Happy Valley bakeries are sweet on dessert

– by Heather Longley

You may not think you have a sweet tooth—until you see the amazing desserts available in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania. A rotating menu of fresh baked goods can be found throughout Happy Valley, but look away now if you’re definitely not interested in sampling a variety of sweet somethings.

Crumbkowski specialty brownie

- Photo courtesy of Crumbkowski

Most storefront dessert destinations in this list open and close early, so grab your cash dollars and set your alarm for the best and freshest selection. And if you only have an eye for an apple cider donut, you might want to skip ahead and go to Way Fruit Farm Bakery in Stormstown.

The Cakeshop by Tati
113 E. College Ave.
Pleasant Gap

Owner-bakers Tatiana and Derek Polay believe that “any effort you put in is evident in the final product,” so they work with local farmers and purveyors to create custom cookies and cakes

The desserts and pastries are made from scratch and vary—with classic croissants, scones, cookies and muffins whipped up in between seasonally influenced flavors and butter-laminated pastries. And they dedicate delicacies to certain days of the week: Wednesdays for cakery scones, Thursdays for danishes, and weekends for danishes and French cakes known as kouign-amann.

Cakeshop croissants and desserts are available at the storefront as well as around Happy Valley—including at Maine Bay and Berry, Tait Farm, The Super Duper Café in Millheim, Centre Markets, Café Lemont, The Tavern and Faccia Luna.

Crumbkowski cookie platter

- Photo courtesy of Crumbkowski

Likewise, the Cakeshop is re also happy to save shelf space for bakeries without a storefront, such as gourmet keto confectioners Marie Lane Bakery. Watch the Facebook page for info on the Cakeshop’s next pop-up location.

State College

Christina Hallett runs a licensed kitchen run out of her State College home, and she sets up her top-notch, small-batch creations at the Boalsburg and North Atherton farmers markets, via an online menu. Her holiday popup events and Christmas cookie platters are a hit.

Her ever-rotating specialties include Pistachio Cherry Shortbread, Cinnamon Roll Cookies, homemade Pop-Tarts, macarons, and jumbo muffins that border on miniature cakes. And she said she prefers to use fresh local herbs, fruits, coffee and jams.

“I try to offer treats that no one else in town is providing, or flavor combos that perhaps you've never thought of trying before,” she said. “You can taste the love.”

Dolce Vita cupcake

- Photo courtesy of Dolce Vita Desserts

Dolce Vita Desserts
2490 Commercial Blvd.
State College

The sweet little café and custom-order pickup kitchen feature cakes, cake pops, dessert bars and cupcakes handcrafted in-house with high-quality ingredients, such as Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract, the bakery’s go-to.

They often sell out of the lemon and pecan bars, but the bakery is most known for its cupcakes. The flute-papered confections are baked in a variety of White and Chocolate Buttercream classic flavors; customer faves like Salted Caramel and Red Velvet; seasonal creations like Key Lime, Banana Split and Carrot; and gluten-free and vegan varieties.

Meyer Dairy
2390 S. Atherton St.
State College

The happy cows at Meyer Dairy are known for producing the milk and heavy cream that makes the eatery’s year-round and limited-edition ice cream flavors. The ice cream is made on-site in the dairy store.

Dolce Vita frosted cookies

- Photo courtesy of Dolce Vita Desserts

“We have over 45 flavors of ice cream,” said store manager Shannon Gibson, citing customer favorites like Oreo Cookie, Black Raspberry, Cow Tracks and Mint Flake.

The stand also features flavors unique to central Pennsylvania, like Rum Raisin, Lemon Custard, Coconut Chip and Grapenut, as well as fresh-scooped ice-cream sandwiches, cakes and milkshakes.

“Our ice cream is rich, creamy and full of deliciousness. You can always add a banana on top to make it more healthy,” she joked.

Pine Grove Hall
101 E. Pine Grove Road
Pine Grove Mills

What if you just want to enjoy a little dinner with your dessert? There are options for those who just want what comes after the main course. The made-from-scratch dessert menu at Pine Grove Hall features locally sourced ingredients mixed with the intent to tantalize taste buds.

