Delicious Treats to Fall For from The Short Giraffe

Sarasota, The Short Giraffe, downtown Sarasota, Fall, local business

Leigh Growney of Sarasota’s The Short Giraffe Mini Confections and Catering. Photograph by Naomi Chokr

While here on the Gulf Coast we may not hear the crunching of golden leaves beneath our feet or feel the brisk chill in the air, we can still enjoy all the autumnal treats that come with the fall season (isn’t that the best part?).

For Leigh Growney of Sarasota’s The Short Giraffe Mini Confections and Catering, fall means the return of some awesome sweets – from warm ginger molasses cookies to fresh pumpkin bundts with bailey’s butter. Leigh has been serving up exquisite miniature cakes, truffles, gourmet coffee and every kind of delicious dessert you can dream up since opening in 2012. I headed on over to the charming bakery on State Street in downtown Sarasota, where I spoke with the lovely Leigh about all things fall. 

The Short Giraffe

The Short Giraffe

– What inspired you to open The Short Giraffe in Sarasota?

Sarasota is an interesting mix of older retirees, young families just starting out, and funky 20-somethings with money to burn and a taste for extravagance. An all-mini baking business seemed like the best choice to cater to elegant parties and charity events with small finger-foods, yet still be able to turn around and make an amazingly delicious mini birthday cake for a two-year-old’s special day.

I grew up in a home where baking was a skill and flavor was most important. Flavor and freshness are most important to me, so offering a variety of mini desserts with delicious, fresh, and local ingredients was my goal. No one around here had the idea, so I figured, heck, make the move before someone else does. I have found that the results and popularity have spoken for themselves!

– What’s your favorite thing about fall in Sarasota?

It gets a little cooler outside, so it’s a nice relief from the heat of the summer. I love fall apparel, and it’s great to see people in the area still embracing their boots and scarves!

– When you’re not baking, what do you like to do in the area?

Sleep! (she laughs). I really enjoy going to all the different local restaurants. I consider myself a foodie, and when you’re around sweets 24/7 you really appreciate savory things! There’s so many amazing restaurants here in Sarasota, and we all support each other which is really nice. I’ll stop by one night for dinner somewhere local, and they’ll stop in and see me for a coffee and a cupcake.

– What’s the most popular fall treat that you make?

All things pumpkin! My favorite is the Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Shooter – layered pumpkin mousse, cheesecake mousse and our house made graham crackers. You get the taste of pumpkin mixed in with creamy cheesecake, and who doesn’t love cheesecake?

–  Do you have a favorite fall ingredient?

Again, it has to be pumpkin! I love apples too. My spin on apple pie is a mini crumble – the buttery, crumbly topping with the sweet sharpness of apple is delicious!

Where (some of) the magic happens!

Where (some of) the magic happens!

I explained to Leigh that in England, where I’m from, we really don’t cook with pumpkin. I have to say, I think I should start a pumpkin revolution across the pond after trying the Pumpkin Butter Coffee Cake. It was amazing!

Pumpkin Butter Coffee Cake - I can confirm, they are delicious!

The Special of the Day

The Short Giraffe has developed a loyal following, including among Sarasota’s Police Force! While I was there, a Sarasota Police Officer told me he’d been in the day before (on Cupcake Tuesday) and had a Nutella Fudge Ganache cupcake, which in his words “almost made me shed a tear”. Who’d have thought a cupcake could make a Police Officer cry?



 Of course,  I couldn’t leave without some goodies to take back to the office, including a dulce de leche cupcake and a sea salt caramel chocolate chip cookie. It’s always OK to eat cake for lunch, right?

short giraffe bags

Be sure to check out The Short Giraffe located at 1412 State Street, and don’t forget to “Like” them on Facebook to keep up with what’s being baked.

Do you have a favorite fall recipe? Share it with us!

  • User Gravatar Jenny
    September 30th, 2013

    This place sounds so lovely! I would love to try the pumpkin butter coffee cake! This post has made me want to snuggle up with some cake & a hot chocolate!

  • User Gravatar Pam Taylor
    October 4th, 2013

    Yum – think I might have to go there tomorrow!!!

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