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Best Bakery 

Lake Forest Pastry Shop

At Lake Forest Pastry Shop, even gooey butter isn't enough. They make deep butter coffee cakes, gooey butter on top of an all-butter pound cake, and it sits on the shelf, heavy and happy, next to Paradise -- which Lake Forest invented. "We're the only ones that can make it," a sixtyish lady in a blue-striped apron explains over her shoulder as she carefully ties string around a waxed box. "Other people copy and copy, but it's never quite right." Right is pecans that taste like the South, planted in a Danish dough riddled with ... you guessed it ... gooey butter. Is it any wonder that St. Louisans skid into Lake Forest's life-endangering postage-stamp parking lot, push through the vintage glass-block entry and take their numbers as if they're buying a winning Lotto ticket? They'll stand in line for an hour if they have to, waiting to buy creme horns with pure, sweet filling the color of old lace -- not that cold white sticky stuff they pipe into soggy logs at the grocery-store bakery. Number called, they add to the order on impulse: maybe the Black Forest Torte with strawberries, whipped-cream icing and dark rich chocolate shavings, or a warm Edelweiss ring filled with pecan custard, or a little bit of Paradise ...

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