4 Pastries and Cakes That Have Gripped America

Americans are fond of nostalgia at the best of times but especially when it comes to classic desserts, whether it be a slice of apple pie, chocolate chip cookies, doughnuts, or cupcakes. Then there are the bakers and pastry chefs who get creative with pastries, invent new desserts, and really show their talent with Viennoiserie that see hordes of people waiting in line to take pictures of them. Some are putting their own take on tradition while others are creating hybrids or something completely new. Here are some of America’s most popular baked goods.

The Cruffin at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, San Francisco

The Cruffin has been labelled the “unicorn of pastries”, a combination of a muffin and croissant. Comprised of multiple layers of brioche dough covered with French butter, this beauty is served in the shape of a muffin. As if that wasn’t tempting enough, it’s crème-filled with such flavours as lemon meringue, passionfruit, or strawberry milkshake, or even flavours like ispahan (lychee rose raspberry) or matcha-prickly pear. It’s creamy, flaky, and covered in sugar, a heavenly combination of texture and flavour.

Crack Pie at Milk Bar, New York City, Washington, D.C. and Toronto

Christina Tosi ranks among the most original pastry chefs in America. She’s won the James Beard Award on two separate occasions for the creations she became famous for, such as her numerous layer cakes without frosted sides, compost cookies (with potato chips, pretzels, chocolate chips, butterscotch, oats, and coffee), cereal milk ice cream (cornflakes, milk, salt, and brown sugar), and, of course…the crack pie. The toasted oat crust and gooey butter filling might not sound special but it’s so delicious that people are more than willing to pay $44 for it.

Cup/Cake at Fluff Bake Bar, Houston

The owner of the venue, Rebecca Mason, concedes that she hates cupcakes and thinks that the ingredients are out of proportion. She’s a fan of frosting and cake but believes that their composition is all wrong and so wanted to redo them. She achieved this at her venue. She takes a glass cup and fills it with layers of cake, frosting, and treats to add some texture. The Veruca Salt is Fluff Bake Bar’s biggest seller. It offers devil’s food cake, pretzel crunch, Valrhona crunchy pearls, and salted caramel buttercream. She also offers Carrot Cake Cup/Cakes, Black Velvet (a version of Red Velvet), and Birthday Cake.

Kouign-Amann at various places

This lesser-known pastry has an unpronounceable name (at least to the many who can’t say it). Those passionate about this delight simply call it the KA. The crusty butter cake (which is actually what Kouign-Amann translates to) bears similarities to a croissant and a palmier’s edges: all buttery, and wonderfully sugary and caramelised. Its appearance isn’t dissimilar to a blossom, and a number of pastry chefs include flavours. It isn’t the easiest pastry to make, with the pastry chef having to laminate croissant dough with sugar, as opposed to flour, and using salted rather than unsalted.

Kouign-Amann at various places