Some friends I trained for the Vancouver Marathon with invited me to go on a “bakery run” this past Saturday. The plan would include starting at New Cascadia Traditional bakery, which is owned by another runner, then after our run we’d meet back at the bakery for post-run treats. Duh, of course I was in.
New Cascadia was started by Chris and Teresa, the husband-and-wife team, after Chris found out he was gluten-intolerant. They started experimenting with gluten-free baking at home, then in 2007 became a vendor at one of the local Farmer’s Markets. With a growing loyal following, they opened their retail location in SE Portland.
Talking with Teresa was a lot of fun for me. I was too embarrassed to admit to her that she was basically living my dream – after no formal training or professional baking experience, she is running a highly successful bakery (within the hour or so we were enjoying treats at their long communal table, I was blown away by the steady stream of customers coming in to get their gluten-free products early on a Saturday). Teresa mentioned that her and Chris give the bakers requests of items they need on the menu, such as more vegan products, items sweetened without sugar, or just more cookies, and the bakers experiment till they come up with something great.
This week it was the Vegan Margarita Cupcake – made with real limes and real tequila, this cake is absolutely, positively amazing (more details below). I decided to test out what others would think of it, not knowing it was gluten-free or vegan, so I took one to go for some friends. Not telling them where I got it, I had them sample the cupcake. Of course, they too thought it was delicious, then were shocked when I told them the ingredients. This is definitely alternative baking at its best.
What to Get:
Sticky Bun: Brown sugar, cinnamon, and a buttery dough. So great, you will never guess this is gluten-free. Eat warm with a glass of cold milk for extra deliciousness.
Peach Galette: Delicious pastry of sweet peaches wrapped in an incredible flaky gluten-free dough, that was baked to perfection and topped with raw Turbinado sugar. The salesperson informed me that the base of the galette had goat cheese, which sounded a little strange, but definitely don’t let that scare you away. It was still fruity and sweet; the goat cheese just made the filling more moist and flavorful.
Vegan Margarita Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting: I LOVED this cupcake. Sweetened with real limes and tequila, the cupcake is moist and flavorful. The cream cheese frosting was some of the best I have ever had – super light and fluffy with a great hint of lime. I seriously went back to the menu to verify that it was vegan; it really tastes like real cream cheese frosting. This might not also be on the menu, but if it is, be sure to get one!
Hours: Mon-Fri: 7:30am – 5pm; Sat: 8am – 4pm; Closed Sundays
Farmer’s Market: Also at the Portland State Farmer’s Market on Saturdays