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Cakewalk in Queen Anne, Seattle

Cinnamon Roll, Nielsen's, Queen Anne, Seattle
Queen Anne is a neighborhood in Seattle which is defined by a few things: its killer views, its killer "Counterbalance" hill, and of course, the fact that it is the neighborhood in which the Cakespy Headquarters is located. And what a sweet 'hood to call home: from the lower part of the hill with its Danish-inspired pastries, to the top of the hill, where doughnuts and carbohydrates reign, there are plenty of places to get your dessert on in Queen Anne. Here are some of our personal favorites:

Caffe Ladro: Though mostly known for its coffee, Ladro is an established bakery in its own right: they have their own commercial bakery in West Seattle, at which baked goods are made daily for all of their Seattle locations. Ranging from dense vegan oat bars with a tart rhubarb layer to buttery scones and a gorgeously crumbly cardamom coffee cake, it's worth a visit even for non coffee drinkers. Two Queen Anne Locations: 600 Queen Anne Ave. No., and 2205 Queen Anne Ave. No.; online at caffeladro.com.
Crow: Though we don't frequently feature restaurants (we don't feel as comfortable talking about the meal before dessert), this one is an exception. When Head Spy Jessie moved to Seattle on a whim and found herself jobless, she waited tables at Crow in lower Queen Anne. Though no longer waiting tables there, we all still enjoy their house-made desserts which will range seasonally--offerings might include a house-made strawberry ice cream, rustic cobbler à la mode or a sinfully rich chocolate cake. We like to sit at the bar where it's OK to order dessert only! 823 5th Ave. No., (206) 283-8800.
Eat Local: Desserts made with no artificial sweeteners, no refined sugar, and all-local ingredients? Sounds suspect, we know, but as proven by our recent week-long Eat Local Challenge, sometimes local is a good thing: ranging from the surprisingly light honey-lemon cheesecake to crumbly shortbread and toe-curlingly delicious chocolate decadence in their "takeaway" dessert case, Eat Local offers some treasures on Upper Queen Anne. 2400 Queen Anne Ave. No., (206) 328-3663; online at eatlocalonline.com.

El Diablo Coffee Co.: Aside from serving a spicy mocha made with Mexican chocolate that would make even a black coffee drinker a believer, they've got some killer desserts--Tres Leches Cake, Red Velvet, and a rotating cast of tarts, pots de creme, and other delectable treats. The desserts are supplied by another Seattle Bakery, Bella Dolce, but the ambiance is far better at El Diablo, with a warm, lived-in interior and cute hipster employees. 1811 Queen Anne Avenue N.,  (206) 285-0693; online at eldiablocoffee.com.

Macrina Bakery: Macrina can be a strange beast, inspiring either fierce love or instense disdain amongst Seattleites. It's an acquired taste for certain--their cakes aren't as sweet as some of their other commercial counterparts,  and their "short" scones do tend to crumble differently than the sweet ones you'd find at say, Starbucks. And to put it bluntly, their coffee is...not good. But while our Cakespy crew doesn't love everything at Macrina, the good stuff is truly, genuinely good: rich cupcakes that blur the line between cake and truffle; beautiful iced shortbread, and perfect buttermilk biscuits with jam in the morning. Queen Anne Location, 615 W McGraw St., (206) 283-5900; online at macrinabakery.com.

Metropolitan Market: Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and Metro Market is that place for us. Located one block away from Cakespy Headquarters, this is the place that fuels our immediate sugar needs, with a surprisingly good on-site bakery, and also a large selection of pastries, ranging from local bakers like Alki Bakery, EATS Market, Essential Baking, Macrina--to baked goods and pastries from the likes of Poilâne Bakery and Cheesecake from Junior's in NYC. Swoon. Two Queen Anne Locations: 100 Mercer Street, and 1908 Queen Anne Ave. No.; online at metropolitan-market.com.
Morfey's Cake Shoppe: True, Morfey's is a special-order cake bakery (alas, no rows of cake slices or cupcakes for those just walking by), but is certainly worth mentioning. They've been around forever, and it shows, with light-as-air cakes topped with whipped buttercream frosting which invoke instant taste nostalgia. Just walking inside will give you a buzz--with just a tiny meeting area in front of the large commercial ovens, the air is thick with the smell of cakes baking. 110 Denny Way, (206) 283-8557; online at morfeyscake.com.

