So, day 2 of our Portland trip started on NE Alberta at the Vita Cafe. After an extremely filling and mostly delicious breakfast of free range eggs, vegetarian sausage, potatoes and a biscuit (sadly served a little rare), we walked down a few blocks to Back to Eden Bakery. The shop was very homey and welcoming, with folk art and rustic furniture and displays. Everything was vegan and they had a nice selection of gluten free items.
I ended up choosing a hazelnut mocha cupcake and a gluten free chocolate peanut butter cupcake.
I had higher hopes for the hazelnut mocha cupcake. It was pretty in a simple way. I love coffee. I love hazelnuts (well, I love Nutella, I don’t normally eat a handful of hazelnuts). Unfortunately, this cupcake tasted like neither. In fact, the most dominant flavor I sensed was “banana”, but maybe there is something wrong with my taste buds. Apart from the lack of distinct flavor, the cake was fine. It wasn’t bone dry. It was okay. The icing was a little grainy, but not overly sweet. There was a nice crunch from the crushed nuts on top. I’ve thrown away cupcakes that were worse. I ate my half of it. Mr Shuck thought it was fine, just a little dry.
I wasn’t expecting much from the chocolate peanut butter cupcake. After all, it was vegan AND gluten free! I was pleasantly surprised though. I’m not saying that it was an incredible cupcake; it was a decent cupcake. The icing was peanut buttery and smooth. The cake was rich and fairly moist. I liked it overall. If I decided to give up all animal products, I’d give it another whirl. Until I go completely vegan, I’d rather have my icing made with butter or egg whites from some blissfully happy and well treated cows and chickens. I don’t think that my palate is sophisticated enough that I could detect oil rather than butter in a cake batter.
My sample size is fairly small, but so far Back to Eden has the best vegan and the best gluten free cupcakes that I’ve tried so far. Since it’s only 8 blocks away from my favorite breakfast in Portland, I’m likely to return.