You know it when you smell it.
The buttery sweetness that fills the air seems to offer a little bit of a sugar rush all by itself.
Next comes the difficult part: how to choose?
Between buttery and flaky almond croissants and pains au chocolat, cloud-like French macarons, creamy eclairs, dreamy little tarts topped with fresh fruit and berries or, perhaps, a piece of scratch-made cake, selecting just one often proves impossible.
Here are a dozen sweet spots to consider.
Wife-and-husband Ella and Maximus Piskun are the driving forces behind this new and contemporary Spokane bakery, which focuses on high-end, scratch-made, creative cakes and cookies. There’s no storefront yet – they’re still looking for a permanent storefront and bake shop – but the Piskuns have been taking orders since launching miFlavour’s website in January. Desserts are made in a rented commercial kitchen and feature local and organic ingredients as much as possible. They also all carry distinctive, fun and usually feminine names. Lana is a lemon meringue eclair. Roxy is a black currant French macaron. Aubrey, a top-seller, is a black currant and white chocolate mousse cake with a mirror glaze. Ella Piskun does all of the baking. Her husband helps behind the scenes with business and marketing. Custom cakes are available. Look for French macarons, one of miFlavour’s signature items, as well as mousse cakes, biscotti, brownies, bars, cupcakes, croissants, scones and Pavlova. Some of miFlavour’s creations are available at Huckleberry’s Natural Market, Main Market Co-op, Rocket Market, Chocolate Apothecary and AndKup coffee shop. (509) 426-5596. miflavour.com
This charming West Central bakeshop specializes in scratch-made wedding and special occasion cakes and treats with all kinds of creative flavor combinations. Vanilla bean is the most popular cake flavor. Fillings include salted caramel, seasonal fruit, lemon curd, dark chocolate ganache and Mexican hot chocolate ganache with a bit of a kick from cayenne, chipotle, cinnamon, anise and clove. Look also for cakes in these flavors: sticky toffee pudding, carrot, citrus-caramel, rosemary, Earl Grey, tres leches, lavender, chocolate, tiramisu, s’mores and cardamom-pistachio Persian Love. Mika Maloney – masterful with butter cream – founded Batch in 2011, baking out of rented kitchen space. She moved into her brick-and-mortar location in 2014 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. While the sweet little neighborhood shop is no longer open for retail, it can be rented for small parties and meetings. Plus, Maloney holds a variety of classes, workshops and clubs, including a cookbook club and dessert-of-the-month club, as well as events, such as dessert nights. Look for her treats at the Thursday Market in the South Perry District as well as various pop-up events. 2023 W. Dean Ave. (509) 413-3759. www.batch-bakeshop.com
Common Crumb Artisan Bakery
This downtown bake shop, located inside the Saranac Commons building, specializes in European-style breads and pastries. Look for croissants, cream puffs, eclairs, pains au chocolat, palmiers, caneles, tarts and French macarons. Look, also, for baguettes and artisan bread loaves, biscotti, seasonal scones, chocolates and house-made marshmallows. Custom orders are available, too. Executive pastry chef Lynette Pflueger heads the bake shop, part of the family of establishments owned and run by the husband-and-wife restaurateurs Jeremy and Kate Hansen. They include Sante Restaurant and Charcuterie, Hogwash Whiskey Den, Inland Pacific Kitchen and the newly opened Biscuit Wizard, also in Saranac Commons. (A French brasserie and gin bar are coming soon, too.) Common Crumb features a walk-up counter and pastry case at the back of the common area. 19 W. Main Ave. (509) 315-4948. commoncrumb.com
Chaps Diner and Bakery
Tucked away at the edge of a parking lot in the Latah neighborhood near the base of the Eagle Ridge development, this sweet spot offers an eclectic farmhouse feel and an assortment of buttery baked goods. Look for the signature almond croissant and apple fritters, buttercup pastries, cinnamon buns, scones, cookies and more. Founded in 2006, Chaps is the kind of place where water is served in Mason jars. It’s been featured on Food Network and is a beloved brunch and breakfast spot. Dinner is served there, too – along with craft cocktails. Decor is whimsical, quirky and thoughtful, with antique cake stands, chalkboards and cozy nooks. The baking operation is simply called Cake. A recent outpost, Paper and Cup, has opened in the Kendall Yards development; it has limited hours but serves up espresso drinks, sandwiches and plenty of pastries. Chaps: 4237 Cheney-Spokane Road. Paper and Cup: 1227 W. Summit Parkway. (509) 624-4182.
This spacious neighborhood bakery, cafe and coffee shop is filled with antiques and cozy nooks for studying, writing or meeting friends or clients. Natural light pours in through large front windows overlooking a long and narrow patio. The interior of the painted brick building feels a bit like the parlor of a Victorian-meets-Craftsman home – without any hint of stuffiness. Order at the counter and try not to hold up the line; there’s so much from which to choose – quiches, cupcakes, croissants, cookies, loaf cakes, muffins, turnovers, scones, Danishes, bear claws and, of course, drip coffee and espresso drinks. This is a place where people linger. Its location near Manito Park on Spokane’s South Hill also makes it a perfect spot to start or end a walk in the park. 315 E. 18th Ave. (509) 747-8691.
