The holiday season is upon us. It is a time of union and fellowship; Nothing says love like candy. Many Detroit bakeries are more than just a business—they are a legacy of family entrepreneurship and recipes passed down through the generations.
Take Sweet Potato Sensations on the northwest side of town. The nationally recognized bakery and cafe is the realization of a couple’s dream of being a place of refuge for their underserved neighborhood. The shop was born when Cassandra and Jeffrey Thomas got married in 1976 and got engaged to make a Thanksgiving dessert: sweet potato biscuits. More than 40 years later, the family business has been featured on the Food Network.
“Kids come into our store and say, ‘Wow! This is in my neighborhood,” says Espy Thomas. “In Detroit, it’s downtown that gets a lot of love and we’re starting to see some development in the neighborhoods, but everyone in the city deserves to see that good things are possible in their communities.”
Bakeries were one of the types of businesses that, even during Detroit’s most challenging economic times, remained available and serving the community. This holiday season, Visit Detroit shows a little love for some of the black-owned bakeries that make our sweetest dreams come true.
sweet potato sensations
17337 Lahser Rd • Detroit, MI
At his now 5,000-square-foot bakery/restaurant, guests can order from the sweet or savory menu. On the sweet side, try the sweet potato cookies that started it all or the sweet potato cheesecake. The traditional sweet potato cake is also a crowd pleaser. On the salty side, the sandwiches and soups are very popular, especially the black-eyed pea and kale soup served with a side of sweet potato cornbread. Check the website for pre-orders for the holidays.
Good cakes and pastries
19363 Livernois Avenue • Detroit, MI 48221
This popular bakery known for some of the best cupcakes in Detroit has grown beyond its Livernois store and will soon be moving to a larger facility nearby, according to Crain’s. Owners April and Michelle Anderson have been featured in various national media outlets as a Black and LGBTQ owned business. Their mission is to provide quality baked goods that are wholesome and organic in nature; and to provide our baked goods in an environment that is positive, creative, educational, and friendly to our employees and our community.
For the holidays, try any of the cakes and/or yeast rolls that are a perfect addition to your holiday meal.
Terri Detroit Pies
Only by order online or by phone
This mother-daughter business is an Eastern favorite. The bakery offers delicious flavors of cakes like Carrot Apple Cake, Cookies and Cream Pie, Peach Dream and much more. They also offer 4 oz Cinnamon Rolls and “Hipster Cupcakes” that are sold in a jar and easily ship nationwide. Terri’s Cakes specializes in event cakes, including weddings and birthdays.
Nicole’s Bakery Boutique
19210 W McNichols Rd • Detroit, MI • (313) 740-7356
While some Google reviewers have commented on how the hours at this West Side bakery are irregular, they seem pleased when they can get a slice of the famous cake from Nicole’s Bakery Boutique, formerly known as The Cake Lady. The bakery serves classic flavors like Caramel, Red Velvet, Coconut Pineapple, Carrot, Dbl Chocolate, Pound Cake, German Chocolate, Yellow Chocolate, and Lemon Pound Cake. Whole pies range from $45-$50 and are $5 a slice. Call ahead to order.
Vegan Cuisine and Desserts from Estella
19120 Grand River Avenue • Detroit, MI
Chef, food educator, and owner of Estella’s Vegan Kitchen & Desserts, Chantele Jones, has made it her mission to spread the word about the plant-based lifestyle and its many health benefits. Her cookbook, “Our Vegan Family Favorites,” is her latest venture into showcasing delicious, family-friendly vegan meals. On the sweet side of her menu, she tries the cupcakes, cookies and rolls; Jones also ships her tasty vegan treats across the country.
sugar and shenanigans
By online and phone order only
Specializing in multi-tiered cakes, Sugar & Shenanigans is a home bakery featuring beautifully crafted and ornate cakes custom created for each owner.
Peteet’s Famous Cheesecakes
13835 West 9 Mile Rd. • Oak Park, MI
This family-owned business is known for its two-layer cheesecakes and has become a local staple by placing its brand name inside other local eateries, like the more than a dozen Captain Jay’s Chicken & Fish locations. They offer thirty (30) flavors of cheesecake in their bakeries, but they claim to have recipes for more than 90 flavors of delicious cheesecakes. Wholesalers can order five (5) flavors to choose from: Original, Sweet Potato, Key Lime, Turtle, and Strawberry Delight.