Food & Drink

12 Bakeries Perfect for Every Occasion

We combed the city's bakeries and fell in love with the sweet treats at these local spots

By Chelsea Lin & Naomi Tomky November 2, 2018


This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of Seattle magazine.

This article appears in print in the November 2018 issue, as part of our “The Best Neighborhood Bakeries,” cover story. Click here to subscribe.

Nielsen’s PastriesNielsen’s Scandinavian specialties are a taste of the Old World—our favorite is the snitter

Even though new construction is swiftly changing the neighborhood, this tucked-away provincial bakery, full of knick-knacks and regulars, makes you feel like you could be in Small Town, Denmark. For 50 years, Nielsen’s has been a landmark destination for Scandinavian treats, like its excellent kringle ($16 whole, $3 per slice), delicate princess cake ($5 per slice) and our personal favorite, a cinnamon roll slice called a snitter ($3). Although the bakery was sold in 2017 to Chris and Holly Prairie, the pastries here are still the best in this category (though Ballard’s Larsen’s certainly has its following). It’s the sort of place that feels like the Old World, even in the midst of so much new. Lower Queen Anne, 520 Second Ave. W; 206.282.3004; 

Cakes of Paradise
Fluorescent and fruity and available by the sheet, the tropical cakes at this efficient family-run bakery (with a very tropical café next door) in Georgetown are not our normal jam. But there is something otherworldly at play here—a light-as-air quality and balanced sweetness that make these the kind of cakes you order for kids’ birthdays and sneak a slice to eat after bedtime. Though the bakery takes (many, many) orders in advance, you can swing by in a pinch—the earlier the better—to score one of the few extra cakes (starting at $25) its bakers make each day for last-minute requests. Get the guava cake if you have a choice (or at least pick up a slice for yourself). Georgetown, 6322 Sixth Ave. S; 206.763.1151

Sea Wolf BakersThough best known for their excellent loaves of bread, Sea Wolf Bakers also makes perhaps Seattle’s greatest cinnamon roll

The rolling racks of pretzel-like lye rolls ($1.25), dense square loaves of rye bread ($10–$13) and overwhelmingly large cinnamon rolls ($7) at this Fremont favorite serve an important role: both as eye candy and as the menu, since you won’t find it written down anywhere. The spare, industrial-chic style has a no-nonsense production-kitchen feel, but the big ceramic mugs of coffee (drip only) and intriguing pastries, in flavors such as apple-anise and mushroom-Gruyère, convince visitors they’re in on something truly special. Grab an oversize sourdough boule to sneak into a suitcase home. Fremont, 3621 Stone Way N; 206.457.4181

Nuflours Bakery
An important distinction: This humble neighborhood bakery’s wares are not good as far as gluten-free baked goods go—they’re just plain good. Owners Phebe Rossi and Amanda Bedell have achieved the seemingly impossible: gluten-free baked goods that taste like (and have the same satisfying texture as, thanks to a proprietary flour blend) their gluten-filled counterparts. Gravitate toward the fudgy brownies ($3.75) and the tender morning muffins ($5.95)—we particularly liked the banana coconut—for maximum enjoyment, though the bakery even pulls off loaves like sesame sandwich bread with aplomb. Capitol Hill, 518 15th Ave. E; 206.395.4623

The Wandering Goose Heather Earnhardt bakes her beautiful triple layer cakes (like this chocolate one) in 12-inch pans, making them downright huge

With sky-high cakes in flavors like birthday cake ($8 per slice), cinnamon rolls made of biscuit dough ($5) and a cookie called the Charlie Brown (a deep chocolate cookie pebbled with peanut butter chips, $3.50), owner/pastry queen Heather Earnhardt’s baked goods bring the warmth of a Southern grandmother together with the whimsy of a 7-year-old on a sugar high to the shabby-chic confines of this Capitol Hill café. The playful treats belie Earnhardt’s skills, which shine in the details, such as the maple-like crust on the old-school chocolate Brownstone Front cake and the fleur de sel topping on the peanut butter cookie. The best part of being an adult: eating cake for breakfast. Capitol Hill, 403 15th Ave. E; 206.323.9938

In August, when Matthew Segal set up his first “bar mitzvah” pop-up in Capitol Hill’s Montana bar as a way to gauge demand for his 48-hour-fermented, lye-boiled bagels ($2.25 per bagel, $20 per baker’s dozen), he sold out in less than an hour. The stay-at-home dad turned bagel entrepreneur uses a wild-yeast starter to create the soft, pillowy interior and cauterized exterior he remembers from his Miami childhood, in flavors such as roasted beet with nigella seed; salt, black pepper and Szechuan peppercorn; and seaweed and sesame. He’s currently offering his bagels through Caviar for catering orders, but a Loxsmith walk-up window and production kitchen is expected to open in Ballard in the spring. Follow him on Instagram, @loxsmithbagels, and salivate in anticipation. 

