SEFFNER — After a career in management, most recently with GTE Federal Credit Union, Michelle Aiken started yearning for something sweeter.
She opened Michelle's Cakes Galore Bakery & Café this year on U.S. 92 across from Armwood High School.
Baking had been a lifelong passion for Aiken, and she was always called upon to create cakes for family occasions. Her cakes were so popular with her family and friends that she decided to turn her passion into a business.
"Our specialty is cakes," she said. "We do wedding cakes and custom cakes for special occasions such as children's birthdays. There's a lot of interest in specialty cakes right now because of all the TV shows, so those are very popular. But we also have cupcakes, and you can get just a slice of cake."
Although Michelle's offers cakes and cupcakes galore — plus cookies, brownies and other baked treats — sweets and desserts aren't the extent of the cafe's offerings. The lunch menu features a variety of gourmet sandwiches, and the breakfast menu includes a specialty called Michelle's grit bowl that combines grits, cheese and sausage.
The entire menu is available for dining in the cafe, which seats about 24 at tables and a counter, or for carry-out. Michelle's also offers catering in addition to custom cake creation.
Michelle's Cakes Galore Bakery & Café is at 12029 E U.S. 92 in Seffner. Hours are 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call (813) 428-5970 or visit michellescakesgalore.com.
Tabitha's Tea opens near Brandon mall
BRANDON — Lori Mincey was enjoying a successful career, but she decided to follow her culinary muse and open a restaurant.
Mincey had been a teacher at Brandon and East Bay high schools for about 20 years. In her leisure hours, she had always been drawn to tea parties and tearooms. She and her family regularly visited tearooms around the Tampa Bay area, and she was often asked to host tea parties for friends on special occasions.
On May 24, she opened Tabitha's Tea, named after her 17-year-old daughter, in the Brandon Crossroads Shopping Center, just east of Westfield Brandon Shopping Mall.
The atmosphere is elegant and "pretty girlie," Mincey said. She and her staff offer formal afternoon tea (finger sandwiches, scones and pastries), plus a selection of soups, salads and artisan sandwiches. One of the highlights is a selection of 50 kinds of tea.
The space is divided into several rooms. The smallest seats about eight and the largest about 25, so it's ideal for intimate events, such as small parties or business lunches. Catering and carry-out service also are available.
Tabitha's Tea is at 2052 Badlands Drive. It's open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call (813) 438-8901 or visit tabithastea.com.
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