What You’re Missing If You Haven’t Been to The Dessert Fork

I vividly remember in the fall of 2018 driving on HWY 72 and noticing new signage that made me do a double-take: The Dessert Fork.

The attractive logo coupled with the appeal of what I assumed was a new bakery had me highly interested in what was to come.

The Dessert Fork | Madison, Alabama bakery |In short, The Dessert Fork is a locally owned and operated bakery and the only one of its kind in Madison.  Inside features a walk-up counter and a large window with many desserts to choose from. There is always a pot a hot coffee going for guests who'd like coffee, and because McFarlin is a "tea person", she has a slew of tea options available for purchase as well.   She even has a wall of merchandise with "gift shop style" items that are perfect for putting together for a loved one's birthday or other celebratory events.

It wouldn’t be until this week though that I finally made my way into the shop to check out what it was all about, and I’ll be the first to say that I’ve been missing out on what’s been going on at The Dessert Fork. Color me highly impressed because this wonderful bakery is doing just about everything right.

If you’ve been a guest before, you’re surely shaking your head in agreement. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.

The Dessert Fork | Madison, Alabama bakery |In short, The Dessert Fork is a locally owned and operated bakery and the only one of its kind in Madison.  Inside features a walk-up counter and a large window with many desserts to choose from. There is always a pot a hot coffee going for guests who'd like coffee, and because McFarlin is a "tea person", she has a slew of tea options available for purchase as well.   She even has a wall of merchandise with "gift shop style" items that are perfect for putting together for a loved one's birthday or other celebratory events.

What to Expect

In short, The Dessert Fork is a locally owned and operated bakery and the only one of its kind in Madison.

Inside features a walk-up counter and a large window with many desserts to choose from. There is always a pot a hot coffee going for guests who’d like coffee, and because McFarlin is a “tea person”, she has a slew of tea options available for purchase as well. 

She even has a wall of merchandise with “gift shop style” items that are perfect for putting together something for a loved one’s birthday or other celebratory events.

The Dessert Fork | Madison, Alabama bakery |In short, The Dessert Fork is a locally owned and operated bakery and the only one of its kind in Madison.  Inside features a walk-up counter and a large window with many desserts to choose from. There is always a pot a hot coffee going for guests who'd like coffee, and because McFarlin is a "tea person", she has a slew of tea options available for purchase as well.   She even has a wall of merchandise with "gift shop style" items that are perfect for putting together for a loved one's birthday or other celebratory events.

There is currently space for about 10 people to dine-in at roughly five tables, perfect for a quick outing with one’s child, spouse, parent, or friend. 

[Author note]: I cannot wait to bring my oldest daughter here. She is always asking to go on a “Mommy date”, and I know her eyes will light up when she walks into The Dessert Fork!

The Dessert Fork | Madison, Alabama bakery |In short, The Dessert Fork is a locally owned and operated bakery and the only one of its kind in Madison.  Inside features a walk-up counter and a large window with many desserts to choose from. There is always a pot a hot coffee going for guests who'd like coffee, and because McFarlin is a "tea person", she has a slew of tea options available for purchase as well.   She even has a wall of merchandise with "gift shop style" items that are perfect for putting together for a loved one's birthday or other celebratory events.

I wonder how many women have walked into the storefront and said “This is so cute!”… because it is. The pink and black color scheme lends itself to an inviting atmosphere where guests feel comfortable grabbing a seat with the sweet treat(s) they’ve selected. Typically the tables are adorned with white table cloths, but some of the decor has been temporarily suspended to allow for easier and more frequent cleaning. 

The History

Pauline McFarlin opened The Dessert Fork in November 2018 after operating her own at-home bakery for nearly five years.

Madison, Alabama Bakery The Dessert Fork Pauline McFarlin Owner

“When I created my original business plan, I had a growth plan. This bakery was that growth plan,” shared McFarlin.

“I chose Madison because there was a need for a bakery here. We didn’t have one.”

She currently has four employees who are on a consistent baking schedule, allowing the shop to stay open from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. 

What She Serves

“Everything is baked from scratch,” shared McFarlin. “We do not use any preservatives or artificial flavors.”

