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Cakewalk: Sweet Excursions East of Seattle

Chocolate Peanut butter bar, Hoffman's Fine Pastries, Kirkland
We must cop to a bit of urban snobbery--a common saying aroun CakeSpy headquarters is "bad things happen when you leave the city". However, we humbly admit that we were proven wrong when a couple of us recently took a trek outside of the city to try some of the bakeries on the Eastside of Seattle--that series of towns and cities known for their malls and tech companies. Here's a batch of sweets worth leaving the city for:

Belle Pastry: Upon walking in, the first thing we noticed was the case of baked goods: gorgeous trays of croissants, pastries, cookies and cakes, all bathed in flattering light. The second thing we noticed was the clientele--there were actually French people in the bakery--at least three separate groups that we noticed were parlez-ing francais, and we're pretty sure they weren't just language groups. This is a good sign. The croissant was pretty standout; next time though, we're going for one of the decadent-looking cakes. You know we don't like to play favorites, but we've got to admit we liked this location far better than their newer second location in Ballard. Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Sat. and Sun., 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. 10246 Main Street, Bellevue (425) 289-0015; online at bellepastry.com.


Napoleon from The French Bakery, Kirkland
The French Bakery: This place gets a bit of a mixed review. One taster's pain au chocolat was overdone; however, the rich, flaky Napoleon was extremely satisfying and simply oozed cream when bitten into--heaven. So we're willing to admit maybe the croissant thing was a fluke; online reviews, too, seem to be consistently positive. 219 Kirkland Ave., Kirkland (425) 898-4510; online at thefrenchbakery.net.

John Hail (Jan Hagel) from Hillcrest Bakery
Hillcrest Bakery: This bakery is a treasure and well worth the trip to Bothell. It has a nordic bent--look no further for Rosettes, Jan Hagel cookies, and speculaas; however, they've also got a bunch of other goodies, ranging from cupcakes, cookies and scones to even, unexpectedly but deliciously, cannoli. Mon. - Fri., 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Sat. 6 a.m. - 5 p.m.; closed Sundays. 10010 Main Street, Mothell (425) 486-5292; online at hillcrestbakery.com.

Orange shortbread, Hoffman's Fine Pastries, Kirkland
Hoffman's Fine Pastries: Amidst the chains in this suburban shopping center, this place is a little oasis of sweetness. The shelves are alluringly stacked with all sorts of baked goods, from confections to cookies to serious cakes; everything we tried (peanut butter bar--pictured top, orange shortbread cookie, princess cake, fudge brownie) was excellent. 226 Park Plaza Center, Kirkland (425) 828-0926; online at hoffmansfinepastries.com.

Chocolate oat bar, Honey Bear Bakery
Honey Bear Bakery: We'd been curious about this place since Brooks Coulson Nguyen had told us it was one of her old favorites, and finally we got a chance to test it out. This is a homey bakery, with plenty of hearty baked goods which seem perfectly suited for rainy days--rich cakes, dense cookies and bars. The chocolate oat bar was a perfect breakfast treat. Located in Third Place Books; online at honeybearbakery.com.

Cake from Starry Nights Catering, Kirkland
Starry Nights Catering: Though they're not a retail storefront, their cakes are good enough to mention again. Online at starrynightscatering.com.

Cupcakes from Sweet Cakes, Kirkland
Sweet Cakes: This sweet little shop has been open for under six months, but it already seems to have a following--during our visit, it we encountered what seemed like a line of regulars. The shop is cupcake heavy, but doesn't subsist solely on the mini cakes; they also have a respectable selection of bars, cookies and whole cakes. We picked up a selection of mini cupcakes; the cake was perfectly respectable, but it was the frosting--rich, buttery, creamy--that really stood out. Tues. - Sat. 9:30 - 8 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.; closed Monday. 128 Park Lane, Kirkland (425) 821-6565; online at sweetcakeskirkland.com.

As a side note, we haven't had time to hit up New York Cupcakes (warning--website has music) since it has gone under new ownership, but have heard good things about their new recipes. Thoughts?


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Reader Comments (12)

Om nom nom- so glad you left the city! These look scrumptious :)

I'm interested to hear a review of NY Cupcakes- I've never been impressed with their cakes before. If they've changed recipes, I'm willing to give them another chance :)

May 3 | Unregistered CommenterMyrnie

Myrnie: We went to the location that used to be at Westlake and did not care for it, but from what I hear the Bellevue one is under new ownership and awesome now. I'm curious to try them out again.

May 3 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

My mom LOVED New York Cupcakes...see her post. http://www.potsandpins.com/blog/2009/04/new-york-cupcakes.html

The peanut butter chocolate thingy alone is enough to make me move to Seattle.

New York Cupcakes is my favorite local cupcakery...it's where I go when I want a "cupcation!" Better than Trophy and Cupcake Royale and worth the drive for anyone on the "other side" of the pond. Now...I have to wonder about Sweet Cakes...I've been there twice and both times was disappointed because while their frosting was excellent their cakes were DRY as in SAHARA DRY!!! So...the cakes are better now?!?! Hmmm...I'll give it another try...but only in the name of research! xo, Nan PS: Some friends and I are having our own Cupcake Classic...a taste-test from the top 3 in the city...it's May 7th...want to come?

Kitchen: Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

Courteous: You're right. They're awesome.

Potsandpins: Wow! Maybe we went at the right time (in the am when they would be at their freshest) or maybe they've just improved, but multiple tasters didn't think they were too dry. Did you go toward the end of the day? Wish I could on the 7th but I have an art opening the next day and I think I will be consumed (pun int!) by it! I would love to hear your reviews though!

May 3 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

holy wow! what great excursions. i want all of that, right now.

OMG that Starry Nights cake looks so amazing. I want to jump through the screen.

Will you stop ...darn it ... always tempting me with these delicious stuff. I put on weight just looking at them ...then again I would love some really hehe :) xx http://ricocoffeeshop.blogspot.com" REL="nofollow">Rico-Recipes

May 4 | Unregistered CommenterRicardo

I've had New York Cupcakes under the new ownership and they were AMAZING...still one of the best cupcakes in town.

Who knew the east side of Seattle was so delicious?

I like Belle pastry :) It's a good choice, the pastries are decent.

I am new to Seattle. Any recommended place for fine french pastry in Seattle? Like really fine ones. Most of the stuff I see here are pretty much Americanized cake to me. Even macarons are hugh like chocolate cookies. My coworker did suggested that I would probably like Hiroki though :) Haven't have a chance to check it out yet.

June 6 | Unregistered CommenterYujai
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