When walking through your local Strack & Van Til grocery store, it’s only a matter of time before you’re engulfed by the sweet aroma of freshly made bread, cinnamon rolls, muffins, and other delicious treats.
All of these and more can be found right in Strack’s bakery department, stocked full with baked goods made to satisfy any appetite and sweet tooth craving.
“We have bread that we make fresh daily–artisan, our traditional Vienna, French, sourdough, and Irish soda,” said Strack’s Bakery Director Tony Knight. “We have a wide variety of breads, as well as buns and rolls. There’s also scratch-made coffee cakes, puff pastry strudels, cinnamon rolls, pies, and cookies that we make as well. We have the traditional cookie flavors–chocolate chip, M&M, oatmeal raisin, sugar, peanut butter–as well as scratch made cupcakes, and then obviously the donuts. Everybody has to have a donut, right?”
One of the bakery’s specialties, however, is its cakes. Customers can purchase their very own customized cakes through Strack’s bakery, designed exactly as they wish for the occasion at hand.
This includes the type and flavor of the cake all the way up to what will be showcased on the outer layer. Knight noted that people can choose between a variety of options, such as dessert cakes, sheet cakes, atomic cakes, strawberry shortcakes, torte cakes, as well as single, and double layer traditional round cakes.
All cakes are made from scratch, giving each dessert that fresh, unique taste that’s hard to come by anywhere else.
“Since we make the cake, it’s going to be fresher and more moist,” Knight said. “The other thing that makes us unique is that our cakes are bigger because we make them ourselves. The customer gets a better value as a result. There's quite a bit of difference in the size, and you're really getting more cake in the end.”
Round cakes are available with six-inch, eight-inch, or 10-inch sizes, and sheet cakes are offered in an eighth sheet, a fourth sheet, a half sheet, or a full sheet.
“These cakes can all be enhanced,” Knight said. “We can offer them in banana, chocolate, marble, yellow, white, red velvet, and carrot cake. You can get a variety of icing: chocolate, cream cheese, butter cream, German chocolate, fudge, caramel, whipped cream, or non-dairy.”
Specialized fillings are also another option, including flavored buttercream, flavored whipped cream or fruit flavors to give any cake an extra-sweet touch.
After selecting the style of cake comes what many would deem as the most fun part of the process–the decorations. Just like the type of cake, how the cake looks can be personalized for any event.
“There's a wide variety of things we do,” Knight said. “Some people have ordered cupcakes as a special order for their company event. We have the traditional cakes sizes ; we also have a smash cake for one-year-old kids when they have their first birthday. We have torte cakes, and for holidays, such as Easter, we can do crosses or flower decorations on the cakes. Obviously we do a lot of graduation, and a lot of people don't realize that we do wedding cakes as well.”
A popular trend Knight has seen over time has been to include printed photos on the cakes. For younger kids, this may include a picture of their favorite cartoon character or Disney princess. It could also include a personal photo as well, which can be a heartwarming touch on every occasion.
“Something that tends to be popular is to show a picture of a child when they were one or two or three years old, and they're 21 now,” Knight said. “All these choices are available. You can get whatever filling or flavor you want in your cake. There are so many variations that are personalized for you; it’s really limitless.”
With the cake being one of the main showpieces at most events, Knight knows how important it is to get every detail just right for every customer. Seeing the end result and just how much a customer lights up when they see their perfect cake is what makes it all come together.
“We take pride in what we do. We are always aware of the customer’s needs and events they’re dealing with. I think we provide personalized care for them while trying to do what we can to make their events successful and make everyone happy,” Knight said. “We've been satisfying customers for a long time, and we have a good reputation in that regard. We’re a family organization, and we like to take care of our people and customers. We really take pride in providing good, quality products, and that's what we strive for every day.”