cater an event, I would hire Sugarplum based on taste and presentation... I put too much thought into that.

Finally, I stopped at the local co-op to fraternize with the dirty hippies and impeccably dressed upper crust of Iowa City.

New Pioneer Co-op (22 S. Van Buren) is a very cool place. Produce is locally or regionally grown, other food products are organic, natural, vegan, gluten-free, etc. The co-op is owned by 20,000 local residents. You can become a member for a one time investment fee, or pay a 5% non-member charge every time you shop.

We visited their bakery section where they offer a potpourri of vegan and gluten-free treats, but I chose a cranberry orange bar. Sometimes the stomachache is worth it.

This little bar was surprisingly tart and imbued with flavor. The orange zest was robust, but not too strong. The cranberries were ample and juicy. Got my Vitamin C on. It was probably the healthiest thing I ate all day.

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