A bakery for Admiral: Heavenly Pastry and Cake is on the way

Story and photo by Mary Sheely
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

A little bit of heaven is coming to Admiral Junction.

Heavenly Pastry and Cake will be taking over the storefront at 2604 California SW (formerly the West Seattle Herald offices). But while the bakery location will be new, the business isn’t — Heavenly Pastry and Cake owner Allison Barnes and husband Michael Stein, along with various nieces and nephews, are more than familiar to visitors at farmers’ markets around town.

“If we ever miss one, we hear about it next week, like, “Where were you guys?’” says Barnes.

It’s no wonder — the selection of “sweeties and savories” made by Barnes and her “partner in crime” Clove Burt include the Raspberry-Hazelnut Yum fruit bar (“Our niece named it, because that’s what it makes you say,” says Stein) scones made with heavy cream, and the signature Oma Stein’s Pretzel, from a recipe by Michael’s German grandmother.

“It’s a soft pretzel with kind of a nutty outer crunch,” says Barnes.

“It’s the bee’s knees,” chimes in Stein, a local voice-over artist and Microsoft employee who helps out at the pastry business as a literal “heavy lifter” of 50-pound bags of flour at the Ballard location where they’ve been baking.

“We were getting people who would come up to us at the farmers’ market and say, ‘Oh, pretzels, huh?’” Barnes recounts, adopting a skeptical voice. “‘Well, I’m from Philly’ or ‘I’m from New York!’ They would buy one and say, ‘Well, we’ll see.’ And they would take a bite and come back and go, ‘Oh my God, it’s just like a pretzel from my childhood!’ We tapped into that thing — it’s the real deal. My German grandmother-in-law said to me, ‘If you make ’em right, you can keep the recipe. Otherwise, I’m takin’ it back!’”

Obviously there’s no worry of that happening. Barnes always loved to bake — as a child, she would bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends and “all the cute little boys in the neighborhood would line up to get them.” After years working a “regular job,” she enrolled in the South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) Pastry Program in 2002.

“Once I got in, I realized, ‘This is pastry boot camp and I gotta be prepared,’” she recalls. “They try to scare you off at the beginning — ‘You’re not in here making cupcakes! You’re gonna learn it from the ground up!’ The more I got into it, the more I liked the fact that it was such a challenge.”

Following graduation, Barnes actually did make cupcakes, managing the kitchen for the original Cupcake Royale in Ballard, and then working for a time as a baker for Caffé Ladro. She eventually started baking her own goods in a friend’s commercial kitchen.

“I went out and bought a 10×10 tent to set up at the farmers market and said, ‘What the heck, I’ll just make some stuff,’” Barnes says. “The great thing about farmers markets is it’s the ultimate test market,” she continues. “Really, I’ve done test marketing for four years.”

One good example is the creation of Heavenly Pastry and Cake’s BIG CHEEZY,” a biscuit loaded with cheddar cheese and jalapeno peppers.

“I actually worked on the recipe at the farmers market,” she says. “Most of the male vendors around me did the tasting for me. They’d be like, ‘Oh, not enough jalapeno.’ So we worked on the taste together until I got the ‘snap’ right. And people just started buying it and buying it.”

Heavenly Pastry and Cake will continue to sell at local farmers markets — Barnes can’t disappoint her fans — but a permanent location will have its benefits. “There’s just so much more I can do,” she says. “For the farmers’ market, we plan what we make based upon the weather. All summer long it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s going to melt.’ You can’t make some delicate cake.”

In a climate-controlled bakery, you can. When Heavenly Pastry and Cake opens in early spring, Barnes foresees offering more hard-crusted, European-style breads, specialty cakes, and “an array of breakfast sweeties,” along with simple drinks like drip coffee and tea. Barnes and Stein also plan to decorate with photos documenting the building’s history, which included a pharmacy run by the family of the building’s owner, Virgil Sheppard, and a previous grocery store.

“We always figured that we would ultimately open up a little bakery in a little neighborhood,” says Barnes. “We live in West Seattle, so we love it, and we were looking for the perfect space. We wanted to find a landlord that gets us. I was walking past one day and said, ‘That’s it! That’s the bakery right there!’ It’s really a sweet little space.”

And soon it will be savory, too.

17 Replies to "A bakery for Admiral: Heavenly Pastry and Cake is on the way"

  • JanS November 16, 2009 (6:54 pm)

    OMG…I can walk there in about 3 minutes…not good for the rear view, my heart, my waist, but my tummy will be oh, so happy :)

  • celeste17 November 16, 2009 (8:13 pm)

    Sure it will Jan. You just take the long way around. Go up the street go around the track a few times. Then walk across the street to PCC and walk that block and then cross the street by the cleaners and you are there. :p (Yeah Right)

  • mark November 16, 2009 (8:16 pm)

    Celeste, I was thinking the up and down Fairmount route….

  • Manuela Slye November 16, 2009 (8:44 pm)

    I can’t wait…

  • Betsy Bell November 16, 2009 (8:46 pm)

    Yeah! These two wonderful people are my neighbors. So proud to know them.

  • bring it November 16, 2009 (8:58 pm)


  • justcuz November 16, 2009 (9:01 pm)

    OMG, Michael, it’s been years! Congratulations to the both of you – this sounds yummy :)

  • hkb November 16, 2009 (9:44 pm)

    ooh ooh ooh – I can’t wait! :-D

  • Al November 17, 2009 (8:31 am)

    Pretzels! Yay!

  • KSJ November 17, 2009 (9:54 am)

    Sounds delicious! I’m loving all these small locally owned businesses in my ‘hood!

  • BORN&RAISED WEST SEATTLEITE November 17, 2009 (10:08 am)

    Working next door at Linda’s flowers it is going to be hard not to gain 10 pounds…Good luck and welcome!!!

  • Gina November 17, 2009 (1:36 pm)

    Oboy! Baked goods on the display shelves of the Little Deli again!

    Anyone remember Mr. Houlihan that ran the deli/bakery that was there?

  • Melinda November 17, 2009 (7:04 pm)

    Yes, my husband and I went in often to see “Mars” (was it Marcel?) Houlihan for pastrami, havarti and other cold cuts. He seemed gruff, but had the sweetest smile. He said he was born between the feasts of St. Joseph and St. Patrick and smiled, “And my mother named me Marcel!” Welcome to the bakery!

  • Brian November 17, 2009 (7:15 pm)

    Yo, neighbors! This is AWESOME news… :)

  • Dad November 19, 2009 (5:39 pm)

    Way to go, you two! I’m very proud of you and look forward to your opening – a Big Cheezy! and a Yuuuummmm! Bellingham could use a Heavenly Pastries and Cakes – very welcoming…..

  • r November 21, 2009 (10:43 am)

    Not another cake or cupcake joint. Too much fat and butter. Good luck selling $5 cookies.

  • baker November 22, 2009 (4:42 pm)

    No $5 cookies at this bakery…who sells cookies for that much anyway ? You’ll just have to come check it out.

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