Somewhere over the Hamilton County line, north of Indianapolis, pixie glitter dusts a sugar-frosted way where the only tears shed are those of joy in the light of Swarovski crystal chandeliers and everyone eats as much cake as they want.
Two years after announcing her plans to bring Cake Bake Shop to Carmel, owner Gwendolyn Rogers has finally opened the delicious wonderland that makes her original Cake Bake in Broad Ripple look like a practice run.
The 154-seat combination bakery, bar and restaurant at Carmel City Center, 800 S. Rangeline Road, is huge compared to the 36-seat Broad Ripple location. Hundreds of Swarovski crystals glisten on so many chandeliers, including a massive shower of light over the bar, which is separated from the dining area by a gold-sequined rope.
Behind grand French doors, the bakery area serves 12 different flavors of Cake Bake's towering, signature layer cakes, including gluten-free chocolate peanut butter crunch cake, plus pies, macarons and other desserts.
Watch gelato machines imported from Italy spin classic chocolate, vanilla and strawberry but also rose, violet and limoncello flavors. Ask the clerk to line your waffle cone with warm chocolate that flows from a curved tap.
The savory menu
The Carmel menu is five pages of selections ranging from snackable stacks of pommes frites to full-on entrees like pasta puttanesca and a thick filet au poivre on which cooks ladle creamy, green peppercorn sauce seasoned with basil, garlic and rosemary.Chef Dan Nichols, previously of Quaff ON! Bloomington, runs the kitchen. A few years ago, he won the James Beard Foundation's Better Burger Project contest with a part beef, part mushroom burger that had many of us rethinking what makes a great burger.
Opulent as it looks, Cake Bake Shop is kid-friendly. The little-ones menu includes grilled cheese and buttered noodles, but don't be surprised when tikes ask for a bite of your rainbow, 12-layer club sandwich with ham, bacon, avocado and basil aioli -- no crusts.
Plenty of quiet corners allow couples to sneak away, although one of the most romantic areas is the vanilla-white, marble-topped bar under that starry chandelier.
Don't let all the glitter and gilding convince you that the cocktail list is fluff. Rogers tapped top Indianapolis bartender Jessica Taylor, a woman who other bartenders turn to for advice, to create a three-page drinks menu listing a cucumber watermelon mule and the Cake Bake Shake Up. The latter is a take on the favorite Indiana State Fair drink, only this one is spiked with vodka and lemon bitters.
Plan your visit
Cake Bake Shop is open for lunch and dinner, but it's OK to pop in for a cocktail, a coffee to-go, a pick-up cake order or a gift purchase from the shopping table, which, of course, includes tiaras.
Reservations are accepted but are fully booked for the next couple of weeks. Don't worry. Some seats are always left open for walk-ins, and even on the first day, table and bar seats were available. Patio and outdoor tables are other options. Both look out onto the fountains and flowers at Carmel City Center.Click on link to read full article: