After years of running Le Gourmand with her husband, Sara Naftaly opened her own bakeshop in Chophouse Row, drawing from her British upbringing and years in France—croissants, a brownie macaron the side of a slider, sultana malt loaf smeared with butter. The shop itself has minimal seating, but go up the rear stairs and you’ll find the perfect laptop-working hideaway on the mezzanine. Amandine shares its space with Empire Espresso; the housemade cashew milk latte is straight-up decadent.
Down in Georgetown, on a quiet street off Sixth Ave, lies this cafe that, ever so briefly, transports you to a warmer and decidedly laid-back place. Hawaiian reggae music gently booms out of the speakers, where a case full of cakes and pies of all sorts, both whole and by the slice, make you think dessert for lunch is gravely underrated. Nab something like a slice of their passion fruit cake or coconut cream pie, or go the full-on pastry route with custard-filled Long Johns, aka America’s eclairs, and a lineup of malasadas. Malasadas, a holeless, Portuguese-style yeasted doughnut, will come coated in sugar, dusted in cinnamon sugar, or filled with various custards. And one is rarely, if ever, enough–especially on national cake day.
The sound of an ever-hissing espresso machine and smells of baking walnut loaf and pastries made from fresh, seasonal fruit fill Columbia City Bakery’s colorful, neighborhood-spot atmosphere. This South End institution does up some mean almond raspberry thumbprints and boozy chocolate numbers, rich with dates and pecans and exhaling rum. And that’s just the tip of the spicy selection.
The source-spring of Tom Douglas’s restaurants’ legendary Triple Coconut Cream Pie, the Dahlia Bakery also keeps a steady stream of artisan-baked bread, pastries, and sandwiches flowing for breakfast and lunch. If you just hate coconut, have a cookie instead—the chocolate chunk, the fat fig bar, or perhaps the “Nora Ephron” peanut butter sandwich cookies that the late author and director so enjoyed.
Baker Charlie Dunmire, who recently graduated from Airstream trailer to a charming brick-and-mortar shop in Georgetown, fashions towering beauties like a ginger-molasses cake, its nine layers soaked in a syrup of stout and molasses. Or a s’mores-inspired confection layered with ganache and crowned with toasted whitecaps of marshmallow. Pints of Sweet Lo’s ice cream are available for purchase so you can double down on the sugar rush.
The Essential Bakery cafes were created as an outlet for the Essential Bakery Company, filled with families and laptop denizens, not to mention impeccable sandwiches, crepes, soups, and pastries. The chocolate chiffon cake is lightly soaked with Grand Marnier then rolled and covered in dark chocolate ganache to create the bark. The look is completed with meringue mushrooms and chocolate holly leaves
A zillion Kirkland brides have no idea what they’d have done without this friendly and capable wedding cake institution, located right in the heart of town. Marzipan-swathed Princess Cakes are a specialty.
Owner Chera Amlag bakes cheesecake, but tempers its classic Americana with a Filipino touch. She makes them with ube, which lends its jewel-toned hue and subtle, earthy sweetness to baked goods. The result, a perfect specimen of Instagram bait that’s topped with ripples of ube jam and sits on a coconut-butter biscuit crust. In 2016, Amlag opened a permanent home for her heretofore “hood famous” cheesecakes, which these days are known citywide. She bakes a whole slew of flavors beyond the signature ube that are rooted in the Filipino palate: white chocolate with rosy-pink swirls of guava, mango with calamansi (ubiquitous citrus in the Philippines squeezed onto just about anything), and a whole lineup of other non-cheesecake delights.
For bakeries the goal, usually, is to be expansive and multitude in your baked goods—sweet and savory; diminutive pastries and impressively tall cakes; styles and shapes of any sort. Yet Nothing Bundt Cakes banks on its eponymous treat (and dad-joke styled pun). At its Mill Creek and Issaquah locations a pastry case is stocked with domed bundt cakes in flavors like red velvet and lemon all piped with cream cheese frosting.