Nielsen's Pastries: Though this one can be hard to hit due to their bankers hours (7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Mondays,  7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. the rest of the week, 8:00 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday, and closed on Sunday ). Nonetheless, if you find yourself here during a trip or if you're local taking a "mental health day" from work, it's worth a visit, with rich, cream filled pastries, Danish specialties and cookies like mom made--but better. Our picks are the oozy, glazey, fantastic cinnamon rolls (picture top), and the "Potato"--think of a creamy, rich, custardy eclair, then top it with a marzipan jacket and a dusting of cocoa. One Sweet Potato indeed. 520 2nd Ave W, (206) 282-3004; online at nielsenspastries.com

Pasta + Co.: When you see the the gorgeous pasta displays and splendid array of olive oils just keep on walking--they'll only divert you from the wonderful (made in-house!) lemon tarts, as well as creamy, dreamy cupcakes and sweets supplied by excellent local baker T.M. Dessert Works. 2109 Queen Anne Ave. No., (206) 283-1182; online at pastaco.com
QFC: Yes, QFC is a grocery store chain and part of the Kroger family. But we're not scared to admit that their bakery has what in our opinion is a surprisingly toothsome and tasty nanaimo bar. You'll also always be able to find a pink frosted cookie here, but not much else in their baked goods case is worth a mention in our opinion. Queen Anne Location, 500 Mercer St., (206) 352-4020; online at qfconline.com.
Teacup: This bulk tea shop is a mecca for tea lovers, ranging from tame Northwest Mint to exotic (and expensive) Pu'Erh blends and exquisite green teas. However, tea isn't the only thing that keeps us coming back--we also love their tiny tea cookies and homemade scones--supplied by Blue Dog Baking; biscotti from Dilettante is also on hand. 2207 Queen Anne Ave No.,
(206) 283-5931; online at seattleteacup.com.

Top Pot Doughnuts: Continuing their slow but steady quest in taking over the doughnut world, Top Pot just opened a new location on Upper Queen Anne, which can be teeming with families on the weekends, but is rather pleasant on weekday afternoons. While we won't say they're the best we've ever tasted, they are very, solidly good, and very dependable; also, their displays, with doughnuts like the "Pink Feather Boa", never fail to brighten our mood. But if you prefer Mighty-O's vegan donuts, they have them across the street at Caffe Fiore325 West Galer St, (206) 728-1986; online at toppotdoughnuts.com.

Uptown Espresso: Like Ladro, Uptown Espresso's baked goods are their own creations. While we can take or leave their scones, we've had very good experiences with their iced "loaf" cakes (try the pumpkin if it's available) and with their buttery, shortbready sugar cookies. Good Americano too--in the mornings, barista Kelly (on the right side) always makes us smile. 525 Queen Anne Ave No., (206) 285-5663; online at uptownespresso.net.


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Reader Comments (51)

What a fantastic tour of Queen Anne!

I have personally fallen prey to Top Pot Doughnuts since they moved in -- it is (dangerously) located right on my way home from early morning lap swim!

March 27 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi A

Aww man. If I didn't live halfway around the world you could bet your bottom dollar I would be heading in the direction of Seattle right this second. Le sigh.

As for my little cupcake drawings....well with my sense of humor I wouldn't really count on their well being :O

March 27 | Unregistered CommenterJade Is Green!

I've sent this to a Seattle friend so she can compare her favorites to yours. How I wish I didn't live all the way across the country....

Oh! How I heart Seattle! I lived in Greenlake for three years and I miss it so! Thanks for bringing back memories with the mention of all the delicious baked goods in Seattle. You're coming up on the most beautiful time of year! I'm definitely going to have to make it back to enjoy the city and the sweets!

March 27 | Unregistered CommenterJoy the Baker

This is fantastic! Now when we drive down south to Seattle, I'll have a list of places to visit!

March 27 | Unregistered Commentercakebrain

Just so you know, Cakespy's photos have become my regular sugar fix for the week, ever since I cut out desserts from my regular diet. So thanks :)

March 27 | Unregistered CommenterLarissa

OMG! That top roll look like heaven.
...must have one now! (With coffee please.)Great photos.