Boots Bakery and Lounge
The cupcakes at this eclectic vegan and gluten-free bakery have a cult following. So do the boozy brownies and pumpkin waffles with chai “butter.” Come here, also, for the chipotle corn pasta and power greens salad, espresso drinks or well-crafted cocktails. Opened in 2012 by longtime Spokane bartender Alison Collins and her husband, Arden Pete, this downtown spot – part coffee shop, part cafe, part cocktail lounge – is recognizable by its aquamarine facade. There’s a small deck overlooking West Main Avenue out front. Inside, cozy booths are fashioned from vintage wood doors. There are larger, communal tables in the back of the long and narrow space. Lights made from inverted blenders hang over the bar, where – if it’s your lucky night – bartender extraordinaire Avont Grant will be working. 24 W. Main Ave. (509) 703-7223. bootsbakery.com
Madeleine’s Cafe and Patisserie
Look for almond croissants, pains au chocolat, macarons, shortbread, napoleons, tarts, gateaux and more at this modern, uncluttered and charming French-inspired downtown bake and coffee shop. Done in off-white and soft gray, the feel is sophisticated yet approachable. Order at the register near the pastry cases, then find a spot at the counter that lines the large front window overlooking West Main Avenue or in a small booth for two in the main dining area. Larger booths for four – maybe more if you want to squeeze – line the wall opposite the pastry case and kitchen. There’s more seating in back, along with a patio and new pergola in the cafe’s almost secret-garden-like outdoor space. Look, also, for Madeleine’s ever-popular Reuben, croque madame and croque monsieur sandwiches as well as an array of breakfast items, including a special cinnamon swirl French toast. This is the second iteration of the longtime downtown eatery; it moved a few blocks east from its original location about two years ago. 415 W. Main Ave. (509) 624-2253.
Lefevre Street Bakery and Cafe
Oversized cinnamon rolls greet customers from behind the counter at this bake shop and cafe, located in the heart of Medical Lake, southwest of Spokane. First-timers can’t miss the newly renovated building, done in a warm and welcoming golden hue and located on the somewhat sleepy town’s main drag. It sits across the street from City Hall. Opened in spring 2016, Lefevre was founded by Kevin and Brenda Gerhart, the same couple who started Petit Chat Bakery in north Spokane. They sold that business about three years ago. At their newer establishment in Medical Lake, find scones, Danishes, pains au chocolat, croissants, coconut macaroons and French macarons, along with coffee and breakfast and lunch menus. The fried chicken-and-biscuit sandwich includes egg and cheese; the scratch-made biscuit is big and crumbly and pretty much perfect. Look, also, for cinnamon chip French toast, the Carl (two biscuits, two eggs, sausage gravy, hash browns) and the Si (sage sausage stuffing, sausage gravy, two eggs). For lunch, try the simple but satisfying grown-up grilled cheese with cheddar, provolone and Swiss. But there’s an entire array of hand-helds – from a hamburger and cheeseburger to fried green tomato, country-fried steak and fried ham and cheddar sandwiches. 123 Lefevre St., Medical Lake. (509) 299-3843.
There’s an entire room devoted to displaying bread at this spacious bakery, cafe and coffee shop in North Spokane. Multiple varieties of loaves are available. Look, also, for plastic clam shells full of assorted cookies, cupcakes and muffins. And that’s before you even get to the front counter to place an order. In the pastry case, find croissants, fruit-and-cheese spiral Danish pastry “snails,” cream puffs, quiches and other baked treats. There’s an assortment of hearty sandwiches, too, along with ample seating. The large dining area makes Petit Chat a popular meeting place for North Siders and students from nearby Whitworth University. Front windows let in natural light, and accent walls – done in buttery yellow and dusty blue – add a cozy feel to the substantial place, which includes a polished concrete floor and exposed duct work and wiring on the ceiling. When the weather’s nice, opt to sit outside; several tables line the walkway between the bakery and the parking lot. 9910 N. Waikiki Road. (509) 468-2720. petitchatbakery.com
This is where you go to get a big pink cookie. The frosted favorite – with a hint of almond in the icing – is one of the longtime bakery’s signature sweets. For 25 years, this locally owned cafe and coffee shop has been giving folks a place to gather, study and grab a quick bite. Look for assorted bagels and bagel sandwiches, quiche, cookies, scones, muffins, cinnamon rolls, loaf cakes and other pastries. Founded in 1992 by Jeff and Julia Postlewait, the local bakery chain has seven locations, each with its own vibe. West downtown is light, bright and airy, with large windows letting in the sun. There’s beer on tap in the back and sidewalk seating. The South Howard Street spot isn’t as sunny and is typically less crowded. The newest post shares space with a branch of STCU in River Park Square. Find these and the other locations online at rocketspokane.com.
Cole’s Fine Foods Gluten-Free Bakery and Cafe
This north Spokane bake shop and eatery is 100 percent gluten free. And offerings have expanded since the spot opened more than two years ago. For baked goodies, look for scones, cupcakes, cookies and cream puffs. Come in Saturday for cinnamon rolls. And allow three days when ordering special occasion cakes. Cole’s also makes bread, bagels, rolls, biscuits, baguettes and take-and-bake pizza. Eating in is also an option. For breakfast, find gluten-free pancakes, waffles and biscuits. At lunch, there are gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, chicken strips, coconut chicken, onion rings and hand-cut fries. Pizza – 14 or 18 inches – is popular at dinner. Dairy free and vegan options are also available. 521 E. Holland Ave., Suite 20. (509) 413-1739. colesfinefoods.com
Pastry and More
Tucked away in an unassuming strip mall off Highway 95 is Pastry and More. The shop offers a wide array of delightful cookies, delicious cheesecake, petit fours and birthday cakes to die for. It also boasts it’s home of the famous orange roll – the North Idaho version served at Beverly’s, not the Spokane version from the Spokane Club. There are several great bakeries in Coeur d’Alene, but Pastry and More continues to bake the cake. (See what we did there?) 411 W. Haycraft Ave., Coeur d’Alene. (800) 763-5726. www.pastryandmore.com.
Features editor Carolyn Lamberson contributed to this report.
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