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There's always dessert at Sweet Butter Cakery

If you've lived in Hudson for any period of time, chances are that you've enjoyed a dessert baked by Joni Garbe.

In 1981, she and her brother Gary Traeger opened the Old World Bake Shop in downtown Hudson. After selling the business nine years later, Garbe set up a professionally licensed kitchen in her home on St. Croix Street and began supplying area restaurants with desserts.

Over the years, her Sweet Butter Cakery has provided after-dinner sweets for restaurants such as Mama Maria's in North Hudson and the Bungalow Inn, the Afton House and the Gasthaus Bavarian on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River.

Now Garbe and her daughter Cathi have moved the Sweet Butter Cakery to a retail shop next to the Hudson Cinema 9 movie theater, where customers can purchase the same savory cakes, tortes, pastries, pies and other treats served in fine restaurants.

"Moving into a retail space is what is new and different from what she has done before," Cathi said of her mother.

The shop offers the freshly baked cakes, tortes and pies whole or by the slice. Table seating and coffee is provided for people who want to enjoy the treats on the spot.

"It's going to be different every day. It's going to be different every month. And it's going to be different every season," Cathi said of the selections.

In addition to desserts, the shop last week was offering quiche and savories (mushrooms, leeks, beans or sausage wrapped in paper-thin baked filo dough and baked).

The shop serves Blue Bunny ice cream on a cone or in a dish. You can also have a scoop to go with a piece of cake or pie.

The Garbes also will prepare boxed lunches that include a sandwich, fresh vegetables and a dessert. They request that people call or fax in their lunch orders 24 hours in advance.

Desserts and treats to match the holidays - including Thanksgiving pies and Christmas cookies - will be featured.

The Garbes also are promoting the business as a "party-planning store."

"If you're having a birthday party for a 12-year-old and don't know what to do for it, you can come here and get your cake, get your balloons, get your cards and maybe hire a clown," said Cathi.

She said she can refer customers to a number of musicians and other performing artists that she became acquainted with while working at the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, Minn.

As a graduate of the UW-River Falls art program, Cathi also has friends who are fine artists and plans to offer the Sweet Butter Cakery as a place for them to display their work.

The main attraction of the shop will be Joni Garbe's baked goods, however.

Cathi said her mother is an accomplished pastry chef who can bake to order virtually any kind of cake or torte customers can imagine.

They don't have to settle for white, chocolate or marble cake, she said. They can have gingerbread, pound, lemon poppy seed, carrot or any number of other cakes.

Instead of frosting the cake with Crisco and sugar, they can cover it with butter cream, cream cheese, chocolate, peanut butter or some other unique icing.

Wedding cakes are one of Joni's specialties.

Their mission, Cathi said, is to create desserts that are "small and decadent and wonderful and enough and something other than chemicals, sugar and air."

The mother and daughter expanded their knowledge of pastry making during an eight-week tour of French, German and Austrian bakeries in 1999.

"I took what I thought I knew about pastry and then I went to the source," Joni said. "I learned what pastry is actually about."

Sweet Butter Cakery welcomes both corporate and retail customers. The shop is located on the back side of the strip mall at the southwest corner of Crest View Drive and O'Keefe Road, adjacent to the Hudson Cinema parking lot.

Orders for unique cakes should be placed three days in advance of the pick-up date. You can place orders by phone at (715) 531-1555 or by fax at (715) 531-1554.

The shop is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Randy Hanson can be reached at

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066