Sweet Legacy

Writer / Natalie Gargiulo
Photography Provided

In the heart of downtown Indianapolis, where the streets were bustling and came alive, stood Roselyn Bakery, the cornerstone of cherished memories and traditions.Roselyn Bakery

Roselyn Bakery extended far beyond the taste of its treats. It became part of the fabric of Hoosier life, weaving its way into the tapestry of the communities it surrounded. The bakery, which opened in 1943 at 2205 North Meridian Street, had a quaint storefront adorned with the iconic Rosie Roselyn sign. The image of Rosie that perched proudly atop the bakery signs became synonymous with the warmth and familiarity the bakery exuded – a symbol of nostalgia that each customer carried in their hearts.

The Roselyn sign was designed with an iconic “V” for the victory of World War II.Roselyn Bakery

The aroma of freshly baked goods wafted through the air, luring passersby in downtown Indianapolis with the promise of indulgent delights. From the beloved Sweetheart Coffee Cake to the irresistible Danish Dandies, each confection was crafted with the utmost care, bearing the signature touch of the Clark family’s cherished recipes that drew people from every corner of town.

People would stop into the bakery in the morning to buy doughnuts to share with their staff at work, or just to pick up a piece of Dutch apple pie, cherry pie or butter rum cake.

As the winter chill would settle over the city each year, the familiar scent of the bakery mingled with the crisp air, giving a sense of holiday spirit and cheer. Families would flock to Roselyn’s doors for the bakery’s holiday goodies that lined its glass cases.

The holidays were always the most popular times at the bakery. People would always stop in and pick up holiday cookies for school and parties.

From the bakery’s delicate, spicy Gingerbread Cookies to the anticipated Christmas tree lighting tradition on Indianapolis’ Monument Circle, Roselyn became a staple of the Christmas season.

Roselyn picked the child to light the world’s largest Christmas tree every year. It’s estimated that they gave away 1.2 million gingerbread men over the span of 25 years during the holiday season.

The absence of those whimsical bakery buildings, once scattered throughout central Indiana, left behind a sense of longing. But amidst the memories of the past, the essence of Roselyn Bakery still lingers, tucked away in the timeless moments that many people still reminisce over – the simple joys of a morning coffee paired with a Roselyn treat, or the excitement of picking out a special birthday cake adorned with frosting and love.Roselyn Bakery

Roselyn was famous for baking and designing the best birthday and wedding cakes in the city. When anyone had a special occasion and needed a cake, they turned to Roselyn.

Though the physical structures may have disappeared, the legacy of Roselyn Bakery endures, carried forth by the sweetness of its recipes that continue to grace the shelves of local supermarkets.

Roselyn Bakery remains a cherished chapter in the story of Indiana, a heartfelt bakery that left an indelible mark on the lives of many.

They have been missed by all but not forgotten.

Listed below are a few of the beloved recipes that Roselyn Bakery was known for.


Fresh Danish Dough

Recipe makes 4 to 5 coffee cakes or 2 to 2 ½ Danishes.

  • Begin 5 hours or up to 3 days ahead.
  • Grind ¼ of a whole small orange and ⅛ of a whole small lemon (including the rind) until the largest piece is the size of a pinhead.
  • In a large bowl, combine 1 ½ cups chilled water, 2 whole eggs, 3 ⅛ cups bread flour, 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 2 ¾ tablespoons milk powder, 2 ½ teaspoons salt, ½ cup shortening, ½ cup sugar, 7 drops yellow food coloring, 3 tablespoons of yeast and 1 ⅓ cups butter.
  • Mix with dough hooks until well-incorporated. Do not over mix.


Sweetheart Coffee Cakes

Recipe calls for fresh Danish dough.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll out the dough onto a well-floured surface into a 12-by-30-inch rectangle ¾ inches thick.
  • Spread the sweetheart filing across the entire dough piece except for the last half inch.
  • Roll the dough piece into a log, brushing excess flour off the dough while rolling. Cut the roll into 10-inch logs.
  • Fold the log in half. Cut both top and bottom logs in half from the folded end to 2 inches from the cut lines.
  • Pull the top portion forward and allow the side of the log to fall, straddling the bottom log.
  • Press out the heart shape with hands to a thickness of 1 inch. Place sweetheart streusel on top. Place onto a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled, about 1 hour. Place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on pan. Once cooled, cover the entire coffee cake with butterscotch icing. Makes 3 to 4 coffee cakes.


Sweetheart Coffee Cakes (Ingredients)

  • Scratch Danish dough
  • Butterscotch roll icing


Sweetheart Filling (Ingredients)

  • 1 ¼ cups crushed toffee or Werther’s Original flavored candy
  • 1 cup sweetheart streusel
  • Mix together


Sweetheart Streusel (Ingredients)

  • ¼ cup margarine
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Mix together


Gingerbread Men

Recipe makes 3 dozen cookies.

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons allspice
  • 2 ¾ teaspoons baking soda
  • 5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ cup shortening
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons whole eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups extra-fine coconut
  • 1 ¼ cups honey
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour


Preheat oven at 360 degrees.

  • Combine allspice, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt, shortening and sugar into a large bowl and mix together.
  • Add beaten eggs and milk thoroughly.
  • Add coconut and honey and mix well.
  • Add flour and mix well.
  • On a lightly floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll dough ⅛ inch thick. With a 5-inch-long cutter, cut out men, re-roll trimmings and cut more cookies. With a spatula, place ½ inch apart on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 360 degrees for 8 minutes or until browned. Then, with a spatula, remove cookies to racks to cool. Decorate as desired.


Holiday Sugar Cookies

Recipe makes 1 dozen cookies.

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ⅔ teaspoon salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups colored decorating sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Combine sugar, shortening and salt in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Add egg and corn syrup. Mix well.
  • Dissolve baking soda in the milk and add to the mixture. Add vanilla. Blend well.
  • Add flour. Blend well.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out dough and cut into desired shapes.
  • Sprinkle it with sugar.
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

(Cutline for the photos:)

The iconic Roselyn Bakery sign with its flying “V” became a familiar sight all around Indianapolis. As customers would drive by, they would look in the windows and the marquee to see what items were being featured that week.

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