Catonsville bakeries show Ravens pride

While many choose to show their support for the Baltimore Ravens by wearing purple clothing or sporting purple flags outside their homes, three Catonsville bakeries are showing their spirit in a less traditional way – through their pastries.

Bakers Park, SugarBakers and Atwater's are all firing up their ovens to turn out as many Ravens-themed cookies, cupcakes and specialty items as possible for Super Bowl weekend.

Dylan Meyers, the production manager for bread and pastries at the Frederick Road Atwater's location, said that while Atwater's regularly offers Ravens-themed cupcakes — chocolate cupcakes with purple and black icing, topped with a sprinkling of gold dust — he and the rest of the Atwater's team are busy inventing an entire spread of Super Bowl items.

"For Super Bowl weekend, we actually have a semi-large line," Meyers said.

In addition to beef and bean chili and New Orleans style gumbo, Atwater's will be selling both Ravens- and San Francisco 49ers-themed cupcakes, football-shaped brownies with white icing laces, Ravens-themed macaroons and T-shirt shaped cookies piped with "#52."

"I'm really excited about the cookies for some reason," Meyers said. "I think a lot of people feel that way, that we've watched Ray Lewis for a long time."

He said that the new products are a way to pay tribute to the team's success this year as well as the retirement of one of the most famous Ravens of all time.

"Part of it is obviously financial, but part of it is also tributary. It's a way to show our appreciation," Meyers said.

Atwater's won't be the only local bakery featuring tributes to Ray Lewis next weekend.

SugarBakers on Frederick Road designed a new specialty cake showcasing black cutouts of Ray Lewis performing his iconic pre-game dance and a raven in flight next to the word "Destiny!" written in black on a purple icing background.

This specialty cake will be sold in addition to the usual array of Ravens pastries that SugarBakers has on a regular basis, said retail store manager Caroline McGonigle.

"During football season, on the weekend, we'll put out cakes with purple decoration or sugar cookies with ravens and football themes and stuff like that," McGonigle said.

McGonigle said that designing and selling Ravens items is an obviously choice for the store.

"Because support is statewide. You don't have to be downtown to support," McGonigle said. "So we definitely get a lot of people. I mean you walk up and down the street along Frederick Road and all the businesses have their stuff out. I'm getting ready to decorate us this weekend for purple outside (the store) and a little bit more inside."

"It doesn't matter where you are, people want to support," McGonigle said. "And any kind of specialty item sold anywhere of any type, I think is going to sell."

Wami Shittu, owner and pastry chef at Bakers Park on Baltimore National Pike, shares this belief in local support and highlights that in her specialty creations.

"Ravens are ours. It's local to us. We relate to them," Shittu said. "If (you're) a local business, a small business, in Baltimore, you can celebrate with the Ravens whichever which way because your customers are celebrating."

Shittu said she has made more than 12 dozen of her Ravens-themed cupcakes — a vanilla batter dyed purple with purple icing and a helmet or a football on top — over the past three weekends and expects to see an influx of orders for specialty cakes as Super Bowl weekend approaches.

She has made football shaped cakes and cakes featuring edible images for Ravens orders in the past and, though she doesn't have any yet, is expecting many orders this weekend.

"People always wait until the last minute for that," Shittu said of specialty cake orders.

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