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gluten-free summer entertaining: cake envy crafts the perfect summer sweets

Owner Helen Noh of celebrated Seattle bakery Cake Envy, PB & J cupcake fanatic, and lover of all things frosted.
Simple & Crisp_Cupcake Envy Helen Noh

Helen Noh of Cake Envy.

Why we love her:

This savvy sweet tooth knows a thing or two about creating the perfect cake (simplistic, not too sweet), but she also knows the importance of crafting the perfect culinary pairing.  Nestled in Seattle’s Greenlake neighborhood, Cake Envy serves up beer, wine, bubbly, coffee ,and tea to pair along with their incredible sweets.  Try Coconut Cream Cake with a chilled glass of Piccola Cellars Sauvignon Blanc for a crisp treat on a hot day, or a doppio espresso from Caffe Umbria paired with a Peanut Butter Cup cupcake for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

In addition to providing delicious culinary pairings, we love her bakery’s mantra: “local & green.”  These cakes are as beautiful as they are sustainable and Cake Envy strives to use as many local products as possible.  Even better, vegan and gluten-free cupcakes are available around the clock – so go ahead, indulge!

Tell us a little bit about how you got started – did you grow up in a household where baking was a daily occurrence or a cherished occasional treat?

I started baking as a teenager and fell in love with it.  It was always a dream of mine to own my own bakery.  After high school I attended culinary school at The Art Institute of Seattle.

What was the catalyst that propelled you to open Cake Envy?

When I attended culinary school, during the Baking & Pastry quarter, I made my first wedding cake and fell in love with the entire process.  That’s when I realized that this is the career path I wanted to take.  I started making wedding cakes for family and friends and then realized that I needed to start Cake Envy.

When you first opened, did you immediately offer gluten-free and vegan options?

No, we did not offer gluten-free immediately.  We received a lot of requests and it took a lot of trial and error to figure out the perfect recipe.

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What would you say is the biggest difference in baking the perfect cake vs. the perfect gluten-free cake?

When you don’t have gluten in your recipe, the cake doesn’t have a binder so you have to figure out the correct proportion of the different flours along with a non-gluten binder (we use xanthan gum) to make sure everything holds together without crumbling.

What’s your favorite gluten-free flavor or combination for summer?

If I had to choose, it would be our chocolate cake with coconut buttercream.

You’re very familiar with delicious culinary pairings – as you create them everyday!  What are your favorite Simple & Crisp gluten-free chocolate cupcake pairings?

My favorite pairings are Simple & Crisp Blood Orange with Chocolate and Coconut Buttercream, Simple & Crisp Apple with Chocolate and Matcha Green Tea, and Simple & Crisp Orange with Chocolate and Vanilla Creme.

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Helen Noh’s favorite Simple & Crisp fruit and frosting pairings – yum!

For more information on Helen Noh and Cake Envy, follow Cake Envy on Facebook.

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