Minneapolis (Sept. 16, 2021) – Fall brings thoughts of cozy sweaters, Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Halloween sweets, but you don’t have to wait for trick-or-treats or just have an apple cider donut at the orchard (though, those are also always a good idea). This season is ideal to indulge your sweet tooth at Minneapolis bakeries.
Narrowing the list could prove to be too difficult with baker’s dozens of shops in Minneapolis, but women have risen to dominate the scene. Here are our Top 8 Minneapolis bakeries led by female pastry chefs:
- Café Ceres – African American Pastry Chef Shawn McKenzie and partner/co-owner Daniel Del Prado opened two locations of this café with Middle Eastern flair in short order during the pandemic. Specialties include Turkish Scones and Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies.
- Bellecour Bakery at Cooks of Crocus Hill – James Beard Best Pastry Chef nominee Diane Moua moved her famous crepe cake and croissants across the street from Gavin Kaysen’s Spoon and Stable in the North Loop to Bellecour Bakery in 2020. (Chef Alex Motz leads the pastry baking at S&S now). Moua has helped expand Bellecour Bakery and added a second location on Saint Paul’s Grand Avenue in summer 2021. Don’t miss this Hmong chef’s tasty Monkey Bread or Crepe Cake; and be sure to add a Chocolate Cookie (GF, of course).
- Vivir – Ngia Xiong’s sweets, honed by this Hmong pastry chef at a former stint at Alma, complement the Mexican menu headed by Jose Alarcon in Vivir’s market and adjacent restaurant Centro in Northeast Minneapolis. Try the Conchas (Mexican sweet bread with a cookie crust) and Mole Chocolate Cupcakes.
- Black Walnut Bakery – Baker/Owner Sarah Botcher had been baking for more than 15 years before a trip to France inspired the inception of her own bakery. It grew from a popular farmer’s market shop to an Uptown Café, opened in 2019. A toasted almond frangipane cream on fresh toasted Croissant is among the chef’s laminated works; and “cakes of all types, shapes and sizes” provide choices from Raspberry Muffins to Devil’s Slice.
- Vegan East – Hmong baker Sheila Xiong began in her home kitchen in 2016 and now serves more than 30 varieties of vegan cake, cookies, bars, rolls and cheesecakes while featuring many gluten-free options in three locations. Her S’mores Bar will delight fans of campfire treats and her decorated cakes will star at any party.
- Sift Gluten Free – Baker/Owner Molly Miller gained a following at area farmer’s markets and coffee shops (where you can still find Sift Gluten Free) before opening a stand-alone shop on Bloomington and 46th near Lake Nokomis. Sift labels all items so those with dietary restrictions know exactly what they’re getting – and everything is always gluten- and peanut-free. The extensive menu encompasses all your favorites from Cinnamon Rolls to Lemon Bars to Double Chocolate Donuts and beyond.
- Coconut Whisk – Bella Lam’s Nicollet Mall shop opened in May 2021 serving vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, soy-free, non-GMO treats and baking mixes made without preservatives or artificial ingredients. “Better for you, yet indulgent” products support organizations fighting food insecurity. Snack on a Waffle Stick in one of five flavors and top it off with Vietnamese Coffee or Boba Tea while you shop for some items to make at home.
- Glam Doll Donuts – Teresa Fox and Arwyn Birch opened this “pink-dipped fantasyland” on Eat Street in 2013, serving award-winning donuts next to shakes and malts for a real sugar rush. Highlights are the Mocha Lisa, Femme Fatale and Bam Bam (dunked in fruity pebbles).
You can’t talk Minneapolis bakeries without mentioning top patisseries owned by award-winning chefs like John Kraus (Patisserie 46, Rose Street Patisserie and 2015 Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie bronze medalist) and Marc Heu (Marc Heu Patisserie Paris in Saint Paul) or long-time favorites like A Baker’s Wife Pastry Shop, Wuollet Bakery and Isles Buns & Coffee. With the addition of new specialty spots like vegan and gluten-free bakeries and Mexican bakeries, and you’ll find Minneapolis has a baked treat scene to rival any in the nation.
For information about the best fall foods, and what to see, do and eat in Minneapolis, visit www.minneapolis.org.
Sheila Nelson, pastry chef and owner of Vegan East, at work in her Minneapolis bakery. Photo courtesy of Vegan East and Meet Minneapolis.
Additional photos of more of the bakeries and pastry chefs are available here. Please credit photos as noted in file names.
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