Savoring six local breakfast desserts from Bend’s growing bakery scene.
There may be no sweeter wake-up ritual than that of indulging in a morning pastry. Still floating somewhere between the dream world and the to-do list, one’s senses awaken when entering a bakery. The rich aroma of sweet breads mingling with coffee comforts the soul. Catching sight of a case full of palm-sized treats brightens the eyes and kindles salivation. Bend’s bakery scene is growing along with the number of alarm clocks that keep its burgeoning population humming. Classics such as Sparrow, Nancy P’s and the Village Baker are still impeccable. Newcomers such as Too Sweet Cakes, Foxtail, La Magie and Thump Baking sweeten the pot. So, take a day off from your 6 a.m. run—or come afterward if you must—and revel in the delight of a pillowy morning treat. We think you’ve earned it.
Marionberry Turnover | La Magie
In Oregon, a blackberry is not just a blackberry. Our state grows up to 33 million pounds per year of marionberries, a type of the beloved dark fruit that was bred at Oregon State University. La Magie, which has locations in downtown Bend and Sisters, celebrates the marionberry by tucking it neatly into a triangle of laminated dough. An egg wash creates a crunchy casing—just the right vehicle for transporting the sweet and slightly tart compote of local antioxidants into your grateful pie hole.
Owner Di Long said that all of La Magie’s marionberry-infused goodies are popular with Oregonians. Visitors often don’t recognize the berry, she said, but end up leaving with a box to take home as edible souvenirs.
Lemon Tart | Foxtail Bakeshop
Lemon bars are well and good. A flawless lemon tart, though? That is the stuff of poetry. Sure, it may be known as a dessert more than a breakfast food, but we say, live on the wild side. At Foxtail Bakeshop, owner and pastry chef Nickol Hayden-Cady makes the curd for her lemon tart with fresh lemon juice and zest, egg yolks, vanilla beans and butter. A smooth texture lets the crisp, natural flavors speak. The pâte sucrée tart crust is “rolled quite thinly so you’re not having to struggle with the fork,” said Hayden-Cady, and the result is decidedly struggle free. A cloud of savory whipped vanilla bean mascarpone cream with thyme infusion sits atop the masterpiece.
The Box Factory in Bend got a lot sweeter this month when Foxtail moved to the business hub from its Columbia Street matchbox. The airy new location allowed Hayden-Cady to add a café and dessert bar. With space comes a broader selection of breakfast baked goods, locally roasted coffee, craft cocktails, tapas and desserts—all of which are appropriate to order in the morning hours.
Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Muffin | Too Sweet Cakes
Bend native Shelbi Blok, 23, is the youngest bakery owner in Central Oregon, but her achievements belie her age. Already, her Too Sweet Cakes baked goods are carried in eleven shops around town (from Backporch Coffee Roasters to Spoken Moto), and she opened her first storefront, complete with dessert bar, in March. Blok started baking at age 7, then followed her dream of attending Portland’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts after high school. We’d sure like to get her secret recipe for passion, raw talent and success.
Wedding cakes are Blok’s specialty, but her gluten-free lemon blueberry poppy seed muffin is a dream whether you have celiac disease or just love a good treat. The muffin has a straightforward flavor profile with the nuttiness of the poppy seed and an ever-so-slightly-zippy lemon current running through each bite. Applesauce and tofu lend a moist lightness to the cohesive treat.
At Too Sweet Cakes’ first storefront on Cleveland Avenue in SE Bend, find dessert flights with wine from noon until close. “Flights and all the things I do are reminiscent of my growing up and of being in culinary school,” said Blok. “I like flavors that remind me of my journey, of being a kiddo.” We think nostalgia pairs nicely with sugar, too.
Ocean Roll | Sparrow Bakery
Whitney Keatman, who co-owns Sparrow Bakery with her wife and fellow pastry chef Jessica Keatman, knew that every successful French bakery needed a distinctive cornerstone pastry. Turning to her Finnish roots, Keatman landed on cardamom, a Scandinavian spice, to lend a special quality to the bakery’s croissant recipe. At that moment in 2006, the foodie movement was still germinating, and cardamom was not yet a word or a flavor on American’s tongues. But the real, laborious secret to the Ocean Roll is the hand folding of the dough. If you’re a pastry neophyte, all you need to know is that this method is virtually unheard of in commercial baking. The result is a bit more dense than flaky, and memorably delicious.
Keatman politely evaded a question about what’s next for Sparrow Bakery, only alluding to “stuff in the works” which she hopes to reveal within the next year. “My partner and I are young. We plan to do this for twenty-five, thirty more years, so we’ve always got stuff in the works,” said Keatman. “To stay relevant in business, you’ve got to keep it vibrant.” Acknowledging the growing competition for sweet tooth business in town, she added, “Our response to that is to really focus in on ourselves, on the basics, and to make sure that the product we are putting out is the best it can possibly be, if not the best it has ever been.”
Almond Croissant | Nancy P’s Café and Bakery
Known for its buttery, scratch-made scones and an entire case of gluten-free options, Nancy P’s Café & Bakery has been a neighborhood mainstay on the west side for seventeen years. High ceilings and walls of windows provide the ideal lighting for sitting down with the Sunday paper. Among Nancy P’s many savory and sweet goodies sits the unassuming almond croissant, and it’s worth branching out of your scone-ordering habit to savor its flavor. Chef Tommy Clabough starts with a buttery, flaky dough and fills it with small-batch almond paste. Baked to perfection, the pastry is lightly glazed and sprinkled with delicate almond slices and powdered sugar. Plus, almonds are said to boost brain power and memory.
Big Eddy | Village Baker
It started out as a Christmas dessert that served ten. Fortunately, the Village Baker owners long ago realized that we are all kids at heart who want the twinkle of Christmas morning available on a daily basis. The “personal”-sized version is best shared with a sweetie though, as its diameter is about the size of a hand. The beloved Eddy came to be when co-owners, bakers and spouses Lauren and Bill Kurzman—who opened the bakery in 1996—wanted to create a pastry take on a flourless chocolate cake. It sounds counterintuitive, but isn’t that how ingenuity sparks? Cream cheese and dark chocolate swirl together in harmony while the pastry dough forms a pie-like cradle for the rich decadence. “Always use cold ingredients,” mused Kurzman when prodded to reveal her pastry secrets. “And take our pie dough class.”