As recent transplants to Ann Arbor, we've adopted a little neighborhood gem as our regular stop for breakfast treats and other baked goods. Big City Small World Bakery, on Miller west of First, is hard to miss - it's the cheerful orange and yellow house on the corner.
We happened upon the place when we were looking for a really good, non-traditional birthday cake. We found one in the Belgian chocolate torte. A classic torte, dense and rich like cheesecake, with an incredible deep, dark chocolate. Amazingly decadent. It's also beautiful, with a glossy dark icing and shaved chocolate.
Since then, we've been back many times for the wonderful scones (cranberry, currant, cinnamon-walnut). Unlike cake-y scones we've had elsewhere, these seem to have little flour or leavening agents - thin (not puffed/risen) with a big crumb. Great flavor.
Muffins are excellent as well. Raspberry sour cream, moist and heavy with an intense raspberry flavor and a crumb topping. Blueberry, light and crisp outside, packed with fruit.
They also have an assortment of breads. We've tried the pumpernickel (dark, slightly sour, not too coarse - fabulous) and the potato (very good too).
Our only disappointments have been the chocolate eclair and the capuccino. The eclair looks wonderful, but the pastry was tougher than we expected and the flavor was just "eh." As for the cappucino, it's ok but a little below the standards of other places in town (we like ERC and Cafe Verde).
That said, we love this place and keep returning again and again.
BTW, as new arrivals we really appreciate local hounds introducing us to such great places as Sabor Latino, Mysore Woodlands, Red Hawk, The Earle, and many others. Thanks all!
Big City Small World Bakery