Despite, well, everything happening in the world right now, there are still birthdays, graduations, marriages, new jobs, new babies and even just random days of the week worth celebrating. And having to miss out on parties and gatherings with loved ones due to social distancing can be heartbreaking.
Thankfully, many of Nashville’s best pastry chefs, bakers and candymakers have adjusted to this new normal, ensuring we can still recognize some of life’s biggest milestones, even while we’re apart. Not only do all these desserts taste amazing, but they’re also available for curbside pickup, local delivery and, in some cases, nationwide shipping. We may not be able to party in person, but sending your relatives a big ol’ box of cookies or leaving a gorgeously decorated cake on a friend’s front porch just might be the next best thing.
For a true Music City snack, look no further than HiFi Cookies, the East Nashville sweet shop that creates confections inspired by some of history’s best musicians. Dolly Parton is celebrated with red velvet and Fruity Pebbles, and Marvin Gaye gets a little love with toffee, butterscotch, chocolate and potato chips. There are flavors for Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Prince and more — all crammed with fun, surprising ingredients, including apple buttercream, mascarpone and Cap’n Crunch peanut brittle. They scaled back shipping after opening in June — they often sell out with foot traffic alone — but preorders for curbside pickup can be made online, and they hope to unroll an in-store “build a box to ship to friends” option in the fall. Check Instagram (@hificookies) for updates. hificookies.com
The Cupcake Collection
The Cupcake Collection is unbeatable. Their light and airy cupcakes aren’t too sweet, allowing flavors to really shine, and they’re topped with the perfect amount of melt-in-your-mouth buttercream. You can’t go wrong with their classic flavors, including sweet potato and strawberry, but don’t overlook their premium recipes either, which come with an extra dose of decadence — Blackout is filled with chocolate mousse, Cookies n' Cream comes with a filling made of Oreos and vanilla mousse and the Café Au Lait is infused with coffee. If you or your lucky friend live nearby, local delivery is available via UberEats and Postmates, but the sweet shop recently began offering nationwide shipping through FedEx, too. Now, you can send Nashville’s best cupcakes anywhere within the U.S. thecupcakecollection.com
Goo Goo Shop
Most folks are familiar with Goo Goo Clusters. The Nashville-based candy company has been churning out their chocolatey, nougat-filled peanut snack for more than a century. But the Premium Goo Goo, a supersized version made by hand in their flagship shop on Third Avenue, is still Nashville’s tasty little secret. The Fluffer Crunch features marshmallow creme and chocolate chip cookies, and the PB&P is stuffed with peanut butter and pretzels. They also have a build-your-own option, which can be filled with your recipient’s favorite flavors. Brown sugar nougat, bourbon caramel, Nutella, potato chips, sprinkles and even breakfast cereals are on the menu, and both local delivery and shipping within the U.S. and Canada are available. googoo.com
Here’s your chance to feel like a pastry chef, even if you’ve never baked. Sinema has turned some of their expertly prepared plated desserts into works of art that you can take home and plate yourself, which is sure to impress everyone on your quaran-team. Because they use seasonal ingredients, their to-go offerings are ever-changing, but one sweet mainstay is the stuffed skillet cookie, a gooey brown butter chocolate chip cookie stuffed with chocolate ganache and topped with whipped cream and caramel. It’s big and rich enough to share, but no judgement here if you keep it all for yourself. They also offer wine by the bottle and build-your-own whiskey flights to go, should you want to kick your indulgent night in up a notch. sinemanashville.com
The Bang Candy Company
Know a pal who could use a chill pill? Consider sending them a box of Bang Candy’s beautiful Dream Drops, which are Belgian chocolate truffles made with locally sourced CBD oil. They’re available in two flavors — dark chocolate with orange and white chocolate with matcha and peppermint — and both are laced with popping candy for the ultimate party-in-your-mouth experience. Bang Candy has plenty of CBD-free treats, too. Their housemade marshmallows come in flavors including rose cardamom, chocolate chili and toasted almond coconut, and they also have s’mores kits, hot chocolate mix, glitter-covered chocolate bark and caramels infused with bacon and bourbon or brownie batter. Assorted gift boxes are also available if you want to send a little bit of everything. bangcandycompany.com
In the pre-pandemic days, Leland Riggan's Dessert Designs was where one could go for a gravity-defying, 10-tier wedding cake that would feed hundreds. While those kinds of grand events have been put on hold, we thankfully don’t have to go without Leland's magical baking skills, as she’s made a number of her smaller desserts available for delivery and pickup via her website. Her clever Quarantine Survival Kits are packed with brownies, lemon squares, soft chocolate chip cookies and more, and her bundt cakes come slathered in her famous slow-cooked caramel icing. That icing really is a thing of dreams; it’s smooth and not too sugary, and it pools up in the center of the bundts like a little golden pond of pure pleasure. dessertdesignsbyleland.com
Rebekah Turshen is one of Nashville’s best pastry chefs, and every week, she experiments in the kitchen to offer a rotating menu of creative concoctions that make good use of the season’s freshest ingredients. What will be on the City House's fall menus is still a surprise, but summer’s options have included blackberry cream puffs, a vanilla custard tart topped with roasted blueberries, and a peaches and cream icebox cake with layers of buttermilk cornmeal cake and The Peach Truck peaches. Most of the menu changes week to week, but you can always count on the beloved $10 cookie plate, which has been a City House staple for years. Rebekah’s assortment of fresh-baked cookies elevate classic favorites — think cherry Linzers, chocolate crinkles and caramel alfajores — to high-end masterpieces. cityhousenashville.com
Baked on 8th
There isn’t a bad treat in Baked on 8th’s pastry case (the rich and fudgy frosting-topped galaxy brownies are a personal favorite), but the bakery’s true magic lies in their showstopping layer cakes. Many flavors — cookies and cream, confetti, strawberry, carrot and peanut butter ganache, to name just a few — are available via same-day curbside pickup for all your cake emergencies, but you can also call ahead should your celebration require something more unique. Their cake decorators turn sugar and butter into stunning works of art by using fresh flowers, edible sculptures, modern frosting techniques and hand-painted details. Their online store also has a selection of festive candles, cake toppers and paper plates and napkins, making it the perfect one-stop contactless pickup party shop. bakedon8th.com