Whether you crave flourless chocolate cake, lemon meringue bars, quiches or buttery croissants, there’s a bakery on Cape Cod that caters to every taste bud.By Sarah Shemkus
Maybe your weakness is a chocolate chip cookie warm from the oven. Perhaps you prefer something lighter, like a crisp cloud of meringue or buttery, flaky croissants. Whatever your pastry preference, Cape Cod has a bakery that serves it up. The best bakeries in the region are an eclectic bunch. Some are French-inspired, featuring authentic European confections. Others specialize in breakfast treats or focus on exquisitely decorated cakes. Can’t decide what dessert direction sounds the most tempting? You can always try them all. What are you waiting for? Get going, there are éclairs waiting!
As the name of her shop suggests, pastry chef Danielle Nettleton approaches the craft of baking with a sense of playful whimsy. Nettleton trained in France, but brings an American sensibility to her fare—a combination that yields a roster of nearly irresistible treats that combine flavor and execution. The almond-encrusted croissant, Greek yogurt panna cotta topped with fresh berries and the “Brewster bun”—a sugar-coated, flaky creation—are among the standouts. If you want to do as the name of the bakery suggests, your choices include flourless chocolate cake, chocolate mousse cake, cheesecake and opera cake.
302 Underpass Road, Brewster, 508-896-4444
PB Boulangerie is tucked back off Route 6 in a modest little building that could easily escape notice. If you’re looking for it, though, just keep an eye out for the line of hungry customers snaking out the front door. Opened in 2010, the bakery and bistro was co-founded by Philippe Rispoli, a chef and baker who trained with some of the biggest names in French cooking. The result is an array of pastries and desserts that could just as easily be found in Paris: flaky pain au chocolat, tart and gorgeous lemon meringue bars, glossy brioche and airy macarons. If you want to give your sweet tooth a rest, browse the shelves of magnificent crusty loaves that line the wall and choose from a selection of traditional baguettes, cranberry pecan bread and blue cheese and walnut pavé.
15 Lecount Hollow Road, Wellfleet, 508-349-1600
Maison Villatte brings an authentic touch of France to Falmouth. Owner Boris Villatte was one of the founding bakers of Wellfleet’s PB Boulangerie, before deciding to open his own operation on the other end of the Cape. With French-born Villatte at the helm, the downtown bakery creates both crusty breads and tender pastries with equal flair. The extensive display cases hold shelves of glossy, fruit-topped tarts, cream-filled pastries and flaky croissants—plain for the purist, filled for those who want to indulge. Quiches and sandwiches add some savory options to the assortment of sweets. The loaves lined up behind the counter might include baguettes (of course), just-tangy-enough sourdough and hearty multigrain. Crowds line up at this local spot and popular items run out fast, so try to go as early in the day as possible.
267 Main St., Falmouth, 774-255-1855
Chocolate and vanilla are all well and good, but the eponymous owner of Becky’s Bakery has a few other flavors in mind. The cupcakes at the small Bourne establishment come in a rotating selection of creative and playful varieties, like lemon blueberry compote or salted caramel pretzel. If that’s not enough, the full-service bakery also makes muffins, cinnamon buns, bars and croissants both sweet and savory. Enjoy your treats with an iced coffee cooled—but not watered down—with coffee ice cubes. For the holidays, special order stollen or the signature fruitcake, which will make anyone a believer in this much-maligned dessert.
441 Shore Road, Monument Beach, 508-743-5762
Seventeen hours a day, 364 days a year, Pie in the Sky Bakery and Café serves up delectable baked goods to the residents, tourists and scientists of Woods Hole. And it’s a good thing the shop is almost always open: you’ll need plenty of time to work your way through the extensive selection of sweet and savory offerings. For breakfast or lunch, try a popover, a buttery croissant filled with linguica and cheese, or a sandwich on house-made bread. Want a sweet snack with your coffee? Choose from chewy chocolate bar cookies, fruit-filled pies and the bakery’s signature bread pudding with rum hard sauce. And if you’re still not finished, grab a loaf of sourdough or honey whole wheat bread to take home.
10 Water St., Woods Hole, 508-540-5475
For tasty treats with a side of history, you can’t beat Beth’s Bakery. The building that houses the bake shop dates to 1847, when it was built as a Puritan chapel. In the 1940s, it served as a USO hall. Today, current owners Beth and Joe Giampietro turn out decadent cupcakes, éclairs and cream puffs for a stream of locals and visitors. Custom cakes can be ordered in basics like vanilla and chocolate, or in more imaginative flavors such as spice cake, maple icing and raspberry mousse filling.
If you’re not ready for dessert, the bakery also offers breakfast (we recommend the scrambled egg wrap or the stuffed French toast panini) and sandwiches, soups and salads for lunch. No matter what you order, make time to relax and enjoy your purchases on the shady front porch or in the quaint garden area.
16 Jarves St., Sandwich, 508-888-7716
Great Island Bakery
Great Island Bakery takes the concept of daily bread very seriously. On Tuesdays, they bake up the Finnish cardamom bread known as nisu. On Fridays, the bakery prepares loaves of challah and on Saturdays, it’s anadama. And, since man cannot live on bread alone, Great Island also sells bread pudding, pie, croissants and crowd-favorite cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. The bakery is located off the main drag in a small, shingled building that was once the local post office; stop by on your way to the beach and they’ll send you off very well fed.
46 South St., South Yarmouth, 508-760-0007
Sure, there are cookies and brownies for sale, but Woolfie’s is really all about breakfast. Inside the red clapboard cottage, the Shadbegian family bakes up cinnamon swirl croissants, icing-encrusted donuts and fresh bread for egg and cheese sandwiches. Most people, however, come to Woolfie’s for the muffins. In flavors including blueberry coffee cake, cranberry orange and double chocolate chip, the muffins are tender, oversized and justly beloved by the bakery’s loyal customers. Grab a hot coffee or a cold brew iced coffee and start off your day with a leisurely breakfast on the shop’s shaded front lawn. Opened in the 1960s, the bakery features recipes that have been handed down throughout the years as well as newer confections added by the latest owners.
279 Lower County Road, Dennisport, 508-258-9980
Provincetown Portuguese Bakery
In a town known for its flamboyance, the Provincetown Portuguese Bakery offers something a little different: simple tradition. The bakery, thought to have been in operation for more than 100 years, features traditional Portuguese recipes passed down through the years. The pasteis de nata is a crisp tart shell filled with a luscious egg custard. The malasada is a slab of deep-fried dough dusted with sugar; it elevates a favorite carnival treat to an entirely new level. The bolas de Berlim are custard-filled doughnuts that put the treats from chain doughnut shops to shame.
The bakery also offers confections without Portuguese roots—tiramisu, chocolate croissants and éclairs—but focuses on the Portuguese specialties to provide the most authentic experience.
299 Commercial St., Provincetown, 508-487-1803
Whether you want to score a quick and casual breakfast or order an elaborately decorated birthday cake, the Cottage Street Bakery is the spot you want. The bakery’s signature item is the “dirt bomb,” a confection that tastes far more delightful than its name suggests. Part doughnut and part muffin, the dirt bomb is lightly spiced and coated in melted butter and cinnamon sugar. Twice. If that’s not enough to tempt you, check out their selection of muffins, scones, danishes, sticky buns and brownies.
For special events, Cottage Street also offers personalized cakes in traditional gold vanilla, white almond and chocolate, with fillings from basic buttercream to fresh berries and pastry cream. Detailed, delicate decorations top off these custom confections.
5 Cottage St., Orleans, 508-255-2821