There is wisdom in the words “man shall not live by bread alone.” Sometimes it’s important to branch out to sample the buttery, sweet layers of a kouign-amann. Start the day with a sinfully sweet snitter. Or pause from professorial discourse for a pistachio éclair.
Fortunately, SPU is close to some of Seattle’s best bakeries. We couldn’t begin to rank them with such different offerings, so we listed them alphabetically to guide you to the baked goodness that awaits nearby.
Located on Nickerson Street, Byen Bakeri is practically part of the SPU campus which means it’s easy to get there early in the day — their doors open at 6 a.m. — to enjoy their full selection of pastries, bread, or a cup of coffee from local roaster Fonte. There are savory quiche options or Danish smørrebrod sandwiches for lunch.
And throughout the day, their bakery cases are full of an assortment of Nordic and European desserts. There’s an almond lingonberry tart, pinch cookies filled with either raspberry or apricot jam, and the popular pistachio éclair made of pistachio pastry cream and pistachio white chocolate on a choux shell, covered with toasted pistachios.
Byen’s signature dessert might be their princess cake. There have been writeups about Byen’s take on the classic Swedish torte made of sponge cake layered with raspberry jam, vanilla custard, and freshly whipped cream and then covered with green marzipan. It’s available to purchase as individual slices or as a whole cake.
615 WEST MCGRAW STREET
There are five Macrina Bakery and Cafes around the greater Seattle region. Luckily for us, one is close to campus on McGraw Street.
Founded by Seattle’s renowned baker Leslie Mackie, Macrina supplies baked goods to multiple area restaurants and supermarket chains, but it’s worth the trip up the hill to Macrina’s Queen Anne location for a fresh rosemary raisin roll, a sour cherry shortbread cookie, or any number of seasonal treats from vegan pumpkin scones to a strawberry rhubarb streusel cheesecake.
The Queen Anne cafe has limited seating inside and out, so be prepared to wait for a table during busy lunch hours. Or take your chicken pot pie or a cate sandwich (avocado and tomato with an over-easy egg and fromage blanc on a Cornetto) back to your dorm.
1805 QUEEN ANNE AVENUE NORTH
There are coffee cafes, wine shops, and bakeries all around town. Moonrise Bakery is all three in one, with its selection of gourmet coffees, fine wines, and display cases of baked goods.
The bakery, located on the main strip of Queen Anne Avenue North, was once Le Reve Bakery before it became the Moonrise Bakery in April 2021. It’s advisable to go early in the day if you want to get a Gruyere pull-apart or their popular kouign-amann before they sell out since Moonrise bakes not only for their location but also supplies pastries and baked goods for Olympia Coffee’s six other locations in Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia.
And before you ask, “What is a kouign-amann?” let us help you! Kouign means “cake” in the Breton language. And amann is “butter” so you essentially have a butter cake from the Brittany region of northwest France. The flaky, salty/sweet French puff pastry (pronounced coon-yah-mahn, or changed to queen-ah-mahn as it caught on in other areas of the world like Denver) is like a croissant but denser and heavier in the center with sugar and butter sprinkled between the pastry layers. The pastry is baked slowly so that the sugar and butter caramelize on the exterior layer. Delicious.
520 2ND AVENUE WEST, SUITE A
While this bakery may be the farthest from SPU on our list (it’s less than 2 miles from campus), it has closest ties to the University since Neilsen’s Pastries is owned by Seattle Pacific alum Holly Dahlstrom Prairie ’12 and her husband, Chris. Holly started working at the bakery as an undergrad at SPU and later purchased the bakery with her husband in 2017.
And the bakery continues to hire SPU students and alumni. Ask Joseph Roberts ’19 what items are popular and unique to Neilsen’s, and he’ll point to the snitter, which is similar to a cinnamon roll, but flat, with custard added. (Be forewarned: The bakery often sells out of snitters by 11 a.m.)
Another unique item at Neilsen’s is the potato, puff pastry filled with custard and whipped cream, covered in a thin marzipan cover, and coated in cocoa powder.
FREMONT BUILDING ~ 3421 FREMONT AVENUE NORTH
Simply Desserts is the place to go when you’re looking for that charming indie bakery that mostly specializes in one thing — cakes — and makes delectable flavors of them.
When the shop’s red door opens at 1 p.m. (Wednesdays – Sundays), there are usually 12 freshly baked cakes in the display cases — everything from a Java Del Sol Cake and a Mexican Chocolate Cake, to a Red Velvet or a Chocolate Raspberry Rhapsody. Simply Desserts’ owner, Annaliza Valdez, says the Strawberry White Chocolate Cake is a customer favorite.
From SPU’s campus, walk across the Fremont Bridge and continue up the hill. You’ll come upon Simply Desserts on the corner of the Fremont Building. Simply Desserts’ website is being updated. Current business hours are 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. Wednesday/Thursday; 1 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday/Saturday; 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. Sunday. Closed on Mondays. Special order pickups on Tuesday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.