Monday, June 20, 2011

White Rabbit Bakery

Duchess Gluten Free Cake from White Rabbit Bakery

For the last two weeks I have been visiting my parents out in Oregon where I grew up.  Usually I don't expect much from the world in regard to gluten free eating while I'm there, sometimes if we are lucky we are able to run to Bob's Red Mill.  This trip was vastly different!  My Mom took me for a brunch treat at White Rabbit Bakery, and I'm positive that when I stepped through the door I fell down the rabbit hole into a world of nonsense and make-believe!

It was fantastic!  First of all, the building the bakery resides in used to be an old antique shop, as many buildings are in Aurora Oregon.  I have vivid memories of my mom dragging me into this particular shop as a young tween/teenager, it was filled from floor to ceiling with all sorts of odd treasures.  There also used to be a particular dusty old smell to the place.  All that has more than disappeared!  The smell is some sort of sweet heaven mixed with cinnamon and coffee.  Here's where the bit of nonsense comes in, I'm positive someone picked up a bakery straight out of the Lower East Side of Manhattan and plopped it right into this building in Aurora Oregon.  Anyone who has ever driven through Aurora and managed not to blink knows it's the oddest little town FULL of antique shops and old man bars, so to find this amazing gem was truly a surprise.  I think the biggest moment of visual disbelief was when the adorably sweet lady, Becca, behind the counter let me know that there were more GF options in the case than regular items, WHERE AM I!?!?!?!  Each item was more enticing and beautiful than the last!

I ordered a Chocolate Chip Oat Scone (GF) and a cup of coffee, and sat down in the cute dining room with it's antique chairs and rustic wood tables.  The coffee came in a clay pottery mug, and my scone sat nicely on a plain white plate.  It was fantastic!  I admit the scone was a bit of work to chew, from the deliciously fibrous contents, lots of oats and Becca said they also use Amaranth flour, but it was worth every chew.  The hardest thing for me was to sit there watching the counter and see all the other delicious GF treats be sold off one by one, it gave me horrible anxiety!  I finally stood up and got a few things to go, Oscar one of the owners was a tremendous help and with that infectious smile, I might have bought the whole store if he had asked.  I took home a Plum Tart (GF), and two Her Majesty Cupcakes (GF), both gorgeous and you would never believe to look at them that they were GF.

I ate them on two separate days and even had dreams about how delicious they were!  Some how Emily the owner and head baker at White Rabbit has managed to suspend the laws of physics when it comes to baking without gluten!  I don't understand how she made such amazingly moist and tender cake, or a perfectly flaky dense delicious tart crust, it's nonsense!

Plum Tart Gluten Free
The Plum Tart was pretty, with sweet red plums baked into the top.  Oscar had told me it had almonds in it so I didn't dare share it with Ceci, but it was worth keeping it from her because it was Wonderful!  The crust was flaky and buttery and dense while the filling was sweet with a hint of lemon that paired perfectly with the sugary and slightly sour plums.  I wanted about 10 more of them after that.

Her Majesty Gluten Free Cupcake

The next day I took the Her Majesty Cupcake out of the fridge and finally noticed the cute leopard print liner it was in, I had been so distracted by the perfect top of the cupcake I never looked down to see the liner.  Her Majesty is a vanilla poppy seed cake, with a lemon curd and raspberry jam filling topped with vanilla butter cream frosting, and possibly a dash of heaven!  Light, fluffy and tender don't even begin to describe the poppy seed cake, and it could not have been a more perfect palate for the creamy and tart lemon curd, the sweet raspberry jam worked perfectly with all of it.  Finally the vanilla butter cream spoke directly to my heart and my stomach, I'm a huge frosting fan since it was all I ate at birthdays and weddings for most of my life.  The frosting was tremendously rich and buttery, I could have sat down with a tub of that and the raspberry jam and eaten all day.

The last thing I picked up at White Rabbit Bakery was a menu, and after the amazing success of the Her Majesty I just had to have a birthday cake!  After more than an hour of pouring over the menu I decided on the Duchess cake!  It didn't hurt my decision that Ceci calls me Duchess (from the Aristocats Movie). But I was so excited to try the Chocolate cake, with raspberry jam filling and more of that amazing vanilla butter cream frosting!  Tim placed the order for my birthday and spoke directly with Emily the baker/owner and said she was very accommodating even though we missed the 48 hours of notice.  She said she could have it ready by the next afternoon for us.

Cut section of Duchess cake

The last item I ate from the bakery was a Marionberry Sour cream Muffin (GF) that I tucked into my carry-on for our flight.  It got smashed in all the hassle of travel but that didn't alter the flavor at all, it was bursting with cinnamon and nutmeg and reminded me of holiday baking yet was perfect for a summer breakfast treat.  The Marionberries  made the muffin even more moist than just the tender muffin by itself.  I'd say it was the perfect treat to end my long flight home to NY.

I'm so sad that I'm now so far away from the bakery and won't be able to get more treats until we are out in Oregon again.  I'm so spoiled now, I have even less tolerance for bad texture or horrible tasting GF foods, after having Emily's beautiful creations there is no excuse to eat bad food!  If I had more regular access to White Rabbit I think I would end up like Alice in Wonderland when she eats the cakes, she grows bigger and bigger and bigger.  I would certainly not be getting taller from these cakes though!

I'm so inspired to work harder on my own recipes to make them even better in taste and texture.

To Emily, Oscar and all your staff;  please keep up all the hard and delicious work!  You are doing amazing things with gluten free flours!  You might want to consider writing a cook book for those of us who can't always make it into the bakery, or maybe shipping some of your amazing treats would be great.