The Dessert Fork | Madison, Alabama bakery |In short, The Dessert Fork is a locally owned and operated bakery and the only one of its kind in Madison.  Inside features a walk-up counter and a large window with many desserts to choose from. There is always a pot a hot coffee going for guests who'd like coffee, and because McFarlin is a "tea person", she has a slew of tea options available for purchase as well.   She even has a wall of merchandise with "gift shop style" items that are perfect for putting together for a loved one's birthday or other celebratory events.

When asked what her most popular menu items are, she said that the strawberry pretzel salad is always a favorite. The red velvet cupcakes are her most popular cupcakes, and the lemon bars are a crowd favorite too.

During my visit, I was fortunate to sample a few of the most popular items, and they sure did not disappoint. The strawberry cupcake truly tasted like I was eating a strawberry in a cupcake form. The flavor was impressive. My daughters and I shared a chocolate cupcake, which we all raved over. They scraped every inch of icing from the plate! If you’re a coconut fan (I am!), don’t miss grabbing a coconut cream pie. Wow!

The common denominator with everything I sampled was that the flavor was spot-on. We enjoy grocery store bakery treats from time to time, but what’s happening at The Dessert Fork is next-level. McFarlin’s creations are products of carefully-crafted recipes with a homemade, fresh taste. 

Also, have you ever enjoyed a dessert at Champy’s? Those were items baked at The Dessert Fork too. 

Weddings and Events

“We love our walk-in customer base, but we are really known for our custom cakes,” shared McFarlin. 

The Dessert Fork | Madison, Alabama bakery |In short, The Dessert Fork is a locally owned and operated bakery and the only one of its kind in Madison.  Inside features a walk-up counter and a large window with many desserts to choose from. There is always a pot a hot coffee going for guests who'd like coffee, and because McFarlin is a "tea person", she has a slew of tea options available for purchase as well.   She even has a wall of merchandise with "gift shop style" items that are perfect for putting together for a loved one's birthday or other celebratory events.

McFarlin says that she can prepare a creative cake for events of any size and that no event is too small. She shared that customers can give her a call or come in-store to give her their theme (if they have one) and that she’ll then find out more about the event, how many people are attending, and more about how she can tailor the cake and other desserts specifically for this event. 

For wedding cakes, all brides and grooms are invited to do wedding tastings with full tasting plates. 

“We love finding out the story behind the couple and believe in the cake as a means to tell that story at their wedding.”

McFarlin shared that even if a couple is planning to elope, she’ll make a cake for you. 

“There is no reason not to celebrate with cake!”

The Pandemic

When asked how the current health crisis has affected her business, McFarlin said that she’s really tried to look at it as a blessing. She says that she’s been able to reevaluate various aspects of her business and improve upon the things that she wanted to see done better, such as adding an option for online ordering

“Since opening, I hadn’t had a chance to slow down, so even though parts of this have been hard, I’m really trying to focus at looking at it as a blessing. We really miss the hustle and bustle of our in-store customers though, and I really miss wedding season!”

The Dessert Fork | Madison, Alabama bakery |In short, The Dessert Fork is a locally owned and operated bakery and the only one of its kind in Madison.  Inside features a walk-up counter and a large window with many desserts to choose from. There is always a pot a hot coffee going for guests who'd like coffee, and because McFarlin is a "tea person", she has a slew of tea options available for purchase as well.   She even has a wall of merchandise with "gift shop style" items that are perfect for putting together for a loved one's birthday or other celebratory events.

Try The Dessert Fork

The Dessert Fork is participating in mid-August’s “Huntsville Restaurant Week” and will be serving $5 dessert duos and trios. McFarlin says that this will be a great way to try a variety of menu items and perfect for those who have never been to The Dessert Fork before.

Aug 14    Mini Chocolate Cake, French Macarons

Aug 15    Lemon Bar, Smore’s Brownie, Cookie Butter Bar

Aug 18    Lemon Brulee Tart, Chocolate Panna Cotta

Aug 19    Peanut Butter Pie Slice, Strawberry Thumbprint Cookie

Aug 20    Banana Pudding, Strawberry Panna Cotta

The Dessert Fork 

107 Brookridge Drive Ste E2

Madison, AL 35758

256) 970-4979

Website | Facebook

Most photography in this article is by Whitney Briscoe for All Things Madison. Whitney has been serving the community and surrounding area for over a decade capturing weddings, families, events, food, and more. To learn more about booking Whitney Briscoe Photography for your wedding, family session, etc. please find her website here

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