Every year as the temperature drops and seasonal magic fills the air, local bakers are busy pulling out pots and pans, checking recipe books, and turning up their ovens to create delectable specialty treats. Cakes, pies, cookies, you name it—’tis the season to whip up memorable, mouth-watering confections that are sure to sweeten anyone’s holiday spirit.
The Metropol Bakery
2538 Willamette Street
Mon-Sat, 7 am-7 pm; Sun, 8 am-6 pm
Donna McGuinness, owner of The Metropol Bakery, and her staff offer a wide array of European-influenced food items during the holiday season. Having the distinction as Eugene’s oldest baking establishment, they know their way around holiday baked goods.
One of the bakery’s most popular sweet treats is a holiday log called Bûche de Noël – a decadent combination of sponge cake, pastry cream filling, and chocolate buttercream frosting. The log is then decorated with meringue mushrooms, marzipan holly, and sugar-coated cranberries.
“It’s just so festive and delicious, and it’s filled with so many flavors,” McGuinness says. “I’d have to say that this is my favorite.”
She notes that other crowd-pleasers include cappuccino torte, which she describes as “a giant candy bar,” and Zuccotto Fiorentino, a giant white dome cake layered with cream filling, dried fruits, and chopped chocolate, that “looks like a van Gogh painting.”
The bakery also offers yuletide treats such as fresh cranberry and pumpkin cheesecakes, egg nog, and pecan pies, as well as many traditional cookies—including huge tree cookies decorated with gingerbread animals.
Noisette Pastry Kitchen
200 W Broadway
Mon-Thurs, 7:30 am-7 pm; Fri-Sat, 7:30 am-10 pm; Sun, 7:30 am-6 pm
Tobi Sovak, who owns Noisette Pastry Kitchen with her husband, Michael Landsberg, says their bakery is an ideal place to find unique holiday provisions. She prefers to call Noisette, “a cafe with a flour-forward menu.”
Along with Bûche de Noël (her holiday log features chocolate cake filled with brandied cherries and vanilla whipped cream), Noisette is brimming with sugary goodies that keep customers coming back year after year.
Sovak, a pastry chef for 25 years, says Noisette (French for hazelnut) is well-known for its holiday cheesecakes made with hazelnut crusts, as well as hazelnut chocolate tarts. Also featured are homemade marshmallows and French macaroons that come in numerous flavors.
“These make great stocking stuffers,” she said about the macaroons.
Noisette also offers a variety of artisan breads, cakes, cookies, gingerbread items, and a flavorful creation called stollen, a sweet German yeast cake stuffed with an array of dried fruits.
“People really like stollen,” Sovak says. “We make a lot of them during the holidays.”
Sweet Life Patisserie
755 Monroe St.
Mon-Fri, 7 am-11 pm; Sat-Sun, 8 am-11 pm
Sweet Life Petite
1609 East 19th Ave
Mon-Fri, 7 am-10 pm; Sat-Sun, 8 am-10 pm
Cheryl Reinhart, who co-owns Sweet Life Patisserie with her sister, Catherine, says their French-inspired bakery is known for its many over-the-top desserts, especially during the holiday season.
Sweet Life offers a specialized holiday treat list every year, Reinhart says. This list of delicacies includes bourbon fruitcake, gingerbread people, peppermint crisp bark, sugarplums, pies, loaf cakes, and, of course, Bûche de Noël.
“We also do lots of cookies, such as pizzelles (thin Italian waffle cookies) and pumpkin cookies with brown sugar frosting,” Reinhart says. Along with her sister, she honed her baking skills with both of their grandmothers.
“We really get in the spirit this time of year,” she says. “It feels so festive to have all these special things that we make just once a year.”
3081 W 11th Ave
Mon-Sat, 11 am-7 pm
Rob and Karen Volkenand, longtime owners of Cookies! Cookies!, couldn’t agree more with that happy sentiment.
“This is our busiest time of the year,” Rob Volkenand says, adding that he and his wife bake countless decorated cutout cookies during the holiday season. Made into all shapes and sizes, the cookies (mostly of the sugar variety) are covered with frosting and festive decorations.
“We make everything: trees, stars, booties, reindeer, wreaths, Santas, even ugly sweater cookies,” he says, noting that the latter has become a “big thing” over the past few years.
“We can make any color (of icing) that somebody wants, and we have just about any kind of sprinkles you can imagine,” Volkenand says. “It’s whatever the customer asks for.”
The holiday season, with its chilly weather and focus on family, begs us to eat and share delicious baked goodies with our friends, families, and communities. Let local bakeries with their winter menus be the source.
New Day Bakery and World Café
449 Blair Blvd.
Mon-Sat, 7 am-8 pm; Sun, 8 am-8 pm
New Day Bakery, located in the Whiteaker neighborhood, is another Eugene culinary landmark known for its festive treats.
Owned and operated by Bill Mahoney, the bakery features pies (with fillings like cranberry nut, rich pecan, and heirloom squash), biscotti made with pistachio nuts and dried cranberries, and Le Petit cookies, a flavorful homemade shortbread dipped in chocolate and elegantly decorated.
“We also make a holiday ring, which is kind of a combination of bread and cake,” he says. The ring is filled with dried fruit, apples, raisins, and walnuts.
Mahoney ranks his many pies and holiday rings as at the top of the customer favorites list. “They are definitely our most popular,” he says.