Crumble & Flake
Any doubt that new owner Toby Matasar’s baking might not live up to the standard set by this tiny Capitol Hill bakery’s previous, James Beard Foundation Award–nominated owner, Neil Robertson, fades away with the first bite of the flaky kouign amann ($2.75 for the regular, $3.75 for the chocolate). When she bought the bakery in the summer of 2017, Matasar (who also owns gluten-free bakery Niche) kept most of the signature treats on the menu, including the cherry financiers ($3) and the pink peppercorn shortbread ($2), but she’s been able to inject a bit of her own fun with pastries such as the caramelized onion and Gruyère scones ($2.75). The downside: There’s zero seating inside (although there’s a small parklet on the sidewalk), so bring a towel to keep croissant crumbs off your good shirt on the drive to work. Capitol Hill, 1500 E Olive Way; 206.329.1804

Bainbridge Island and Vashon Island can certainly boast worthy baked goods, but our favorite far-off pastries come from this Bremerton gem; the ferry ride only adds to the anticipation. Owner Matt Tinder has a background in Michelin-starred California kitchens, and his pastries—like the pistachio bear claws ($5) and lemon ginger scones ($4)—are refined without being fussy. A few sandwiches, both vegetarian and meaty, are available daily, with a focus on freshly made bread, such as double-baked deli rye. Come for breakfast, stay through lunch. Bremerton, 2110 E 11th St.; 360.627.7869

Amandine BakeshopForget working from home, head instead to Amandine for a productive (and delicious) day

In The Cloud Room, Chophouse Row’s luxurious coworking space, the cost of a desk is $35 a day. At Amandine (also in Chophouse Row), the cost of a workspace—in the light-filled loft upstairs—can be as little as a couple of buckwheat madeleines ($2.75 each). It’s got all the benchmarks of a perfect work-from-“home” scenario: reliable Wi-Fi; plentiful coffee (try a latte with house-made cashew milk); perfect, unique sweets from renowned pastry chef Sara Naftaly; and enough savory options, such as the rotating Danish (if you’re lucky, with Kurtwood Farms’ fromage blanc and a half-baked egg), to keep away the sugar shakes until happy hour. Capitol Hill, 1424 11th Ave.; 206.948.2097

Kiki Bakery
Lines for Taiwanese import 85˚ C Bakery Café wrap around the outside of buildings at the shop’s multiple Seattle-area locations, but if your thirst for the café’s signature iced sea salt coffee isn’t quite up for the wait, the next best thing is this California chain’s local outlets. With a similarly broad selection of Taiwanese pastries, such as taro mochi bread ($2.50) and hot dog buns ($1.85), plenty of cold drinks (including bubble tea in a light-bulb glass), Kiki might even beat 85˚ C in one category: its crunchy, crispy popcorn chicken from the savory “tasty snacks” section of the menu (which also offers a few full meals). Redmond and North Seattle

The Bakehouse 55The captivating colored croissants at The Bakehouse 55 come in flavors like matcha (top) and raspberry

Want to make your friends and followers swoon? Post a close-up of this Redmond-based wholesale bakery’s sweet treats—from the most brilliant ruby red raspberry croissants ($5) to sugar-dusted, Nutella-filled cruffins ($4)—available at area cafés like Dote in Bellevue and Olympia Coffee Roasting in West Seattle. Maybe it’s because owners Michele Pompei and Coral Sorensen don’t have their own brick-and-mortar place; maybe it’s because, ironically, they’re not prolific social media users. Regardless, there aren’t swarms of trend followers lining up for these stunning—and delicious—pastries… yet. Get on it. Wholesale; Facebook, “The Bakehouse 55”

R&M Dessert Bar
If ever there were an excuse to skip dessert at dinner, it’s to make a reservation at this romantic late-night dessert (and wine!) café on Capitol Hill. Owners/bakers Rod Gambassi and Marc Adams have curated a menu of simple plated desserts—don’t miss whatever fruit tarts are available ($10)—that pair well with a glass of bubbly. Indulge as a sweet nightcap or to kick off a rowdier night ahead. Reservations are available and recommended. Capitol Hill, 601 E Pike St.; 206.351.9993

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