Article written by Yvonne Gill, a former expat now embracing the burbs of Portland.
Gluten-Free: The Revival of a Simple Luxury
Whether by choice, necessity, or a peaked curiosity in the gluten-free world, Kyra’s Bake Shop will without a doubt convert your grain loving ways. Mastering the art of baking sans these popular proteins, bakery founder Kyra Bussanich is most famously known for her unprecedented title as four-time winner of Food Network’s, Cupcake Wars.
Within the first step of the quaint entrance in downtown Lake Oswego, customers are immediately invited for an indulgent experience. Filled with families lunching, passerby’s taking pastries to go, or kid’s faces glued to the decadence behind the display case, there are flavors to entice everyone’s appetite. A passion for taste is notable in every bite, and it’s not until any of the various gluten-free signs catch the eye, when one’s reminded of every baked good’s attention to health.
Dabbling in a myriad of classic-styled treats, we dove into a cinnamon roll, doughnut, muffin, and cupcake. Ringing in autumn with a dairy-free, pumpkin spice latte cupcake, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into this goody. Hints of espresso balanced with pumpkin flavor, and an unsuspecting meringue topping, made me beg for crisp colorful leaves and a spot next to a roaring fire. Next up was a cake-like doughnut, with peanut butter glaze and chocolate sprinkles. A shout out to peanut butter addicts and doughnut lovers, this vintage sweet was a crowd pleaser. Going back to the basics with a chocolate chip muffin, it carried an air of simplicity, with an abundance of flavor. Culminating our gluten-free tour, we finished strongly with a gooey cinnamon roll, harmonized with cream cheese frosting. Its lovely cinnamon abundance rendered satiated palates and determination for a return date.
Pleasantly surprised by a trimmed amount of sweetness, Kyra’s Bake Shop gives a facelift to gluten-free treats. Honored to savor desserts designed by a Le Cordon Bleu baker, her consideration for a growing population of dietary restrictions or preferences, invites a broader range to appreciate simple luxuries in life, such as an afternoon trip to the bakery. Diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder at 20, Kyra’s dedication to the gluten-free world also offers a beautiful lunch menu, java options – including lavender lattes, and a variety of cocktails. A flourishing familiarity to diets based on gluten-free, paleo, vegan and dairy-free, Oregon welcomes more options catering to those following these regimented lifestyles.
In the world of baking, another local option is Paleo Sweet Cheeks, who whips up a variety of paleo desserts. One afternoon I received a neighborly knock at my door and on the other side I was greeted with a warm smile underneath vibrant red hair. Offering a petite box of chocolate covered caramel dates, I didn’t anticipate the pleasure they would ignite. My first bite evoked a sense of nostalgia, so I slowly chewed, allowing the warm flavors to linger. While sweet it was, its organic genesis left a little less guilt. Since, I’ve reveled in the cocoa notes in her most popular brownies, and coddled mocha cupcakes with salted dark chocolate frosting.
Prompted by food allergies and inspired by both her grandmothers boasting the title of bakers, their cookbooks armed her with the knowledge and savvy to design her health conscious, delectable treats. When not catering to Nike flights, Rose’s Deli, and a handful of other coffee shops, founder Ocea Mazenko translates her zesty personality to enticing treats – bacon brownies anyone – in her licensed home kitchen. If muffins, cookies, or cakes are in your repertoire, she masters those as well.
For those adhering to a gluten-free or paleo diets and thought desserts were no longer, think again as bakers bring back one of life’s sweet pleasures.
Yvonne Gill is a former American expat who spent time in Brisbane, Australia and Lyon, France. Her experiences ignited a wanderlust mentality, which keeps her dreaming about where in the world to explore next; or more realistically, how to travel at home through a book, movie, restaurant, or activity and she writes about it all onybexpat.com. She currently resides just outside of Portland with her husband and two young children.