J and I did our grocery shopping today (at Woodman’s and Willy Street West) and decided to treat ourselves while we were out with a stop at Bloom Bake Shop in downtown Middleton. It was our first visit, prompted by Bloom’s buy-one-get-one offer in REAP’s 2011-2012 “Where the Locavore’s Go” coupon book. It’s a small but charming place, which for almost two years has been serving up treats baked daily that include cupcakes, whoopie pies, brownies, and cookies, along with cakes to order. The focus is on quality ingredients, sourced locally where possible. The vegan and gluten-free options are made with the same loving care as all of the other items, and — given the small kitchen they have to work within — the lengths they go to in order to avoid cross-contamination are impressive and to be applauded.
While at the shop this afternoon, we had the privilege of meeting the proprietor, Annemarie Spitznagle. She was friendly and welcoming, and at our prompting chatted with us about her commitment to sourcing ingredients from local farms and suppliers. She even mentioned that she’s been in touch with Lonesome Stone Milling, who I mentioned just the other day; at the moment she doesn’t have room to store a 50-pound delivery of Lonesome Stone flour, but that may change since there are hopes to expand the kitchen space in the coming months.
But as important as supporting local farmers and using quality ingredients are, the proof is in the pudding — or rather, the baked good. I’m happy to report that they were delicious! The vegan, gluten-free chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting was, as expected, a wonderful chocolate explosion. Like the best vegan desserts, it was moist and rich even without any egg or dairy. My very favorite, though, was the lemon curd cupcake, mostly because Annemarie seems to understand that the yummiest lemon desserts play up the tartness of that delicious fruit. I think I could eat one of these every day. Given the quality of the ingredients and the resulting product, the modest price ($3 each) was more than worth it. This is not an absurdly huge pile of sugar and cheap filler like you get at some of those chain bakeries (who shall go unnamed). Instead, each cupcake was the perfect balance of a satisfying but human-scale cake topped with just the right amount of rich frosting.
As a preview before you stop in yourself, meet Annemarie and visit the shop in the short but well-produced video below, and visit their Facebook page here.