I have been a fan of Hopscotch Cakes & Confections when the owner, Kaya Tate, was a regular at the farmers' markets and when she moved to the new Art Mart location with her own case. This year, I purchased two birthday cakes from her and they were both beautiful with nontraditional flavors that were a big hit. When I found out that Tate was going to have her own brick and mortar location called Hopscotch Bakery and Market, I was so excited to see what she and her team could come up with.
I arrived at Hopscotch Bakery and Market on a beautiful, lazy Sunday morning. Sundays are usually my only days off from work, so I was prepared to treat myself. I also made sure to wear the appropriate stretchy pants to accompany my plan to devour all the delicious baked goodies inside. You know, for research.
The location of Hopscotch Bakery might not be what you'd expect. It's on the corner of John and Pine Streets, right in the middle of a residential neighborhood and catty-corner to Southside Elementary School. While the location was formerly a dietary food store, it had been uninhabited for some time but now, when I drove past and saw the cute, gray building with the orange Hopscotch sign in cursive, I became giddy with excitement.
First, let's talk about the atmosphere inside the building. The interior has so many eye-catching features that it makes it difficult to focus on one. The floor is a gray and white checkered tile. The backsplash behind the counter is a honeycomb shaped. There is a velvet, orange couch that reminds me of the signature couch in Central Perk from the TV show Friends. The shop is light, bright, and beautiful — perfect for a photographer looking for an Instagram opportunity.
There are also many gifts and fun items available for purchase. Flowers, candles, bags, jewelry, cards, notebooks, and more are provided from both local and non-local artists. There are even descriptions of the artist or company listed and where you can find out more about them and their products.
The display case and counter of baked goods and treats were pleasing to both the eye and the stomach. I was happy that I decided to bring my family along for this taste test, so that we could try multiple items at once without seeming too gluttonous. We decided to go with a few breakfast goods and a couple of desserts to get a good balance of flavor, as well as a variety of beverages that are offered.
Our favorite beverage was the spiced ginger cold brew ($5). I have never had cold brew before, but after trying this beverage, I can now understand what all the hype is about. It had a sweet, light coffee flavor with a pleasant finish of ginger. This was the drink that all of us said we would come back and have again.
I ordered the breakfast latte ($5), which contained oatmeal and had whole walnuts in the cup. It had a good ratio of coffee, oatmeal and nutty flavoring. It reminded me more of a fall season drink, but it was a great choice for a morning beverage, regardless of the season.
We also ordered a classic cappuccino ($3.50) and loved it. We were impressed that the barista made the design straight from the spout and not using a straw. This reminded me to drink more cappuccinos because they are almost always delicious and beautiful. They're a great choice if you aren't sure what to order.
As far as the dessert treats go, the vanilla bean cheesecake was a big hit for us. It was rich, creamy and exactly how a cheesecake should taste. We ordered the slice of cheesecake for $5.50 since we were eating all the treats, but we wished we went for the cheesecake for two, since it was only $2 more and our favorite of the treats that we tried. I also chose the champagne cupcake ($3.50) because it was so small and lovely. I usually don't have a huge sweet tooth, so this size of this cupcake is perfect for people like me. The cupcake had a strawberry flavor and berry icing, topped with a raspberry and had a perfect cupcake to icing ratio.
For the breakfast goods, we had the lavender blueberry scone ($2.95) and the almond bread pudding ($5.95). The lavender blueberry scone was our favorite of the two. It was fluffy, moist and buttery with light hints of the blueberry and lavender. The almond bread pudding wasn't something we would order again, mainly because we thought it would be better served warm than room temperature. We thought to ask if we could have it warmed up somehow, but honestly, couldn't finish all of it anyway since we had tasted so many things already. I took the rest of it home in a to-go container and warmed it up for breakfast the next morning. It was much better and went well with my coffee.
Over all, we loved the location and atmosphere of Hopscotch Bakery and Market. The beverages and treats were delicious, but if you are familiar with Kaya Tate's talent, you already knew that. The items Hopscotch sells are constantly changing which make each visit a new experience. I look forward to going back to see what is available next, and to pick up some handcrafted gifts.
Hopscotch Bakery and Market is located on 802 West John Street in Champaign and open Monday through Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
All photos by Brittany Busboom.