A little over a week ago I headed to Columbus to see two of my best friends from Miami get married! My first day in Columbus (Thursday) was a good one with an exciting trip to Cherbourg Bakery and the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner was at a cool spot called the Kitchen in the German Village. It’s a place where you can get a group of friends’ together and do cooking lessons or have more of a dinner party feel than just eating out at the restaurant. My friend is Puerto Rican and so for the rehearsal dinner his mom and abuela had created a menu with lots of Puerto Rican specialties. The staff at the Kitchen were a little bit nervous since this was their first time making a lot of the dishes. I think the consensus was that they did very well and I would put my Miamian stamp of approval on what I tried.
In preparing for the Columbus trip, my plan was to explore the German Village on Friday before the wedding. I got even more excited to do this after walking from my hotel to the Kitchen Thursday night. I only saw the edge of the German Village, but I already knew that I was really going to enjoy it from the brief peak I got. It hit the checklist of top things I nerd out over (mainly history, architecture, and walkability).
The other thing going for the German Village was that my explorations were starting with a trip to Bake Me Happy Gluten-Free Bakery. Thursday my trip to Cherbourg Bakery had raised the bar very high. Throw out a lot of words that describe amazing flavor and texture and combine it with adjectives like “heavenly” and you’ll get the gist of my trip to Cherbourg (make sure to check out the post and pics linked at the top).
I was also very excited though to check out Bake Me Happy. They have more of what I’ll describe as sinful, American, childhood goodies. Think Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and Moon Pies. If Hostess or Little Debbie made a product, there’s a strong chance that Bake Me Happy has a gluten-free version. Similar to my experience with Cherbourg Bakery’s website, I knew I was going to have a very hard time narrowing down what I was going to get. Bake Me Happy also had amped up my anticipation with their postings on Instagram…
I took a Car2Go from downtown to Bake Me Happy just south of the German Village. Right before I got there I passed a sign indicating I was entering Merion Village. There might be more of a main street of Merion Village, but Bake Me Happy is in a small industrial building on an otherwise charming residential street. The entrance is to the right once you enter the building. There is a counter that wraps around the entrance and it’s all an open view into the baking space right behind it.
Relative to Cherbourg Bakery, I did a better job of remembering what I had wanted to get off the online menu. I still scanned the counter and looked at everything they had that day. They had a lot of those “Hostess” like treats, plus some cookies, savory scones, some hand pies, and some pumpkin seasonal treats (if I’m remembering correctly).I picked out what was a must and then did some compare and contrasts on the remaining items I was thinking of getting.
Their Oatmeal Creme Cloud (their version of the Oatmeal Creme Pie) was an absolute must. The Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie was probably one of my guilty gluten pleasures as a kid. I cringe now thinking about how many of those I ate (usually stuffing it into my mouth in two or three bites like most middle schoolers) and the damage I probably did. Needless to say I was very excited to be able to enjoy a gluten-free version of this guilty treat.
Readers know I go nuts over savory gluten-free baked goods, so their scones were a most. The texture on them just looked excellent. I couldn’t wait to try them. I went for a ham and cheese and chives scone. I then got a scone I know was more herb-y with a great mustard kick, but I don’t see it on the menu and so the exact ingredients unfortunately escape me right now…
I was choosing between their Sweet and Dalty Dark Chocolate Chip Chippie cookie or their Peanut Butter Burner cookie. Looking back I should have just gone for both since I love peanut butter cookies, but it’s next to impossible to go to a gluten-free bakery and not get their chocolate chip cookie. For that latter reason I went for the chocolate chip cookie.
I then was debating between a King Dong (chocolate cake with marshmallow in the middle and covered in a hard chocolate shell) or a Zebra Cake (white cake with marshmallow in the middle and covered in a hard vanilla shell). I tend to prefer vanilla over chocolate, so I went for the Zebra Cake.
I had remembered seeing a Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bar on their online menu, which sounded insanely decadent and delicious. I didn’t see one of these available, but I did see a Blondie brownie. I was happy to go for that one. I wrapped it up by grabbing one of the packaged Spongies (their version of a Twinkie) next to the register.
As the woman rung me up I noticed they had a little knick knack from Tula Bakery in Portland! That’s my favorite bakery back home, so I had a very good feeling about all these treats from that sign (plus the items themselves look incredible!).
Bake Me Happy is mostly the baking and retail space (no seating inside), so I took my food and headed back outside. I spent some time kind of awkwardly juggling the food to try and take a good picture of everything clearly. Finally I just sat it down on the sidewalk so as to not risk losing any of the items (though I totally would have employed the 10-second rule- or longer- if one of them did fall on the ground).
