Baked goods are lovely ways to say "thank you" or "congratulations"--unless they're preservative-laden and topped with rock-hard frosting. Instead, send the right message with these from-scratch treats, which are hugely popular in their home cities and can be shipped to yours overnight.
Many cupcakes taste suspicious and come loaded with sprinkles in not-found-in-nature colors. But New York's Butter Lane's ($75 for 12) are made with fresh fruit, fragrant vanilla beans and a third less sugar than most. The owners are so anti artificial, they refuse to put red velvets--which typically get their hue from food coloring--on the menu.
At Nashville's Chucklet & Honey, baker Chuck Hargett focuses his considerable talents on just four cookies ($29 for 20), all dense, chewy and packed with butter. We love the massive, quarter-pound Fluffer-Nutter, which sandwiches marshmallow cream and peanut butter between two oatmeal cookies.
Imagine a made-for-one wedding cake sans chalky fondant and you get Cake Monkey's three-inch-high layer cakes ($68 for nine). The L.A. bakery's Must Love Chocolate sampler includes devil's food, banana and chocolate cakes, slathered in butter cream and finished with quirky toppings like caramelized Rice Krispies. Besides the Alice in Wonderland-esque desserts, Cake Monkey also ships its playful takes on Ho Hos, Pop-Tarts and Ding Dongs.