Italian Cream Cake

This Italian Cream Cake has three light, buttery sponge cake rounds layered with vanilla pastry cream and conserve and is frosted with sweetened whipped cream. Choose your favorite jam or conserve. Raspberry and blackberry are two of our favorites. You’ll enjoy this cake the first day, but don’t feel like you need to finish it—it’s even better the second day as the sponge cake moistens absorbing the pastry cream and conserve. Keep the cake refrigerated and it’ll keep for up to five days.


Makes one 9-inch cake

1⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp (¾ stick) unsalted butter
⅓ cup water
1½ cups sugar, divided
3 eggs, beaten
3½ tsp pure vanilla extract, divided
1 cup favorite jam or fruit conserve
1½ cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp powdered sugar

4 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cornstarch
½ cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
1½ cups milk


Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush a 9-inch cake pan with oil and line the base with a custom-cut circle of parchment paper. Dust the oiled sides of the pan with flour. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the water, mix, and let cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add 1¼ cups sugar. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the eggs and 2 tsp vanilla. Whisk at high speed for 5 minutes. The mixture will be light in color and frothy.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture in 4 additions. With the last addition, add the butter mixture and stir until just combined, ensuring there are no lumps.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the center rack for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edge of the cake. Invert the pan to remove the sponge cake. Let cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, crack the eggs and whisk together with the vanilla, cornstarch and sugar. Ensure no lumps remain.

In a medium saucepan, scald the milk (bringing it just to a boil). Remove it from the heat and slowly ladle the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer the egg mixture back to the saucepan when you have three-quarters of the milk whisked into it. Over medium-low heat, whisk the mixture to prevent it from sticking or curdling. When the mixture has thickened to a pudding-like consistency, pour it into a clean bowl. Cover the top of the pastry cream with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Note: If you spot any lumps in the pastry cream, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve before cooling it.

Using a serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into 3 equal layers.

Place the bottom layer on a prepared cake board or plate. Spread the conserves over the first layer. Top with the second layer. Spread the chilled pastry cream to the edges. Top with the remaining layer and gently align the edges. Refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes to firm it up.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the heavy cream, remaining 1½ tsp vanilla and remaining ¼cup sugar. Whip to medium-firm peaks.

Cover the top and sides of the cake with the sweetened whipped cream. Use a wet spatula to smooth it out. Garnish the top of the cake with a dusting of powdered sugar and fresh berries if you’d like.


Going (and Staying) Viral: Market’s Lobster Roll is the Hottest Sandwich Sensation in Town

The Edmonds Fishmonger and Eatery just opened an outpost in the Seattle Art Museum. 

Last October, amid the pandemic and the election swirl, Market, Edmond’s revered Fishmonger and Eatery, introduced their warm Lobster Roll (Connecticut Style). At $29 per sandwich, it seemed destined to be a niche item behind mainstays like their more modestly priced Fish & Chips, Market Fish Tacos, or Crab in a Bag. Then people began lining up—by the hundreds.

What’s maybe craziest about the sensation is that nearly a year later the craze hasn’t abated. The hole-in-the-wall fishmonger still sells hundreds of lobster and crab rolls every week.

Chef Hans Korompis, raised in Singapore and trained at several fine restaurants, including TanakaSan, a Tom Douglas restaurant, says, “We caught wind when we introduced the warm lobster roll. That’s when it got crazy.”

With lobster being flown in daily by Inland Lobster, located in Portland, Maine, it wasn’t easy keeping up with demand. “We would run out in the beginning, and we had to eighty-six the sandwich,” says Hans. “But now we know about how much we need for each day.”

Having consistent demand on both weekends and weekdays makes that much easier. There are fluctuations, like the Tik-Tok video last March that amassed over 200,000 views, or the post to Seattle Foodies on Facebook with its 26,000 members. But for the most part, demand spiked and never subsided.

Market’s lobster rolls are served two ways, cold (Maine) or warm (Connecticut). The essential ingredient, in both cases, is a healthy portion of really fresh lobster, including both claw and tail meat. The roll is Macrina’s Brioche Roll, brushed with house aioli and crisped. The warm version features lobster warmed in garlic butter, Old Bay Seasoning, and fresh chives. The cold version has a cold lobster salad with brown butter topped with chopped celery, gherkins, and Old Bay Seasoning. Both are served with fries and housemade tartar sauce.