With both of Columbus’ gluten-free bakeries I was just so impressed with the appearance of all their treats. I feel like between taste, texture, and appearance for gluten-free items you have to compromise somewhere. Usually appearance is where you would compromise the most, which I have no problem with (taste and then texture is obviously most important). Luckily there really isn’t a compromise of the three with Bake Me Happy.
Since it was 10 in the morning and all of this was technically my breakfast for the day, I started with the savory scones. Oh man they were good. I should have seen if they could be heated up (which would have made them even more incredible), but it still was delicious just regular. They were that fine line of crisp and crunch on the outside and then crumbly on the inside (but not in a overdry way). The flavor was great. I obviously liked the ham and cheese flavor, but I also was very impressed with the strong flavor of the mustard one. Texture-wise it was just so perfect. I really don’t think a gluten eater would know it was gluten-free. For me who truly craves these types of savory baked goods, it almost makes me a little emotional. It is just so frigging awesome to have gluten-free food like this!
Next I moved on to the Spongie and Zebra Cake. The Spongie is a little bit denser than a regular Twinkie, but you still get that airy, fluffy cake feel. The density probably comes from the better quality ingredients and not so much artificial-ness. I would have liked a little bit more of the frosting in the middle (probably the other biggest difference from a Twinkie), but it made for a treat that wasn’t too sickenly rich. The sponge cake part of the Spongie was moist enough that it didn’t feel too dry with a smaller amount of frosting. The Zebra Cake was sort of similar to the Spongie in that there wasn’t a ton of frosting in the middle (I would say slightly more than the Spongie though), but it was balanced out by the hard frosting shell on the outside. I was glad I went for the Zebra Cake and its vanilla-ness. These sort of treats are ones I hadn’t tried much before (even cheating to try the gluten version), so I was happy to sample gluten-free versions.
At this point I was walking north towards the German Village. By the time I got to Schiller Park I was ready to do the Oatmeal Creme Cloud. As I explained above, I was very excited to try this one. It did not disappoint. There is slightly something to be said for the nostalgia of the artificial, manufactured-ness of the Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie. The Oatmeal Creme Cloud at Bake Me Happy is definitely not artificial or manufactured at all. That being said it’s an excellent, quality, “adult” version of the Oatmeal Creme Pie. It still has that gooey, soft, and moist texture where a bite just seems to melt in your mouth. The Oatmeal Cookie was very very good and complemented by the marshmallow filling. It was a good-sized cookie, but I finished it pretty quickly (channeling my younger Oatmeal Creme Pie days of stuffing it in my face).
At this point I needed a break. I also had forgotten to bring my water bottle and I was feeling a little bit desperate for some water to balance out all the sugar. I took a bite of the chocolate chip cookie and Blondie brownie to get the experience, but then saved them for later.
I was a big fan of the dark chocolate of the chocolate chip cookie combined with the sea salt. It gave the chocolate chip cookie more of a grown up feel, plus took advantage of the salty-sweet combination. Just looking again at the pic I was reminded how crispy it was and the sugary morsels of cookie dough, dark chocolate chips, and sea salt that crumble off in each bite.
I was feeling like I was at my limit after a bite of the chocolate chip cookie, but still wanted to try a bite of the Blondie bar just in case it melted or got messed up in my exploration of the German Village. I took a bite and despite being almost in a sugar coma I wanted more! I was really glad this was a Blondie bar and not a brownie. The flavors and textures seemed to be so much more complex than a brownie (in my opinion). The flavors all complemented each other well and didn’t compete, although I was glad the butterscotch came out very clearly.
I didn’t end up having a chance to eat the rest of the cookie or brownie that night before or after the wedding. Instead I ate them at 5 AM in the morning after only two or three hours of sleep as I went to catch my flight to San Francisco for Wedding #2 of the weekend. The fact I still loved the cookie and Blondie bar almost a day later and when I felt a little nauseous from no sleep is a big sign of how great they were. The Blondie bar especially I savored that early in the morning.
I am supremely jealous that Columbus has both Bake Me Happy AND Cherbourg Bakery. Both have done an excellent jobs of capturing the gluten-flavors and gluten-textures of many different baked goods. I also love that both have sweet and savory options. I will not be forced to recommend one over the other as that would be like having to pick a favorite child. I really think you should visit both and if you live in Columbus just alternate! The decision on which one to go to first I think you can base off the menu. Cherbourg has a lot of what I’ll describe as French/European baked goods (although Bake Me Happy has scones and some other similar items), while Bake Me Happy has more of the gluten-free Hostess/Little Debbie desserts. Both are excellent. I immensely enjoyed my visit to Bake Me Happy and know it is a MUST for gluten-frees in Columbus!
Bake Me Happy Gluten-Free Bakery- 116 E Moler St, Columbus, OH 43207