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Food & Drink

The 6 Best Bakery Pop-Ups in the Twin Cities

From apple cinnamon rolls to zucchini goat cheese puff pastries, these are the pop-ups to hunt down.

Quiet Cat Bakery

If you're craving a flaky croissant or sugary cookie, you don't have to go to a bakery to get one. Bakers have been popping up in the Twin Cities at local farmers' markets, vintage fairs, and coffee shops, selling their goods without having their own dedicated retail space. 

Minnesota's cottage food license allows for more flexibility in where and when these talented bakers can share their wares. For some, this can be advantageous because they can go anywhere in the state to make connections through food. For others, pop-ups are a great way to make some extra money on the side and start saving up for a brick-and-mortar store of their own.

And for the rest of us? We can pop into a local gift shop on a Saturday morning and leave with a decadent treat in hand.

If you haven't seen them around town, here (in this humble writer/food lover's opinion) are the best bakery pop-ups in the Twin Cities. 

Rose pistachio cookies and BB honey pistachio bars from Quiet Cat, a Bench Pressed regularQuiet Cat Bakery

Quiet Cat Bakery

Who: Zainab Youngmark, a Black, Muslim woman, has been the proud owner and operator of Quiet Cat Bakery for over five years.

Though Youngmark conceptualizes, bakes, and coordinates all orders, she is lovingly supported by her parents and siblings, who assist with packaging and attending markets.

Another important member of the team? The Quiet Cat namesake, Honey the Cat. “Though she doesn’t help me in the kitchen, she is definitely my moral support and tries her best to get me to bed at a decent hour,” Youngmark says.

What: Youngmark’s monthly, rotating dessert menu features a variety of cookies, bars, and tarts inspired by the changing seasons and abundance of seasonal ingredients, such as Earl Grey Caramel Sugar Cookies for the winter months or Kumquat Almond Tarts in the spring. She also accepts catering orders and commissions requests for custom cakes—just check out this gorgeous floral wedding cake and delectable dessert spread.

Where and When: Order ahead on the Quiet Cat Bakery website for weekly pick-ups or try your luck by visiting Bench Pressed in Seward on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. (Youngmark asks for at least two weeks notice for custom cake orders, so plan accordingly!) You can also check out the Quiet Cat Instagram for other pop-up locations.

Can’t Miss Treat: Youngmark hasn’t shared her summer menu yet, but we have the inside scoop that her crowd-pleasing s’mores cookies will be available very soon. 

Sweet treats from Fruit & GrainFruit & Grain Bakery

Fruit & Grain Bakery

Who: Emily Lauer, owner and head baker of Fruit & Grain Bakery since 2018, works alongside a small one- or two-person team, plus brother Sam Lauer and their parents, Suzanne and Tim.

What: Fruit & Grain Bakery is best known for gourmet, handmade pop tarts with flavors such as passionfruit curd and blueberry, cheesecake, and mango margarita (the latter is made specially for the new Sunbean Coffee in Nokomis). They also serve up savory hand pies, cookies, tea cakes and more. Sam works on most of the savory dishes—including dad’s family recipe matzo ball soup, as well as house made “Sam’s Zhug,” an herbaceous hot sauce.

Where and When: You can enjoy Fruit & Grain treats at Sunbean Coffee, Makwa Coffee, Curioso, and St. Paul Bagelry in Roseville, as well as at the Northeast Farmers Market every Saturday and the Kingfield Farmers Market every Sunday this summer. You can also catch them at a variety of pop-ups around the cities, which are announced on Instagram

Can’t Miss Treat: You really ought to get your hands on a gourmet pop tart of any flavor, though Lauer also highly recommends the salted honey pie and chocolate chunk tahini cookies (excuse me while I wipe away the drool). 

Dahlia's lox donut... heaven.

Dahlia

Who: Pastry chef Alex Althoff, savory chef Nat Moser, and brand/operations manager Sarah Julson have owned and operated Dahlia for about a year and a half. That seems like an impossibly short time, considering they’ve already made such a substantial impact in the Twin Cities food scene—collaborating with local favorites such as Northeast’s Nixta and Marty’s Deli (both pop-ups that opened brick and mortars, as Dahlia hopes to do someday too.)

What: Dahlia specializes in laminated pastries, those delightfully buttery, flaky treats that melt in your mouth; breads, including spongy focaccia and English muffins; and out-of-this-world desserts like donuts, cookies, pies, and cakes. Lox donuts with a cured salmon cream cheese spread and pickled red onions, apple pie snickerdoodle cookies topped with cinnamon streusel, and yuzu blueberry cruffins (that’s a croissant muffin hybrid) are just some of the incredible concoctions you’ll find at Dahlia.

Where and When: Dahlia hosts at least one pop-up a week at rotating spots in the Twin Cities, primarily at Nixta, Northerly Flora, and Wild Grind, though the best way to keep up with the trio is to follow on Instagram. They also offer some truly stunning and unique custom cakes if you order well in advance.

Can’t Miss Treat: Dahlia is best known for their brunch pop-ups and the team recommends starting there if you’re a newcomer—try the egg, cheese, and housemade sausage breakfast sandwich and a brown butter donut. This writer recommends the bloody mary croissant: a sourdough croissant topped with bloody mary tomato jam, cheese curds, and all the fixins.