The Dungeness Crab Roll, also $29, is nearly as popular as the lobster rolls. Local Dungeness crab meat is tossed in brown butter and served on a crisped Macrina Brioche Roll and sprinkled Old Bay Seasoning and chives.

Market’s Fish & Chips may not be the item everyone is talking about right now, but they’re worth seeking out. Local rockfish is beer-battered and served perfectly crisped and not at all soggy with oil. They’re served with fries, lemon, housemade tartar and minty mushy peas. “We make them the traditional British way on that fish,” says Hans. “They’ve been doing it for a long time. We respect that, and it makes sense.”

Seattle-based seafood lovers can now skip the drive north and head to their new outpost in the Seattle Art Museum. Located in the space formerly occupied by Taste, Market Seattle serves a very similar menu but has added banh mi served on Macrina’s Bui Buns, and Macrina pastries, among a few other new offerings. There is also a full bar featuring both draft beer and wine. The restaurant seats approximately 60 people.

Market is part of the Feedme Hospitality and Restaurant Group that includes, among others, the celebrated Edmonds restaurants Salt & Iron, Fire & the Feast, Bar Dojo, and SanKai Sushi. In addition to the restaurant, Market Seattle provides catering services at the downtown museum, the Olympic Sculpture Park and the Asian Art Museum.

Macrina in the Community

St. Macrina, our patron saint, was known for working to improve the quality of life for people in her community, and we strive to do the same. On our first Thanksgiving, back in 1993, Leslie brought some extra loaves to the Noel House, which was located in a nearby alley. “The ladies there were so appreciative of the fresh baked bread it brought me to tears,” says Leslie. Our mantra became that of St. Macrina.

We enrich our communities through the joy of artisan baking, but we also donate directly to non-profit organizations that do outstanding work supporting members of our community. Our employees frequently join us in donating, and we match each of their donations.

As part of our celebration of Juneteenth, we donated $2,500 (including matched donations from employees) to Community Passageways. In September, we are donating $2,000–$3,000 to three additional local community organizations including: Helping Link, Plymouth Housing, and St. James Cathedral Kitchen. Here’s a bit more about these incredible organizations:

Community Passageways

This community-based, black-run, black-owned organization was founded in 2015 by Dominique (Dom) Davis. They work primarily with court-involved young people of color and help break the school-to-prison cycle with a school-to-life pathway by restoring lives, nurturing dreams, and developing life skills. In the last five years, Dom and his team have helped divert over 120 years of prison sentences.

Helping Link

Since its founding in 1993, Helping Link has supported our local Vietnamese community with free services and programs such as citizenship classes, a computer lab, English classes, and much more. They help foster cultural resilience and empower members to celebrate their histories and traditions.

Plymouth Housing

Since 1980, Plymouth Housing has helped Seattle break the cycle of chronic homelessness by providing adults experiencing homelessness with opportunities to stabilize and improve their lives. Plymouth follows the “Housing First” philosophy, operating on the principle that people cannot improve their lives until they have a safe, stable place to live. Plymouth owns and operates 14 buildings, both renovated historic properties and new construction, from South Lake Union to the International District. In the coming years, Plymouth plans to build an additional 800 apartments.

St. James Cathedral Kitchen

The Cathedral Kitchen feeds a nourishing, hot meal to 150 guests on Seattle’s First Hill every weekday. They serve anyone in need, regardless of age, gender, or creed. Throughout the pandemic, out of concern for their guests, they switched to to-go dinners and a bagged lunch their guests could eat the next day while still providing a limited number of physically-distanced tables for those needing a moment of shelter.

In addition, Macrina donates thousands of pounds of bread and pastries to local organizations that help feed those in need, including The Salvation Army, Alma Mater in Tacoma, El Centro de la Raza. Over the next few weeks, we’re also donating over 300 meals to Helping Link and St. James for fundraising events.

“Donating to these organizations is just one way Macrina supports our communities and works to better achieve our mission,” says Scott France, Macrina’s President.

