What’s Good Here? Ally & Eloise Bakeshop

Special to The StateNovember 6, 2013 

Aleka Selig of Ally & Eloise Bake Shop

SPECIAL TO THE STATE — Deena C. Bouknight

  • Ally & Eloise Bakeshop 5209 Forest Drive, Suite B, just up from Trenholm Plaza

    PRICES: Many items are sold individually or by the dozen. A dozen cookies is $12.50, while a dozen French macaroons is $24. Prices of cakes vary: six-inch cheesecakes are typically $20, while nine-inch layer cakes are around $40.

    HOURS: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.

    INFO: www.allyandeloise.com or (803) 708-2982

What’s good here?

Patrons are especially enamored with the original cheesecake and the French macaroons. French macaroons are gluten free; they are sandwich cookies offered in vanilla, chocolate, coconut, and raspberry and then filled with raspberry jam, vanilla buttercream or chocolate ganache.

Ally & Eloise makes and sells a wide variety of items daily. Some are the owner’s mom’s recipe, some are family recipes, and still others are “found” recipes that have been tweaked by the owner, Aleka Selig.

A few of the unique items are Hodge Podge cookies, featuring peanut butter, chocolate chips, oats and toffee. The Mexican Fudge cupcakes have a hint of cinnamon and are topped with vanilla buttercream. Selig describes her cream puffs as “small pillows” of pastry dough filled with a choice of vanilla or chocolate cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar. There are also Bundt cakes, muffins, scones, dessert bars and baby cakes.

The pre-order menu always has a few different versions of cheesecake: chocolate, pumpkin or praline flavors. Among the Signature Layer Cakes are carrot, red velvet, coconut and hummingbird. A lemon cake has lemon curd filling and lemon buttercream frosting. Ally’s Birthday Cake is a chocolate cake with mocha buttercream.

Customers can “Build Your Own” by choosing from a selection of cake, frosting and filling choices. There are some gluten-free items, and no artificial ingredients are used. “We use real butter, sugar, and flour,” says Selig.

What else?

Ally & Eloise makes specialty cakes, such as Flourless Chocolate, Grandmother’s Pound and Caramel Chocolate Coconut. Customers drop in to buy items for snacks, dessert or to take to parties. Many items are ordered ahead of time for special occasions. Selig also will take custom orders. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, there will be a special menu. Selig plans to offer the traditional decorated sugar cookies and gingerbread men, a ginger cheesecake and some peppermint inspired items.

How did it get started?

Selig grew up in a “foodie” family. Her mother, Walton Selig, owned her own bakery for a few years and also had a mail order cookie business. Other family members owned restaurants.

Selig knew she always wanted to do something with food, but she also had a creative bent. She obtained her undergraduate degree in art, but the pull toward a career in food preparation was too strong. She attended a culinary school in New York and returned to her hometown of Columbia to open Ally & Eloise in April 2012. (Eloise is Selig’s French bulldog.) She sought out the right space for many months and settled on Forest Acres because there are no specialty bakeries located in the area. Selig’s mother assists in the bakeshop.

What is the ambiance?

Selig used her art skills to create a vibrant, colorful bakery space with whimsical paintings, bright blue walls, a glass lamp filled with buttons and a glass display case featuring daily “pick up” treats. Her cousin, Jocelyn Selig, a graphic artist, created the bakery’s upbeat logo, featured large behind the counter.

Who eats the bakery items?

Ally & Eloise draws from not only the Forest Acres area, but also from surrounding neighborhoods and as far away as Irmo and Lexington. Selig says that word-of-mouth advertising has made her shop a go-to location. Selig’s other clientele is in those who visit the Soda City Farmers Market on Main Street downtown on Saturday mornings. “It’s fun to see different people enjoying these products,” says Selig.

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