It's a funny thing about bakeries. These days, a more boutique-y, spare sort of display is favored. And that's just great. I love it.
But sometimes, I just have a craving for an old-school bakery that is totally packed with pastries of every sort, cookies by the pound, cakes, pies, and bars; you know, the type where you take a number and they call when you're up.
If you love this kind of bakery, I promise--I absolutely promise--that you will adore Federhofer's Bakery, on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri.
It's been there roughly forever (ok, since 1966). Per their website:
Federhofer's Bakery was established in 1966 by Bill Federhofer with a vision for success and a taste of perfection. Federhofer's has built a reputation for providing the freshest and highest quality of baked goods for over 46 years. We have been using the same recipes over the decades to ensure our customers a wide variety of baked goods and the same great taste.
Well, they've certainly honed their art. It's a bustling, good-smelling bakery, and they have all sorts of interesting pastries. Can I tell you about them?
Some of their specialties are stollen and danish.
and lots, lots more!
So after my number was up, the friendly employee walked me through their entire menu, and here's what I chose.
First, a plain doughnut. A good litmus test of any bakery. And in this case, a fine specimen: soft and cakey and just enough oiliness to let you know it was, indeed, fried. A gentle, lightly sweet flavor. Nice.
and of course, a gooey butter cake. To the uninitiated, this buttery cake--made of a soft, cakey crust topped with, well, a gooey butter mixture. It's said to have been invented when a baker made a mistake baking a cake and ended up with this delicious thing. It was an instant classic. It's quite similar to Philadelphia Butter Cake, but the St. Louis version is more likely to include cream cheese. Like Philadelphia butter cake, in St. Louis, the cake is generally sold by the 8-or-9 inch pan rather than by individual slices, and is more a morning coffee cake than an after-dinner dessert.
I also got a taste of a St. Louis specialty--coconut toast! Interestingly, it seems to be a sweet treat that has faded in popularity, because even some residents I asked didn't even know what it was. But I found it at good ol' Federhofers! Basically a use for day-old bread, it's (to the best of my knowledge) brushed with sweetened condensed milk and coconut, and toasted. That's it. Simple, but oh so good.
So, after having had a wonderful experience at Federhofer's, I urge you to visit them if you find yourself in St. Louis. They've been doing it since 1966, and based on what I tasted, they have been doing it right.
Federhofer's Bakery, 9005 Gravois Road, Affton MO; online here.