love makes a family

Baby shower cakes are an absolute blast to make, because, let’s face it, we’re helping to celebrate the birth of new life. With that in mind, we put together a collection a cakes that we made this past year that were some of our favorites. From traditional styling to thematic to something a little more modern, we had it all. Take a look and see if anything inspires you for your shower!

Baby circus


Nothing says circus like a red and white-striped tent and candy apples. And nothing says baby like a cute little elephant in a diaper! With bright colors and a cheerful design, you just can’t help but smile when you see this cake.

Baby penguin


If you didn’t know, we love making figurines. Our couple, which married in the winter a couple years ago, had penguin toppers that we made to represent them. It was only fitting then to make a little girl penguin to represent their new baby to join in the penguin family. This cake was also reminiscent of their wedding cake because it too, was decorated with snowflakes (just not so girly)!

Baby shoes


Making baby Converse shoes are becoming the “new thing.” And why not? They’re adorable—and can come in color imaginable! Again, cheerful colors just make this shower cake so much fun.

Baby art deco


What’s kind of cool about this cake is that nothing screams “baby” except for the inscription. The design was inspired solely from the art deco styled invitation. The painting, the flared leaves, and the golden disks…it all came together to form this beautiful, unique baby shower cake.

Baby books


Children’s books are a favorite pastime for many. You have memories of them, and for many, you will create new ones with your child. For this design, we only represented the title, but in the exact styling as the original storybook. We then added an extra touch by creating some 3D elements from the stories—sweet and touching and save-able!



Not all celebrations have to be showers. We had the privilege of making this family a cake to celebrate the adoption of their new baby girl, Evie. It was girly and charming and all topped off with gumpaste figurines representing each member of the family, including their new baby. Even their dog got one and isn’t that just the sweetest! And as there is never a truer statement, the cake was finished with the inscription “Love makes a family.”

It’s a pumpkin party and you’re invited

10366035_10152531825513978_8119550777408224801_nPumpkin Muffins- staff favorite!
Moist and scrumptious muffins with toasted walnuts and a hint of spice. A favorite of Bakehouse staff. A pumpkin way to start off the day.

Pumpkin Cupcakes- too cute!
A scrumptious and moist pumpkin cake with cinnamon butter cream, decorated with a hand-made fondant pumpkin on top. They taste as good as they look. (pictured)

Pumpkin pie- fall staple!
Silky pumpkin pie filling made with local Guernsey heavy cream, Michigan honey, and a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon in an all-butter crust. A classic made right, but don’t take our word for it. Ask for a taste!

Pumpkin cheesecake- most popular!
We make a creamy filling with pumpkin, spices and fresh cream cheese from our neighbor Zingerman’s Creamery, all on top of a spectacular Ginger Jump Up cookie crust. One bite can make any dinner party instantly better.

Tokaji Cream Cake – 21st Century Hungarian Baking

Traditional food is our comfort zone. It’s what we spend most of our time studying and tasting. Active cuisines however continue to evolve and develop which can often be a good thing. This is definitely happening in Hungary today. On our visits we have the opportunity to enjoy entirely new Hungarian creations, with no reference to the past. The ”modern” interpretations of traditional favorites can also be appealing. As I write this I’m thinking about a delicate gulyás we ate in a chic Budapest restaurant – clear, light beef bouillon, perfectly cut tiny vegetables all cooked separately before being added to the broth to ensure that each one has the perfect texture and super tender pieces of beef cheeks. This represents a significant departure from what the gulyás (herdsmen) must have cooked in their bogracs (outdoor cooking cauldrons) on the Hungarian plain but it was still recognizable as gulyás and definitely delicious. The Tokaji (tow-kai) Cream Cake that we are serving in May is an example of modern Hungarian baking.

tokaji-cream-cake-tempOur inspiration for this cake is the Auguszt Pavillion bakery in Budapest. The Auguszt’s are the longest standing family of bakers in Budapest. They have taught us important lessons about traditional Hungarian pastries and this cake is their lesson to us in a more modern direction. They have continued to evolve their craft and if you visit their bakery you’ll see many new creations. A Tokaji Cream cake is one of them.

The cake is elegant, light, fresh and pretty. It features the famous sweet Tokaji wine made from aszu grapes which are left to wither on the vine until late fall. In our interpretation of the cake we make the filling with tokaji wine a little sugar ,Guernsey whipping cream and a touch of gelatin (much less than is commonly used in Hungary to fit with our tastes). We layer this cream with light vanilla chiffon cake and fresh raspberries. The tart raspberries and the sweet Tokaji are one of those perfect food combinations. Kérjük, élvezze! (Please enjoy!) Stop in to the Bakehouse in May and ask for taste. Also available at Zingerman’s Next Door.

