Thea writes of high quality foods, local diners, mom-and-pop places, and authentic tastes in the foothills of North Carolina.
Liv For Sweets: A Surprising Bakery
Recently I went to Liv For Sweets to try out some of their locally famous cupcakes and cookies.
Liv For Sweets is surprising in every way. It has won numerous local and even state awards, the most recent being Best Cupcake of North Carolina, beating out the established Maxie B’s bakery of Greensboro, NC. You would think Liv For Sweets was in Winston, or Raleigh, or Charlotte. Well, it’s not. It’s in the tiny, picturesque town of Pilot Mountain, nestled into a small shop on Main Street, just a few minutes from exit 134 on Highway 52.
So how did a tiny bakery in such an itty-bitty town capture the hearts of thousands of customers, selling out of their delectable sweets almost daily? They achieved this by being great at what they do. Every product they put out is created with excellence in mind. The shop is always clean and adorably decorated. The creative mastermind behind it all seems to have endless ideas, and the talent to match. These qualities have made people trust Liv For Sweets and make repeat trips to satisfy their sweet tooth.
It’s a Family Affair
The creative baker named Liv opened the shop a few years ago after running pop-up shops around town in other businesses and growing in popularity, when she decided to open a storefront, which has been a wild success. Her boyfriend frequently helps out, and her mom also comes in to run the counter. Her brother is also known to help, as well as other family members. If you’re looking for a mom and pop cupcake shop, look no further. Liv For Sweets truly is a family affair.
Delicious, Creative, and Cute
As you can see from the sweets pictured, the cupcakes and cookies are adorable and creative. Liv For Sweets always puts a fun twist on things, and has different monthly menus based on the seasons. Be sure to check their facebook page for the current menu. Also, go early, they almost always sell out.
On our recent trip, we ordered a Lava Cake cupcake. The cake itself was rich and chocolatey and moist. The icing was very rich and creamy and packed with fudgy flavor. On top was a mini brownie muffin that looked like a tiny lava cake, and it had a chocolate sauce infuser. Finally, the whole thing was dusted with powdered sugar. It was absolutely to die for!
I also picked up a strawberry white chocolate cookie sandwich: two white chocolate chip cookies filled with strawberry buttercream, a surprise of rich strawberry jam in the center, and drizzled with strawberry icing and edible glitter. It was so good! The frosting was delicious, light, heavenly, and tasted slightly of strawberries. The icing was not too sweet. It tasted more like butter than it did of sugar.
Finally, we got a chocolate covered Oreo with Easter decorations. It was so cute I almost didn’t want to eat it. You could tell it was fresh and the flavor was great--what’s not to love in a chocolate covered Oreo?
Past favorites of mine have been Pumpkin Spice with cream cheese frosting, strawberry french toast, s’mores, chocolate cheesecake, and pink lemonade. Some of the cupcakes even have alcohol infusers, like champagne or bailey’s. Others still have maple syrup infusers, or lemonade infusers.
Some Possible Drawbacks
As with anything in life, not everything is perfect. Even though I loved Liv for Sweets, some people may find the following things to be drawbacks.
If you like fondant, or want to place an order for a fondant cake, this is not your bakery. They pride themselves on being a non-fondant bakery. I personally do not like fondant, so I am fine with this.
Also, if you want to place a custom order, you may have to do it months in advance. Liv almost always is booked up for weeks ahead. If you know you want a cake for a certain time, be sure to call way early. If not, you may be reduced to going that morning and just seeing what they happen to have on hand. (The bakery frequently decorates mini-cakes and sells them that day).
I personally like my buttercream a bit sweeter than they make theirs. To me, it tastes almost too light, leaning heavily to the side of butter or crisco, rather than sugar. While I also don't like it too sweet like the icings used at grocery store bakeries, I just think a little bit more sugar on some of the icing flavors could be helpful. However, my husband adores all the icings they use, and thinks they are perfect. As I mentioned before, this is a matter of personal taste and opinion, and in no way reflects badly on this mom-and-pop bakery. I am just careful to order chocolate or cream cheese flavors, which are richer and more satisfying, personally, to my sweet tooth.
Finally, the cupcake and cake prices are steeper than other bakeries. There is truth in the old saying, you get what you pay for. Since these cupcakes are gourmet and hand decorated in a small, local shop in a small community, the prices are a bit higher. Some of the plainer ones might be nearer $3, but the more elaborate ones hover around $4. A cookie sandwich will run you $4-5 and a colossal brownie is right around $4. On the more economical end, you have chocolate covered Oreos, mini cake pops, and single (non-filled) giant cookies, which each hover around $2. All these prices are after tax. If you want dozens of cheap cupcakes for a party, this may not be your ideal bakery, and you could probably do it way cheaper at the grocery store bakery, although the flavor and elaboration is completely different, and more in line with the cheaper price.
All in all, I give this bakery a full five stars. I will definitely be back. On their website or Facebook page you can find the current menu and hours of operation. Be sure to leave a comment if you've been there and telling what you ordered, and what you thought of it.
© 2021 Thea Tsayt