PGH Chocolate

- Photo courtesy of Pine Grove Hall

“I really like balanced flavors,” executive chef Tory Glossner said, “and I like the idea of pushing more savory concepts into our desserts whenever we have a chance.”

The upscale dining joint often features oft-changing and limited-edition desserts—such as Caramel Cream Panna Cotta with Coffee Banana Jam and Candied Rye or a Honey Semifreddo with Slow-Roasted Strawberries—in addition to a rotating flavor palette of Vale Wood Dairy ice cream.

Sweets of Gold Bakery
200-1 Mill St.

Sweets of Gold owner Sarah Bryan’s hand-decorated iced cookies and cakes reveal her artistic sense and penchant for detail, intricate designs and layers. Her cupcake menu includes “abstract” varieties of decoration style; and standard flavor creations begin with peanut butter, fresh fruits, cream cheese, and the torchbearers of dessert, chocolate, vanilla and coffee.

Her recently opened storefront in Milesburg features quick-bite breakfast pastries and donuts, with a larger selection of custom orders available with advance notice.

CC Bun Key Lime Chiffon

With its delicate and fluffy texture, the Key Lime Chiffon is like a cross between a sponge cake and an angel food cake.

- Photo courtesy of Chew Chew Bun

Bryan said her Strawberry Shortcake Brioche Donut is a popular seasonal treat, but she is “determined to make the next seasonal donut just as good.”

The Kitchen at Brown Dog
112 E. Pine St.

A unique eatery on a side street in Philipsburg incidentally has some of the most adventurous desserts in town. Brown Dog Catering owner William DeBoer and his wife Kristen own and operate Coco’s Coffeehouse, a morning light-breakfast bakery; and The Kitchen at Brown Dog, a dinner restaurant with a full menu and dessert.

DeBoer said their sweets menu often changes; the tour of Italy-themed June menu features Pistachio Cream-filled Lobster Tail, Tiramisu and an Affogato espresso dessert. But their signature best-sellers are the Josie (an iced cinnamon muffin surprised with blueberries and white chocolate chips) and the Jack (a chocolate muffin filled-then-topped with cream-cheese icing and rock candy.

“The pastries are at my whim,” he said. “We make something until people no longer buy it.”

CC Bun Black Sesame Bun1

The Black Sesame Bun features a heavenly blend of rich black sesame and peanut powder mixed with creamy butter.

- Photo courtesy of Chew Chew Bun

And with a grab-and-go desserts cooler located right inside the entrance, you can do your part to keep your favorite items in stock.

We Are Inn
1535 Port Matilda Hwy
Philipsburg, PA

We Are Inn is famous for its authentic Italian cuisine, made from family recipes passed down over generations, and Philly specialties like cheese steaks and tomato pie. Among the family recipes you can enjoy are a full selection of desserts, including NY cheesecake and Italian lemon cake, tiramisu (with or without toasted almonds), or their made-from-scratch cannoli. Want something cold? Romano's Italian "Wooder Ice" is made fresh on-site right in Philipsburg, PA!

Chew Chew Bun
115 E. Beaver Ave.
State College

The downtown State College coffee shop is known for its Asian-inspired pastries, custards and buns—and now an online ordering portal. “Say good-bye to sold-out disappointments” when you can’t arrive until late afternoon for treats like a Portuguese Egg Tart box, a whole chiffon cake or the classic Peanut Buttercream bun popular in bakeries in Taiwan.

CC Bun Portuguese Egg Tart

Portuguese Egg Tart is a popular item at Chew Chew Bun.

- Photo courtesy of Chew Chew Bun

Chew Chew Bun general manager Skye Chang’s said almost all of the eatery’s locally baked goods lean on the lightly sweetened side, for those who like just a hint of sweetness.

“We like to use more nutty ingredients, like red bean, sweet taro and black sesame” as basic menu ingredients, he said.

Heather Longley is a writer living in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania.

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau publishes up-to-date event information at HappyValley.com/events