Dessert Lady is like a seductive Martha Stewart

Dessert steals our hearts, quakes our diets and unleashes torrents of guilt, but it also brings insurmountable pleasure. We have our own dessert goddess here in town. She's Patti Schmidt, "The Dessert Lady," who recently opened her namesake store, after baking her way around Orlando for the last seven years.

You've probably had one of Patti's tasty treats already. Remember that carrot cake from Sam Snead's that everyone was raving about? Patti's. Or how about the heavenly pecan pie that brings you back to HUE, again and again? Patti's. And those scrumptious mini-indulgences at Seasons 52 that always satisfy a stray sweet tooth – Patti created the recipes for those, too.

Schmidt is our local superstar for indulging dessert passions. And she certainly is passionate. With long golden hair and a sweet smile, she is the mirror image of her dessert creations: gorgeous and a little suggestive. She transformed an otherwise bland space into what she calls a "seriously seductive" place to eat dessert and drink wine or coffee. How? She threw away the restaurant catalog and engaged her creativity instead (we're talking Martha Stewart, but sexy). Her space is alive with whimsy and ardor, filled with reds and golds and velvet. The lighting is sultry enough for romantic dates – even if they're with your long-lost love, bourbon pecan pie ($7).

We devoured the lemon rum cake ($7), her "wonderfully wicked" layer cake with a lemony buttercream and a trace of rum. We tried slices of flourless chocolate torte ($7) and chocolate Neapolitan cake ($8); both assuaged my raging chocoholism. The Key lime pie ($6) made me proud to live in Florida. We also polished off a bottle of sauterne and a couple of glasses of Prosecco.

Forget about three square meals a day with vegetables and proteins. I quickly worked up a diet plan that replaces one meal a day with a piece of blackberry swirl cheesecake ($7) or caramel apple cake ($8) – never mind lectures from loved ones about necessary nutrients. When I looked over to Patti for support, she was already reading my mind. "Would you like to try a giant cookie?" she asked. I knew she would understand.

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