Pecan Sticky Buns

Perhaps no pastry requires more napkins or inspires cravings more than homemade pecan sticky buns. They’re warm, gooey and soft in all the right places—and absolutely delicious.

After years of customer requests, we’re launching our own based on Leslie’s recipe for her homemade brunch favorite. We make them by layering our slightly sweet and pillowy brioche dough with toasted pecans and cinnamon sugar, tightly rolling it, then baking it upside down on a rich brown sugar and butter caramel with orange zest and vanilla. We invert the rolls while still warm, causing deep swirls of caramel to run through the bun leaving the pecans gooey and proud on top.

The silky not-too-sweet roll has a light, tender crumb that provides a divine contrast to the toffee-like caramel and crunch of toasted pecans.

The Pecan Sticky Buns are available individually in our retail cafés and as a four-pack. They are best served warm (5–8 minutes in a 325°F oven).

Spice Blade Steak & Cauliflower Salad with Tzatziki Sauce & Grilled Olive Bread

During the long PNW summer days, our favorite cooking method is outdoor grilling. Cut from the chuck (shoulder), the blade steak has excellent marbling and is flavorful and tender. A line of gristle runs down the center, so it’s important not to overcook it, otherwise it will get chewy. If you use an instant-read meat thermometer and are attentive, you’ll fall in love with blade steak. In this recipe, we prepare the steak with a Shawarma spice dry rub a day in advance. Since you can prepare the rest of the meal ahead, you only need to grill the steak and bread and assemble the plates when it’s time to eat. If you can, enjoy the meal with a glass of your favorite wine, a few friends and the rich light of a long summer evening.


Serves 4

2 Tbsp Shawarma Spice Blend, ground (available at
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1½ lbs top blade steak (or sub flat-iron steak)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 head cauliflower
2 bunches scallions, ½-inch slice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp garlic, finely chopped, divided
½ cup tahini
½ cup water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp pomegranate molasses
1 Tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

2 cups Greek yogurt (preferably low-fat)
1 English cucumber, finely diced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lime juice
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp white pepper, ground
1 Macrina Greek Olive Loaf, sliced ½-inch thick (8 slices)


Combine the dry ingredients. Rub the mix into both sides of the meat. Drizzle with olive oil and use your fingers to rub it over the meat. Place the meat in a covered container and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Halve the cauliflower and remove the core; coarsely chop or break it into 1 to 2-inch florets. Place the florets in a large bowl and toss with the scallions, olive oil and 2 tsp garlic. Spread the florets on the prepared baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender. Let cool.

In the same large bowl, add the remaining 1 tsp garlic, tahini, water, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses. Whisk to combine.

Add the roasted cauliflower, mint and cilantro to the dressing. Toss well.

If you wish, season to taste with salt and pepper. Once dressed, allow the salad to rest at room temperature to marry flavors before serving.

In a separate bowl, add the yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Refrigerate until needed.

Preheat your grill to 500°F. Brush a bit of oil on the hot grill to help prevent the spice rub from sticking.

Grill the blade steak for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to monitor the temperature. Remove the steak from the grill at 130°F for medium-rare. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly.

While the steak is resting, grill the bread. Brush both sides of each slice with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted and marked with grill lines. Place 2 slices on each plate. Divide the cauliflower salad among the plates, top each with a portion of the sliced steak and a generous dollop of tzatziki. Enjoy!

Shrimp & Crab Salad Lobster Roll Sandwich

Macrina’s Lobster Rolls are the perfect bun for a summer seafood sandwich or grilled sausage with caramelized onions and peppers. No matter how you fill these rolls, the key is to butter and grill or sauté the sides to caramelize the bread and warm it through.


Makes 4 sandwiches

6 cups water
2 Tbsp kosher salt
1¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, divided
1 lb frozen shrimp, 16–20 size, (deveined, shell on)
8 oz fresh crab meat, cooked
2 ribs celery, medium dice
2 tsp capers, chopped
3 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
3 tsp shallots, finely chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 Macrina Lobster Rolls


In a medium saucepan, add the water, salt and 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Add the frozen shrimp and bring back to a boil, cooking for 3–4 minutes or until the shrimp are just cooked through.

Strain the shrimp and transfer to a bowl. Quickly cover with ice cubes to stop the cooking process. Toss and let cool for 10 minutes.