Amy Emberling- baker, Hungarian traveler & Bakehouse co-owner

Get your shine on

It’s been a popular season for metallic cakes.  This is a trend that we were anticipating going into this past wedding season and we were thrilled with the variety of cakes that we made.  At first, both gold and silver were used mainly as accent colors but gradually, as the season continued, they became a more dominant color choice.  Check out the progression of these metallic cakes from this past year:


Not surprisingly, the colors for this romantic wedding were silver and white.  The couple chose our harlequin styled carved cake covered in white fondant and highlighted with shiny silver dragées of various sizes.  To finish off the shine, they bought a rhinestone monogram topper.


This sweet 2-tier was all about the understated gold.  A handmade brooch with “peacock” feathers gave this cake a 1920s flare.  Paired with peach and coral colors, the gold wasn’t meant to dominate, only highlight.


This cake was inspired by the couple’s wedding invitation that was silver with this particular pattern of scrollwork.  They then wanted to lighten it up by adding brightly colored fantasy flowers.  Ellen did a great job of putting these colors together and admittedly, we were surprised how much we loved the cake and couldn’t wait to pair silver with color again!


This fondant-covered cake was airbrushed and “buffed” with silver luster dust to create an overall bold silver effect.  The bride wanted this design, one that we affectionately call “the exploding flower,” to be in lavender and fuchsia.  Katie handmade the center rose and every individual petal and then painted them in the striking pink color.


This modern square cake was an adventure in gold.  The whole cake was covered in fondant and then the top and bottom tier were rustically iced with royal icing.  Then, the entire cake was painted with a gold luster dust glaze.  The tiny pops of purple flowers with golden ruffles added a unique accent to the cake.


Last but not least, our most current metallic cake, another striking silver centerpiece.  This cake was also airbrushed and buffed with luster dust and bordered with a real black ribbon and two lovely rhinestone bands.  Cascading down the cake are gorgeous red sugar peonies that Rachel made, the largest adorned with a sparkling brooch to match their rhinestone monogram topper.

Since the metallic trend is only growing, we can’t wait to see what we come up with next!




Photo by Charles Manley Photo
Photo by Charles Manley Photo

Do you know our cakes can travel?  While we ourselves will deliver a cake up to four hours away, it doesn’t mean you can’t travel with it for longer (note—3-tiers not included!).  Fondant covered cakes are best for travel but the most important elements are keeping the cake on a flat surface, and driving with your air conditioning on pretty high (at least in the summer time).  Just last month our cakes made a trip all the way down to D.C. for a wedding.  Since the couple couldn’t do a large cake and still have it guaranteed to arrive safely, they opted for a table of single-tier cakes and one two-tier cake for their ceremonial cut.

Photo by Charles Manley Photo
Photo by Charles Manley Photo

Another wedding of gray and yellow tones (a popular color combo), these cakes were designed to shine in their simplicity.  A clean and simple fondant band wrapped around the two-tier and two of the single cakes in alternating colors while the other two cakes were decorated with graduated piped dots in an ombre of grays and yellows.  The cakes wrapped with fondant bands were then decorated with hand made sugar ranunculus flowers, weedy “daisies,” and little green berries.  Ranunculus flowers, also very popular right now, are known for having tons and tons of petals so even the smallest of the flowers can take around 30 minutes to make while the largest flower probably took around 2 hours!

Photos by Charles Manley Photo
Photos by Charles Manley Photo

Another fun aspect of getting a table of cakes is the variety of flavors.  The couple chose some of our classics such as chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, buttermilk cake with chocolate buttercream, and almond pound cake with cherry buttercream.  They then created their own cute signs to designate these flavors.

Photos by Charles Manley Photo
Photos by Charles Manley Photo

Yummy and pretty—that’s what we’re about!



Attention cake lovers

We love all things cake. The sweet vanilla smell that fills the air. Pairing up just the right cake and butter cream flavors.  Creating the colorful hand-made decorations. Fulfilling our guest’s personal and sometimes unusual custom cake visions. All of life’s occasions that call for a cake to be shared. Cakes are fun to look at and delicious to eat. What’s not to love? Cakes make our day. If you too have a love of cake, join the party!

Check out our cake blog! It is packed with dozens of pretty pictures and fun stories about cakes we have had the honor of creating. The blog, written by one of our talented cake designers Emily Grish, gives you a behind the scenes look our cakes.

Visit us for cake! If all those delightful photos of cake on our blog made you drool a little, come and visit us at the Bakehouse. We’d love to give you a taste of the real thing. This month try our Berry Patch cake with vanilla bean pastry cream and fresh strawberry filling. Get a taste of summer in our Caribbean Cruise stuffed cupcake with coconut cake, lime curd and rum butter cream. Don’t stop there. We have seven cupcake flavors, one for every day of the week. Or go for a Zingerman’s classic, the Hunka Burnin’ Love chocolate cake. Cake heaven awaits you. Stop in for a taste!

