Root for the Penguins on the ice (and on the icing)
By Kellie B. Gormly
Published: Friday, May 31, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
Those Pittsburgh Penguins sure are playing well. And they taste good, too.
Bakeries all over greater Pittsburgh celebrate our hockey team during its season with yummy, Penguins-themed goodies, such as decorated cakes, cookies and cupcakes. The sweets always sell well during the hockey season, but especially disappear quickly during the playoffs, as enthusiasm for the team and sport intensifies, says Lincoln Kretchmar, the third-generation owner of Kretchmar's Bakery in Beaver. Customers give good feedback, he says.
“Everybody likes to see the black and gold in the cases,” says Kretchmar, a big Penguins fan. “They'll see the number of their favorite player ... and they get excited.”
It's the same thing during football season: Customers love their Steelers-themed baked goods, especially when the Steelers make the playoffs, he says.
Kretchmar's sells cupcakes with a copyright-approved plastic picks with a Penguins logo, and cookies in the shapes of jerseys and stars with players' numbers. The bakery also makes jersey-shaped cakes with the number 87, Sidney Crosby's number, and 8-inch, round, single-layer caked with themed decorations, often a Penguins window cling. Kretchmar's cupcake creations — with two dozen cupcakes laid out in the shape of a penguin — also sell well, he says. People usually pre-order cakes and cupcake creations, says Kretchmar, who sells hundreds of Penguin cookies a week, and maybe two to three dozen a day.
One drawback of Penguins baked goods is the black-colored icing, which gives eaters purple mouths and teeth for awhile. Kretchmar softens this effect by spraying food coloring atop the frosting, rather than using frosting that is completely black.
Each day, Michael Weaver, retail manager of Oakmont Bakery, sells a few dozen each of Penguins cookies and cupcakes — topped with handmade frosting penguins sitting vertically atop the cupcake. The bakery makes Penguin-shaped cakes — recommended for pre-order — and giant Penguins cookie cakes. This week, the staff changed the name of their Boston Cream Pie to Penguins Cream Pie.
“People will pass by ... and say, ‘Wow, these are penguins — look at them,' ” Weaver says.
Customers buy the cupcakes or other Penguins baked goods for a friend or family member who is a passionate hockey fan.
Customers will say, “My son loves the Penguins, so he'll love this cookie,” Weaver says. “He may not eat the cookie. He may just hold it because he loves the Penguins so much he might just cherish this memento.”
On Fridays during this season, Oakmont Bakery employees wear Penguins shirts to show their pride, he says.
“People really enjoy doing that,” Weaver says. “It's cool.”
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7824.
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