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Bountiful Bakeries: Pee Dee

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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The smells. The sights. The flavors. The freshness. The voices. Together, these qualities define the bakery experience. If it’s a good one, your visual, olfactory, gustatory and auditory senses will spring to life the second you walk through the door. Intoxicating aromas should be in full bloom. A well-stocked bakery case should visually delight the eyes.

Your taste buds should stand at attention as you consider your options. And your ears should fill with the sounds of a warm welcome. If you stopped by such a bakery for a donut or muffin, rest assured you’ll be walking out with at least five or six more goodies. Your lack of resistance is a sign that good bakery protocols have been put in place.

The Pee Dee region might be known for its agricultural roots and the Darlington Raceway, but there are other things to commend it, namely all the bakeries that dot the area. If there’s one thing the people here hold true to, it’s an appetite for good, old-fashioned eating. Here is a list of bakeries that work hard to sweeten the Pee Dee. (Note: Call for availability of featured items.)

Artsy Cakes and Bakery, Kingstree 
This full-service bakery is known for making some of the most creative custom cakes around. You’ll also find everything from cheesecake to cinnamon rolls to delectable donuts.
Treats to try: Banana pudding cheesecake, 7-Up pound cake, pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls

CJ’s Cakes and Catering, Hartsville 
This family-run operation has been serving the Pee Dee since 1996, helping to make any occasion truly special. That’s a whole lot of cakes, pies, cookies and desserts.
Treats to try: 12-layer chocolate cake, cream cheese pound cake, Derby pie

Connie’s Bakery, Kingstree 
Where’s the cake? If that’s your mantra, head to this bakery where you can have your heart’s delight by the slice, the half or shoot the moon and take home a whole cake. There are also cupcakes, cookies and other sweets, all homemade.
Treats to try: Turtle cookies, cinnamon rolls, carrot cake

Freeman’s Bakery, Florence 
Since 1964, this bakery has been Florence’s go-to for everything sweet. In the tradition of full-service bakeries, the cases at Freeman’s are filled each day with some of the best scratch-made baked goods around. Bet you can’t try just one thing.
Treats to try: Caramel cake, cream cheese coffee cake, apple fritters

Griggs Circle Bakery, Hartsville 
The people of Hartsville are more than happy to have this bustling bakery in their midst. The breads, pies, pastries and such are simply divine because they are made with quality ingredients.
Treats to try: Fresh baked breads, brownies, sweet potato pie

Icing Ink, Florence 
Simplicity and high-quality ingredients go into everything baked at Icing Ink. This is one of Florence’s favorite sources for birthday cakes, pies and pastries.
Treats to try: Mounds brownies, pecan pie, Southern 12-layer fudge cake

One-Fifty Ate Baking Co., Cheraw 
If variety is the spice of life—yours, in particular—then head to this bakery for an array that will get your mouth watering. You will find all your favorites here, from scones to croissants to muffins to coffee cakes and then some.
Treats to try: Cinnamon brown sugar scones, caramel pecan rolls, cherry turnovers

Raspberries & Thyme, Marion 
The cafe of this small operation might be bustling, but it’s the bakery component that serves as its heart and soul. Enjoy muffins, cookies, cakes and more, fresh from the oven and in a variety of flavors.
Treats to try: Chocolate chip muffins, cinnamon rolls, cranberry chocolate chip cookies

Sweet Cafe and Bakery, Florence 
Small-batch baking and the best ingredients are the calling cards of this robust little bakeshop. Not only will you find a variety of gorgeous and tantalizing cupcakes, but the macarons and cheesecakes will send you sweetly swooning, too.
Treats to try: Paint the Town Red Velvet cupcake, salted caramel cupcake, bourbon butter pecan cheesecake

Sweet Tooth, Florence 
Made from scratch and served up fresh, the cakes, cookies, cupcakes and other baked goods will please your craving for something sweet and delicious. This bakery really lives up to its name.
Treats to try: Mississippi mud bars, lemon-blueberry cupcakes, red velvet cake

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.