Yesterday, a busy afternoon meant missing the Queen Anne Farmers Market for the first time since it opened this year, so without seasonal berries or cherries at hand, the evening’s treat was a stop at Hiroki—the Tangletown bakery near Kisaku, one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle. Hiroki Inoue is the master baker at this little shop were you can sit down to tea or an espresso, or just get your fresh-baked goodies to go. And with advanced notice, Hiroki can custom-make desserts for your special event.
Offerings can change, but there are always tantalizing slices of cakes, pies and breads along with pastries and cookies; sometimes you can score some scones, muffins, and rolls. The display case is quite colorful, with a cassis mousse torte capturing my attention most of all. But I decided to ask Hiroki to choose for me. First he recommended his signature green tea tiramisu, but when I told him I’d already enjoyed that in the past, he suggested giving the soufflé cheesecake a try. Many of Hiroki’s desserts are a fusion of Japanese and European, and the soufflé cheesecake, he explained, is particularly popular with his Japanese customers—reminding them of home. In contrast to rich and creamy New York-style cheesecake, this version is baked light and fluffy, with a chiffon bottom and apricot glaze atop. Like many of his desserts, it’s not too sweet, but still tasty. You can watch Hiroki make the soufflé cheesecake online, or steal peeks through the kitchen windows at the bakery, just like I did during my stay.
Hiroki works long days, bouncing back-and-forth between the kitchen and the counter. His inspiration for baking? “It’s a challenge to make people happy twice,” he said, explaining that he likes to bring a smile to the face of his customers (he has many regulars) when they realize that even after a great lunch or dinner, there’s room for one more delicious dish. Hiroki is proudly involved with the community, donating desserts for good causes and allowing artists to exhibit in his bakery; word is there’s a fine art opening there this very evening.
Hiroki // 2224 N 56th St, Seattle // 206-547-4128