The salted ‘n’ malted chocolate chip cookies from Bakery Box

Bakery Box

Who: Abby—disabled, queer, anti-Zionist Jew and self-taught baker extraordinaire—has been running the show at Bakery Box since 2017. They develop and create all the pastries, post all social media content, and coordinate mask-required pickups right from their porch window, with an assist from their partner Ry, who offers masked and no-contact deliveries.

What: Fluffy, pillowy yeasted dough pastries, including brown-butter glazed cinnamon buns, sweet and savory rugelach, and rose-almond bostock. Bakery Box also offers vegan options of cinnamon buns and bostock, as well as salted ‘n’ malted chocolate chip cookies and vegan citrus-ginger cookies.

The real crown jewel is the most gorgeous golden brown challah you’ve ever seen, made with local eggs, honey, and Palestinian olive oil. Abby calls this hand-mixed challah “a labor of love” and has found it a great way to connect with the local anti-Zionist Jewish community. If you follow Bakery Box on Instagram, you won't just get pictures of delicious glazed cinnamon buns and cookies—you'll also see calls to action like this fundraiser for a Palestinian family in Minneapolis that's organizing to evacuate their family in Gaza.

Where and When: Bakery Box is most known for “Sunday Bun Day,” on which Abby stocks up on both traditional and vegan options of the brown-butter glazed cinnamon buns. But the best way to stay on top of their upcoming bakes is to sign up for the Bakery Box email list and be the first to know when pre-orders open; remember, you’ve gotta order ahead if you’re looking to pick up some delicious confections!

Can’t Miss Treat: Abby took a poll of friends, and the unanimous answer: the brown-butter-glazed cinnamon buns, especially the vegan version. This writer’s opinion? Get your hands on the savory rugelach, made with gruyere, apple, pickled red onion, and pickled mustard seed.

Don't sleep on Eat Me's cardamom bunsEat Me Bakery

Eat Me Bakery

Who: Kelsey Endres was a veterinarian for more than seven years when she began Eat Me Bakery as a part-time endeavor in 2019. But since July 2022, Eat Me Bakery has been her full-time gig. Endres credits her success to the support of her partner Ty, who's always down to help tackle dishes, and her friend Jenna, who you may see manning the Eat Me Bakery booth at markets.

What: Eat Me Bakery is most known for their custom decorated cakes, especially in the vintage heart/lambeth style—an ornate, frilly, decorative style developed in 1934 that has quickly grown in popularity over the past few years. Endres also loves to flex her fine art degree with stunning palette knife-painted floral cakes that truly look too beautiful to eat. If you’d like to learn how to decorate cakes as skillfully as Endres, sign up for one of her decorating classes at bakehouse.Outside of custom cakes, Endres also offers the ever-popular cardamom buns, mini bundt cakes in seasonal flavors like basil or peach, cookies sandwiched with homemade buttercream, and loaf cakes.

Where and When: Though Endres hopes to find a suitable brick-and-mortar spot some day, you can find Eat Me Bakery at the Kingfield and Northeast Farmers Markets this summer, as well as several pop-up maker’s markets around the Twin Cities. For an exhaustive list of their market dates, check out their website. Custom orders are also available year-round if you’re looking to order for a special occasion or just a midweek pick-me-up.

Can’t Miss Treat: The cardamom buns are by far the most popular treat from each week—be sure to grab a coffee and visit the booth early on before they sell out!

Vegan banana cream donuts you'll have to taste to believe.RachCakes

RachCakes Vegan Baking

Who: Rachel Kalsow has been flying solo at RachCakes since 2019, though she attributes her early success to her parents, who helped buy ingredients and even loaned out their kitchen for her use. Kalsow also credits her “unofficial, unpaid employee” and partner Cameron, who helps with loading and unloading for markets, idea brainstorming, and being an all-around cheerleader and supporter.

What: RachCakes is a 100% vegan bakery known best for their donuts, like their absolutely decadent banana cream donuts, and stuffed cookies, like the Biscoff cookie butter stuffed cookies. If you’re a fan of cookie butter, make sure you also check out RachCakes' banana chocolate cookie butter puff pastries (say that five times fast).

Other highlights from RachCakes’ catalog: catering treats, including a full wedding spread with both custom cupcakes and a full tiered wedding cake, and holiday lefse. (Kalsow says customers will drive up to four hours just to get their hands on her veganized version of her great grandma’s recipe.)

In addition to slinging plant-based sweet treats, RachCakes also holds a yearly Easter basket fundraiser for a different local sanctuary. This past Easter, RachCakes raised money for Farmaste Animal Sanctuary by selling baskets filled with cake jars, Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies, and candy, as well as the classic layered carrot cake.

Where and When: You can find RachCakes at the Plant Based Pop Up Market at Hi Flora! on the second and fourth Sunday of each month from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Follow RachCakes on Instagram for other pop-up locations and times or email for custom orders.

Can’t Miss Treat: The ooey gooey, melt in your mouth Biscoff cookie butter stuffed cookies—a fan favorite—or any of these beautifully golden brown donuts.

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