March 27 | Unregistered CommenterGigi

Oh geez, I gotta get my butt back to Seattle and go to these places! They all look special in their own way.

March 27 | Unregistered Commenternoble pig

love Metropolitan Market for everything and Macrina. Yum!

March 27 | Unregistered Commenterfrantic foodie

I am the fierce lover of Macrina...and their cookbook is the best.

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterPeabody

makes me want to hop on a plane and fly out to seattle.

maybe i should just stop by that retro bakery here in vegas. mmm me thinks i should.

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Nieto

Decadent! Truly.

I've never been to Seattle but you've made it so alluring.

When I was at Penn State, we used to get a famous cinnamon roll at a local diner. They served it warm a la mode. It is still a thing of my REM dreams!

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterMrOrph

I have heard in the past that Queen Anne is the chic, upper class area of Seattle. Is that the case? You are once again, making me want to move there!!!

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterAran

That photo of the cinnamon roll is killing me. I want one NOW.

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

They all sound so wonderful. El Diablo speaks to me loudly though, we call my daughter (on good days, mind you) la Diabla.

xoxox Amy

March 28 | Unregistered Commenterfamiliabencomo

I'm moving there immediately.

Isn't Queen Anne just wonderful. I am familiar with all of those places except Nielsen's pastries. I love Danish baked goods:)

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterAnticiPlate

oooh that cinnamon roll looks so yum!

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterGolightly

It is clear that another trip to Seattle is in order.

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterGeggie

I'd say this is a delicious and accurate account of Queen Anne's sweets! I'll have to go on a field trip this weekend.

You are killing me! I have always wanted to live in Seattle, and now I want to even more!

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

I love Seattle. My experiences tended towards bookstores more than bakeries (what was I thinking!?) but it's hard to not want to spend years exploring the city.

March 28 | Unregistered Commenterchou

i love you, spies! i needed a reason to get out of the apartment to buy polyrope (moving day is sunday) and now i have MANY options that i'd forgotten about!

queen anne represent! i love our collective hood! (hee hee!)

March 28 | Unregistered Commenterr4kk4

er, i ment for a breakfast treat, not for rope. oops! looks like i need coffee too...

March 28 | Unregistered Commenterr4kk4

Heidi: Yes, I know how that can be! The smell of Top Pot, permeating the block, is irresistible.

Jade: I wish you were here so we could go get some pastries together!

...and, I am going to hold on to hope that those cupcakes are gonna be just fine.

Lydia: Oooh, can't wait to hear! Of course this is just one of our fantastic neighborhoods...

Joy: What were your favorite bakeries when you lived in Greenlake!?

Cakebrain: Yeah! Queen Anne is a great neighborhood to walk around in too, though you need the sustenance of sugar to walk up that hill!

Larissa: Cut out desserts? Sorry, we don't speak that language!

Gigi: It IS like heaven!! Where are your favorite cinnamon rolls from?

Noble Pig: Yup, get your butt over here! And this is just one neighborhood of many!

Frantic Foodie: Agreed on both points!

Peabody: YAY for Macrina! Yay for loving them too. Have you ever made the biscuits?

Amy: Yes, Retro Bakery would be a great fix until you get yourself on a plane!

Aran: Queen Anne is a great hood. It does have a reputation for BMWs and well-coiffed moms with nannies and designer-clothing clad tots, but it's surprisingly liveable and affordable for us twentysomethings--a lot less than when we lived in a less desirable neighborhood in NYC! And yes, come live here! Well, the weather is perhaps not as nice as where you are.

Ann: You and me both. :-)

Amy: It's a fantastic spot! And it's connected to a bookstore (even better!)

Mrs. Tex: Clearly a good idea!

AnticiPlate: We had never tried them til this year! It is true, their hours are kind of inconvenient if you work a day job. But they're definitely worth a visit!

Golightly: It was. Oh yes.

Geggie: DUH!

Southern Hostess: Sounds good! Obviously plenty of sweet choices!

Deborah: Ooh, maybe they should hire us for city ad campaigns! :-)

Chou: Oh, bookstores are a passion here too! And El Diablo is attached to a bookstore too--yay!

r4kk4: I don't know, the rope thing was kind of intriguing. Good luck lassoing a treat! (hmm...rope licorice cowboy!?)

March 28 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy
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