Seattle Pastry Chefs' Top Sweet Spots

Where Seattle's finest pastry chefs get sugared up
Carrie Mashaney tucks into her favorite chocolate chip cookie with the right sweet salty balance, from The Wandering Goose

Carrie Mashaney (picutred above) 
Chef and pastry chef, Mamnoon (Capitol Hill, 1508 Melrose Ave.; 206.906.9606;

A rare chef talented in the ways of both savory and sweet, Mashaney rose to Top Chef fame in season 11; now, you can find her crafting beautiful Pavlovas and plating mezze at this critically acclaimed Middle Eastern restaurant. 

What is your favorite…

Ice cream? Kurt Farm Shop’s (Capitol Hill, 1424 11th Ave.; rose.

Cake? I don’t really eat cake, but my favorite would be anything with buttercream frosting. 

Cookie? Wandering Goose, chocolate chip. It has a good balance of salty/sweet going on.

Breakfast pastry? Bakery Nouveau’s kugelhopf (a Bundt-shaped, yeasted dough). It’s light as air, with a crunchy sugar coating and not too sweet. 

Plated dessert? The best, most recent dessert I’ve had—besides my own!—was at Spinasse (Capitol Hill, 1531 14th Ave.; 206.251.7673; It was a grilled peach with oatmeal gelato and cinnamon milk. 

What sort of sweet treats is Seattle missing? Babka!

Renee Bolstad
Pastry chef, Revel, Joule and Trove (
To match the bold, Asian-influenced flavors at Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi’s popular eateries, Bolstad comes up with inventive takes on classic desserts—look for miso, lychee, lemongrass—plus the extremely Instagram-able parfaits at Trove’s ice cream truck. 

What is your favorite…

Ice cream? Other than my own, anything Matt Bumpas [of Sweet Bumpas] (206.719.0625; makes!

Cake? I can get down on the carrot cake from Safeway (multiple locations; My first job was in the Safeway bakery, and it brings back many great memories.

Cookie? I had a chocolate peanut butter cookie at the Wandering Goose (Capitol Hill, 403 15th Ave. E; 206.323.9938; that was out of this world. It was served warm, and it was the perfect balance of soft and gooey.

Breakfast pastry? Anything from Bakery Nouveau, particularly the kouign-amann. The layers of butter and sugar—does it get any better than that?

Plated dessert? When I was at the [StarChefs’] Rising Star event last year, Junko Mine [of Cafe Juanita] had a delightful plate of ricotta and honey and a thin crostini of a chocolate bread. It was perfectly balanced, and I love it when bread gets incorporated in a plated dessert.

What sort of sweet treats is Seattle missing? I think more shops that serve more traditional desserts from their cultural heritage. I need more aebleskiver in my life!

Lucy Damkoehler
Pastry chef, Taste Café (Downtown, 1300 First Ave.; 206.903.5291; In August, Damkoehler made a return to SAM’s Taste, the restaurant (closed and now reopened as a more casual café) that originally put her on Seattle’s food map, where she’s been building a pastry program of breakfast sweets and more decadent little desserts. 

What is your favorite…

Ice cream? Husky Deli’s (West Seattle, 4721 California Ave. SW; 206.937.2810; Dollar Mint. I am so excited to pass on the memory of getting ice cream there to my son! I love the family that owns it. Like a small-town place.

Cake? Bakery Nouveau’s (multiple locations; carrot cake. It’s not too sweet, and I love how dense it is.

Cookie? Hot Cakes’ (multiple locations, including Capitol Hill, 1650 E Olive Way; 206.258.2591; oatmeal cookie. It is just so good! Reminds me of the cookies I grew up with on the East Coast.

Breakfast pastry? Twice-baked almond croissant at Bakery Nouveau. I like the texture contrast—the chewy middle and the crunchy top. Do you see a trend? I love Bakery Nouveau!

Plated dessert? RN74’s (downtown, 1433 Fourth Ave.; 206.456.7474; hand-cut, warm beignets. They are so fluffy, and I love the butterscotch pudding (I am sure they put real Scotch in it).

What sort of sweet treats is Seattle missing? Good old American bakeries! A place where you can get pie, cupcakes, doughnuts and ice cream in the same place. I don’t think there are enough places that do it all, like the bakeries you find in small towns. 

Sara Naftaly digs into her favorite dessert at Nishino in Madison Park: fried banana and coconut ice cream

Sara Naftaly
Chef and owner, Amandine Bakeshop (Capitol Hill, 1424 11th Ave.; 206.948.2097; and soon to open Marmite
After spending 15 years in the kitchen at Le Gourmand (which closed in 2012) with her husband, Bruce Naftaly, Sara Naftaly now runs this petite bakery, where Parisian macarons are the house specialty. This month, they will also open a new soup-focused spot, Marmite, (and a Sambar-like bar, Spirit in the Bottle) next door. 

What is your favorite…

Ice cream? Kurt Farm Shop [in the same building] (Capitol Hill, 1424 11th Ave.; The lemon verbena is particularly lovely. 

Cake? A well-made, classic fraisier: a perfect balance of bright local strawberries, vanilla sponge and almond cream. We will be doing them next strawberry season!

Cookie? The chocolate chip cookie at The Fat Hen (Ballard, 1418 NW 70th St.; 206.782.5422; It’s good!

Breakfast pastry? The croissants at Cafe Besalu in Ballard are first rate. 

Plated dessert? Tempura-fried banana and coconut ice cream at Nishino (Madison Valley, 3130 E Madison St.; 206.322.5800; I am a sucker for fried bananas and coconut. 

What sort of sweet treats is Seattle missing? Dessert options from the rich food cultures of other nationalities are hard to come by. One hopes that when the city has finished its growth spurt, there will be more diversity. Gulab jamun [a sugary Indian dessert of milk solids soaked in syrup], anyone?

Autumn Martin with a few scoops from Frankie & Jo’s, her latest venture

Autumn Martin, Nondairy Queen
A pastry chef’s triumph over a tummy troubling allergy

What does a pastry chef do when she finds out she’s allergic to dairy—that magic elixir found in butter, milkshakes and milk chocolate chips? As Hot Cakes’ (multiple locations, including Capitol Hill, 1650 E Olive Way; 206.258.2591; Autumn Martin learned: You just keep on baking.

Martin discovered she was allergic to dairy in culinary school back in 2000, although it was a minor inconvenience then that didn’t affect the 80 hours a week she spent around butter and sugar. Now, she’s mostly given up having full servings of cream and butter for the sake of “feeling better and focusing more clearly.” She still samples dairy for testing items, and “I even have some pizza or a croissant if the quality is really high. I [just have] to be careful about when and how much,” Martin says. A few things she’s willing to bend the no-dairy rule for: Columbia City Bakery’s ( chocolate cake and Sea Wolf’s ( croissant.

This new clarity on gut health influencing overall health has been part of the impetus behind her launching Frankie & Jo’s (Capitol Hill, 1010 E Union St.;, a plant-based ice cream shop—think flavorful fruit sherbets, such as like peach-berry-plum, and nut-milk bases sweetened with dates—she opened in November with business partner Kari Brunson of Capitol Hill’s Juicebox. Another motive? 

She just really missed her ice cream.

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