Whether it’s you and a sweetheart, or you and your sweet tooth, indulging in something sugary is a time-honoured way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. And for those of us looking for something more substantial than candy hearts this year, we have Winnipeg dessert standard-bearer Baked Expectations.
While they offer a substantial lunch and dinner menu worth sampling, the showpiece here has always been the cakes.
An entire restaurant wall here is taken up by long glass display cases full of luscious cheesecakes, fluffy tortes in flavours like shmoo and cinammon, and pies with golden-domed crusts reaching four inches above their pan.
Generous slices and sheer richness make any of these regular menu cakes a perfect dish to share for the holiday – and their indulgent waitstaff is well accustomed to bringing two forks for a couple sharing a booth and a serving of chocolate mousse.
But for Valentine’s day, they’ve expanded their menu with extra treats.
For the classic romantic, chocolate-dipped strawberries. For those feeling extra indulgent – the “Love You to Pieces,” made up of chocolate cake and strawberry mousse covered in more dark chocolate. And my personal favourite, Baby Cakes – a selection of Baked’s best perfectly sized for two diners. While they will be serving them in the shop, if you’re planning on bringing one home for a romantic dessert you’d be wise to preorder a few days beforehand (I didn’t last year and went home empty handed).
Those who want to eat in may find themselves in line – Valentine’s is a popular day for the restaurant – but the decorations will help you get into the spirit while you wait.
The restaurant’s checkered floor and cherry-red seats pay cheery tribute to the ’50s, and they bring the same playful, almost kitschy flavour to their Valentine’s decor. Servers wear petal-pink t-shirts with good humour, a matching blush banner telling you to “Be In Love” hangs over the counter, and every table is festooned with tiny heart-shaped balloons.
Baked Expectations is clearly enjoying this most sugary holiday, and expects you to indulge. I’d think about letting them.