Food & Drink

These Bellingham bakeries take the cake on this layered treat

New bakery opens in downtown Bellingham

Nancy Stuart has moved her home-based cake business to her new Saltadena bakery, which opened in August 2019, at 111 W. Holly St. in downtown Bellingham, Wash.
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Nancy Stuart has moved her home-based cake business to her new Saltadena bakery, which opened in August 2019, at 111 W. Holly St. in downtown Bellingham, Wash.

“It’s a piece of cake,” they say … but the actual making of that piece of cake is a scientific and architectural undertaking. With celebrations from the cake smash to a birthday bash or a beautiful Pacific Northwest wedding, you’ll have to find the perfect cake.

There are two particular cake shops in Bellingham that create masterpieces for special occasions and serve beautiful slices of cake that you can enjoy on a walk, snuggled up inside or, let’s be honest, as a midnight snack. Grab your forks and dig into Bellingham’s sweet cake scene.

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Cake anatomy 101:

First, there are two or three layers of cake, ranging from yellow and chocolate to red velvet.

Bellingham’s cake offerings are special because of the quality of ingredients used. Bakers have the ability to source high-quality ingredients in larger quantities at a better price, such as vanilla beans. One single vanilla bean can cost up to $15.

The cake is then filled with frostings, crunchy candies, fresh fruit or jam. A common filling is chocolate ganache – an emulsion of cream and chocolate. Depending on the ratios of ingredients it can either be used to fill or glaze a cake.

The final steps include frosting the outside of the cake and adding design elements and decorations. This can be as simple as white cake with fresh flowers or as extravagant as Meghan Markle’s wedding cake!

These bakeries have access to a variety of tools – like turntables (that you use to spin a cake around), specialty piping bags, tips and metal spatulas (all used for frosting) – that make cake design more accessible.

Stacking layers and filling a cake must be articulated with precision, a process of adding and taking away frosting to create an edible canvas. You can stack many cake layers as long as you have a sturdy structure.

Nancy Stuart, the owner of Bellingham’s Saltadena bakery, creates whimsical edible pieces of art with fun and funky flavors. Here the staple cake is chocolate filled with chocolate ganache and topped with salt-and-pepper buttercream.

Since special occasions are important, it’s important to place your cake order two weeks or more before the event, as it takes many hours of love to create each cake.

On Friday, Sept. 13, you can get two slices of cake for $13.

Follow Saltadena on Instagram to keep up with all of their sweet cake adventures.

Maybe it’s a moment of spontaneity or you’re having a cheat day, got a promotion or just flat out need a piece of cake, you’ll find Pure Bliss Desserts has a rotating selection of classic cake flavors ready to be sliced and celebrated.

Everything is made from scratch in small batches using local, organic eggs and sweet cream butter. However, if you don’t eat eggs or butter they offer vegan cakes that you wouldn’t know were missing the butter. If you can’t eat gluten, fret not as there is a gluten-free, chocolate cake that is worthy of replacing any meal of the day.

You can place a cake order and dream up a cake of your own, but they prefer 72 hours notice to create your cake. When you pick up your celebration cake, or even a slice, they offer an array of cake toppers and candles to crown your cake. Check out their website to see a full list of cake flavors and offerings.

Don’t you worry about bringing your own fork – they have plenty!

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Stacey Coates is a pastry chef instructor at Bellingham Technical College. She’s been mastering the craft of all things sweet and buttery since her first Easy Bake Oven and will write weekly about Bellingham’s blossoming food and cocktail scene.