Somodi Kalács – Hungarian Celebration Bread from Transylvania

Last fall several of us traveled to Transylvania, in search of artisanal Hungarian foods. Why visit part of Romania to learn about Hungarian traditions? Well Transylvania was a very important part of Hungary until the Treaty of Trianon after World War I when it was given to Romania. Transylvania played a large role in the Hungarian national psyche as the keeper of the true and pure Hungarian identity and customs. It was known for being a particularly beautiful and idyllic part of the country. It was a cherished area and losing it was extremely painful for the country.

After the treaty some Hungarians left but many stayed and to this day there are villages, which remain Hungarian. Everyone in the village considers themselves Hungarian. Hungarian is spoken in private and in public. School is taught in Hungarian and Hungarian flags are prominent. As is often the case, isolated pockets of ethnic groups or nationalities tend to preserve an older version of the culture . It is in these villages that authentic Hungarian folk dance and music is taught and enjoyed as well as Hungarian handcraft making. It was for this reason that we hoped we would find even more traditional Hungarian foods than are available in Hungary itself.

Foods and tradition and old ways we found! We stayed in a family home in the village of Sic for two days and three nights and participated in a pig slaughter and then in the preparation of every bit of the pig in a wide variety of dishes. it was also here that we saw bread baking by our 80 year old hosting sisters in their wood fired oven, were introduced to the custom of Transylvania wedding cakes, ate plum dumplings, learned raggedy rétes, a quick version of strudel. We visited neighbors to collect milk from their cows living in their courtyard and to see their pig pens and chicken coops. It was quite an experience, which we will share more of as we make what we learned.

After Sic we traveled to Torockó which is the home of the Somodi Kalács (sho-mo-dee-ko-loch), a sweet yeasted bread laced with cinnamon sugar. This village was originally very prosperous. About 400 years ago it had been a mining town known for it’s iron mines and wrought iron pieces which were exported to Italy. Some village families also owned gold mines. The lucrative trade allowed many of the villagers the means to afford sugar and cinnamon, which they used to make this “cake”. It was served for Christmas, Easter and Pentacost (still is) and until the 20th century it was the customary wedding cake. Originally it was baked in a clay pot, greased with lard, in a wood fired oven. Nowadays it is more frequently made in a loaf pan, still greased with lard in a gas oven. It resembles cinnamon raisin bread and I think it’s interesting to reflect on how rich our world has become that to us Somodi Kalács is like something we’d eat daily.

To learn to make it we visited the B&B of Melinda Kiraly . It was a hands on, physical process. Most interesting to us was the special folding technique Melinda used to give the unique distribution of the cinnamon sugar inside the bread. We are replicating that with our own version. Although not all traditions are kept in their pure form Melinda still greases her pans with lard. The result is a sticky, sweet , cinnamony and porky exterior. Quite delicious!!

We enjoyed it so much that we’ve decided to make it for Easter here in Ann Arbor. It is available Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in March, so if you want to enjoy it daily go ahead, but if you want you keep it special, order one for Easter Sunday and dream of Transylvania.

Amy Emberling- Bakehouse baker, co-owner, and Hungarian traveler

October Specials

Farm Bread
October’s Bread of the Month. Our Farm bread is a taste of the French countryside. When baked to a nice dark crust, this is Frank’s favorite bread. $4.50 / this month, regular price $6.25.

Carrot Cake
October’s Cake of the Month. We peel and grate forty pounds of carrots to make one batch of this cake. All those carrots add an incredible moistness and a fresh sweetness to the cake. Combine them with toasted walnuts and cover it with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting and it becomes irresistible. Available in 6″ and 9″ rounds and sheet cakes. All carrot cakes are 20% off this month.

Upcoming Special Bakes
Macedonian Black bread 10/29 & 10/30
Porter Rye bread 11/5 & 11/6
Scallion Walnut bread 11/12 & 11/13
Call us and reserve your loaves today!

NEW! Country Wheat bread
Just imagine the Farmer’s wife bringing you a warm, soft old-fashioned pan loaf to the breakfast table. Well, it’s a reality and it’s delicious! 100% organic whole wheat flour, mashed potato, local Guernsey milk, real butter and Michigan honey go in to each hand-made loaf. Available everyday in October. Let us know if we should keep making it!

Fall pie harvest!
Check out October’s selection- Pilgrim Pumpkin, Old School Apple, Chocolate Chess, Juicy Jumbleberry, and Perky Pecan.

A “Super Sandwich” from Zingerman’s is Highlighted in Time for the Super Bowl in Hour Detroit (February 2010)

Download the PDF