Grand Finales


Story by Steven Major
Photos by Matt Williams Photography

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Among our holiday food traditions, it is often the desserts that we look forward to the most. A sweet potato pie sitting on the counter gives everyone something to look forward to at the end of the meal, and being entrusted with the task of providing dessert for a holiday gathering is not a responsibility that should be taken lightly.

Instead, look to a pastry pro, like Jackie Green, who learned the art of baking delicious cakes and pies from her grandmother. Since 2009 she’s been sharing that tradition and her talents with the community via Sweet Cheeks Bakery. Originally run from her home, she opened a storefront in Apex at 803 East Williams Street about five years ago.

Dessert preferences vary and, for a large gathering, having more than one dessert is a must—Green tends to show up to Thanksgiving dinner with five. Having one or two classic selections, like pecan or pumpkin pie, is always a good idea, but bringing something a little different is also a great way to capture people’s attention.

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Sweet Cheeks Bakery has wonderful options in both departments. For the traditionalists, the sweet potato and pecan pies are excellent choices. Both are rich and flavorful, with a crust that delivers crunch without being dry. Green’s signature pound cake is another classic holiday dessert that is sure to please. The Butter Pound Cake is a family recipe that has become a signature dish for the bakery: rich and buttery with the flaky exterior that is the mark of a great pound cake. While the cake by itself is amazing, trying it with her pecan cream cheese drizzle is an absolute must. The pecans—which are used generously—add a wonderful bit of crunch to each bite, and the thin layer of cream cheese icing takes the richness of the cake to new heights.

For those looking to try something a little different, the Candy Cane Cake is a perfect winter dessert: a traditional chocolate layer cake with peppermint filling and a layer of crushed peppermint candy around the outside that makes the cake as attractive as it is tasty. Other great options include the Italian Cream Cake, which boasts the signature coconut filling and an outer layer of toasted coconut, and the Coconut Custard Pie. Showing up with any of these great desserts is a deliciously easy way to be the most popular guest at any holiday gathering.