(Third review -- January 2012)
(Second review -- July 2011)
It has been about one month since I first drove to Lake Oswego and walked inside Crave Bake Shop for the first time. At the time, I did not have the most glorious view on gluten-free products. But after reading so many wonderful reviews on Yelp and on Crave Bake Shop's Facebook page, I gave Crave Bake Shop a chance.
The cinnamon roll I had that June morning was one of the best cinnamon rolls I've ever had. Filled with cinnamon, sugar, and topped with the right amount of icing. If no one told me it was gluten-free, I'd have sworn I had eaten a regular, gluten-laced cinnamon roll.
Kyra, Jamie, and the rest of the Crave Bake Shop staff made an excellent first impression, to the point where I emailed them to inquire about doing volunteer work there for the rest of the summer. They were more than happy to have an extra set of hands, and the rest is history.
I've had the privilege of scooping cake bites and dipping them in their chocolate coating, cutting doughnuts, crafting maple bars, and more. I've begun to appreciate just how hard everyone works there, and why the extra help was so welcome in their eyes. They may not be paying me in cash, but getting free samples of pastries and working with great people makes the experience entirely worthwhile.
Aside from the cinnamon roll, some of my personal favorites include:
Hula Girl: This is an orange cupcake with a passion fruit buttercream frosting. A lovely tropical taste in every bite.
Coffee & Doughnuts: A vanilla cake with expresso buttercream frosting. The vanilla cake serves as the proper backdrop to let the expresso shine. You won't miss the gluten here, folks. If you love coffee and doughnuts, you will want about six dozen of these for yourself.
Fourth of July Pie Bite: A Fourth of July special, sold a few days early because Crave Bake Shop closes on July 4th. This is a buttery pie crust encapsulates house-made raspberry jam, while being topped with white meringue and a sugar blueberry. Red, white, and blue represent! The raspberry jam retains a slight tartness, while the fluffy meringue and sugar blueberry balance this blissful bite of magical awesomeness.
Neapolitan: This is a vanilla cupcake, filled with strawberry cream, topped with chocolate Italian meringue frosting. Like the ice cream flavor, the three flavors work in harmony here. The chocolate meringue and strawberry cream are light, and when combined with the fluffy vanilla cake, will make you want to do a few dances in the street.
Birthday Cake: You won't need to wait until your next birthday to get one of these! A vanilla bean cake topped with vanilla buttercream and rainbow sprinkles. So simple, yet so sinfully good.
Chocolate Classic: Chocoholics may rejoice now. Perhaps this is Crave Bake Shop's version of triple chocolate penetration (yeah, it's a Voodoo Doughnuts reference). A chocolate cake topped with chocolate buttercream and chocolate sprinkles. it may be chocolate overload for me, but will probably give others a foodgasm.
|I made this one. You can tell because I made them larger than normal.|
Perhaps they can be referred to as Aaron-sized portions.
|See? Mine is in the back right. Compare that one to the rest of the maple bars.|
Anyway, after enjoying each of the above creations -- and many more not pictured -- I feel that Crave Bake Shop has earned a significant rating increase. And no, I'm not increasing the rating because I've worked here. Keep in mind that these are gluten-free products. The elasticity from the gluten must come from somewhere else, or else the food is likely inedible.
I've shared these same treats with my non-gluten-free-diet friends...everyone raved about them. I happily make that 50-minute drive to Lake Oswego just to get one item, and I could probably get to Crave Bake Shop blindfolded by now. The products are fresh and everything is made from scratch. Crave Bake Shop rotates new offerings daily (keeping some of the crowd favorites just about every day), but even incorporates special pastries on a regular basis. Pushing the envelope, while juggling a much more complicated recipe for a gluten-free product, is a noble task to undertake, especially when baking for the masses.
And unlike Voodoo Doughnuts, there is no insanely large line at Crave Bake Shop -- yet. I figure at this rate, there will be major lines forming outside Crave Bake Shop within a few years. If the positive word spreads faster, perhaps those long lines form in a few months. In other words, get your butt down to Lake Oswego now and give them a try!
Kyra Bussanich has a major gift, and I hope she continues to grace Oregon (and the rest of the world) with her wonderful products for many years to come.