Monday, June 6, 2011

Crave Bake Shop


(Third review -- January 2012)

(Second review -- July 2011)

Crave Bake Shop, located in Lake Oswego, Oregon, sells gluten-free desserts and pastries. Headed by pastry chef Kyra Bussanich, Crave Bake Shop boasts a massive number of different cupcakes, scones, donuts, cookies, and other wonderful offerings. Crave Bake Shop will rotate a limited set of flavors each day, posting the menu the day before on their Facebook page. As of this writing, they are closed on Sundays and Mondays. (They started opening on Monday mornings in 2012!)

Their selections for the day are in the display cases

Crave Bake Shop generally opens around 10, but stated on Facebook that they were opening earlier that day. I made the drive from Salem -- about 40-45 minutes -- and got there a little before 10 a.m. on June 3. Sure, June 3 was National Doughnut Day, but to heck with that. I went with Crave Bake Shop's cinnamon roll. I love cinnamon and I love cinnamon rolls...makes sense, right?

Split the cinnamon roll open to find yummy goodness in the middle as well
My experiences with gluten-free products in the past, namely gluten-free bread, was just a very negative experience. That bread was the driest, most unappetizing thing I had eaten in quite some time, so needless to say, I was pretty skeptical about how Crave Bake's cinnamon roll would fare in changing my tune on gluten-free products.

Kyra Bussanich was a contestant on Food Network's "Cupcake Wars," and her cupcake mastery has carried over into cinnamon rolls as well. I liked the presentation with the cupcake wrapper. I thought that was the right amount of cream cheese frosting on top. The cinnamon roll did feel slightly dense-heavy when I picked it up, but that's probably due to the gluten-free nature of the product (I'm no expert on this and had to look up what gluten's purpose is).

(Yes, for the record, I have watched the "Cupcake Wars" episode with Kyra as a contestant. It was the "Tree Lighting" Christmas episode. I won't spoil the results for people who did not watch, but I thought Kyra did an amazing job.)

Anyway, I bit into the cinnamon roll. And man, I smiled and wanted this to have been my first gluten-free product experience (instead of the bread a few months back). The roll was packed with cinnamon awesomeness. Seeing all the cinnamon on the roll's interior and exterior just made me happy. Very happy. I felt the cinnamon roll was a huge success, and I can see why it's likely a popular menu item, along with several other offerings.

If you served me this cinnamon roll in a blind taste test, I wouldn't be able to tell it was gluten-free. I'm assuming mixes of proteins and gums were used in place of gluten. Whatever Kyra used works wonderfully.

Kyra was a pleasure to talk to. The place was bright and inviting. I liked that I could see the ovens and the treats being made. For me, that also gives me positive vibes; there's no hiding that the products are made fresh each morning. Having the ovens out front also tells me "we got nothing to hide, this is how we make our products."

The place is rather small, and there's only one table inside. So I do wish there was more space for the customers. I'm not sure how busy it can get, but chances are Crave Bake Shop will get even more popular as the positive word spreads. Also, I feel that $3.50 for a small cupcake-sized cinnamon roll is asking for a bit much. I wonder if it's due to higher costs for gluten-free products. I'm just wondering because I could probably find a larger cinnamon roll for a cheaper price elsewhere.

But this is the bottom line: Crave Bake Shop has persuaded me that gluten-free food can taste great. They have a ton of different options on the menu that I want to try. Despite the prices and the location, I am a huge fan of the place and will return in the future. In the meantime, tell all your friends to visit Crave Bake Shop in Lake Oswego!


  1. Yes, the higher price is because it is gluten-free. GF ingredients cost considerably more, so specialty GF items cost more.

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