Peel the shrimp and coarsely chop them in ½-inch pieces.

In a medium bowl, add the diced celery, capers, tarragon, shallots, remaining ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Mix well. Add the crab and chopped shrimp. Stir to combine.

Cut a pocket into the top of each Lobster Roll. Brush with butter and grill or pan sauté on both sides to caramelize the bread and warm it through. Put an equal portion of the shrimp and crab salad into the pocket of each roll. Serve with your favorite chips or green salad.


Darker Crust, Exceptional Flavor

Flour, yeast, water, salt. That’s it. And yet, so many varieties of bread. We’ve been experimenting with these four essential ingredients—plus time, temperature and technique—ever since we first hung a Macrina Bakery sign over the door of our original bakery and café in Belltown in 1993. That’s a lot of loaves, a great many early mornings, a mountain of flour. The one constant: our desire to make great bread.

And that means never losing your sense of wonder over the marvel that is bread.

Increasingly, we’ve added wheat from local farmers. Cairnspring Mills in nearby Skagit Valley mills it to our specifications. We’ve spent some time exploring how hydration and fermentation impact different flours and have enjoyed the results of recent bread additions to our offerings. Beginning July 15, we will bake many of our loaves at a higher temperature. The deep caramelization of the crust adds a depth of flavor that you can’t get any other way. The higher oven temperature also produces a creamier crumb and a crackly crust. The moist interior also helps the bread keep better.

When Macrina Bakery first opened, we had a small four-door electric Bongard oven. Now we have much bigger ovens and many more loaves to bake. But Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder, and Head Baker Phuong Bui, who has been with us since that first year, still oversee every element of our production. It’s fun to see them so excited about a loaf of bread, the way the crust crackles when you break into it, the texture of the crumb, and what one can do with just four simple ingredients.

Brown Sugar Raspberry Almond Coffee Cake

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There are many reasons to live for raspberry season, and this is one of them. The moist tender crumb has that buttery brown sugar sweetness, which finds its complement in the refreshing tart flavor of the raspberries. The recipe comes together quickly and your house will smell wonderful while it’s baking. The raspberry glaze and topping of chopped roasted almonds make it a beautiful treat for brunch or dessert.


Makes one 9-inch x 5-inch loaf

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cups almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped; divided
6 oz (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1¼ cup milk
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (frozen will also work)

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp raspberry jam



Preheat oven to 325°F

Prepare a 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan by brushing the interior with oil. Cut a 10-inch x 9-inch piece of parchment paper and press it into the pan to prevent sticking.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add ½ cup almonds and toss with a spoon to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the butter and brown sugar. With a paddle attachment, mix on medium-low speed until light in texture and pale in color, about 4 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, almond and vanilla extracts; mix well. Add the egg mixture to the creamed butter in 3 additions. Incorporate the liquid before each addition. Lower the bowl, scrape the sides and paddle, and mix again to incorporate everything.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk to the mixer bowl, making 3 additions of each. Lower the bowl, scrape the sides and paddle, and mix again to incorporate everything. Add the raspberries and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.

Scoop the mix into the prepared loaf pan and level the top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cake will be golden brown.

Let cool for 1 hour.


Combine the powdered sugar, milk and raspberry jam. Whisk to dissolve all lumps. If the glaze is not pourable, add a dash more milk.

Remove the coffee cake from the pan and place it on a serving plate. Pour the raspberry glaze over the top and garnish the center length of the loaf with the remaining almonds. Enjoy!


June Recipe of the Month: Summer Berry Tartlets

Summer Berry Tartlets

This recipe—inspired by Dorie Greenspan—is an adaptation from the Summer Berry Galette recipe in our Seasons cookbook. The Pacific Northwest is a berry lover’s dream in the summer. You can usually find tender freshly picked strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries in farmers markets throughout the season. These tartlets are an elegant showcase for the fruit. The sweet creaminess of the custard is the perfect complement to the tart berries. This recipe calls for strawberries and blueberries, but use whatever berries look best when you shop and adapt the recipe accordingly. Macrina’s Flaky Pie Dough disks, available frozen in our cafés (and convenient to have on hand in your freezer), save you a lot of time and simplify your work in the kitchen.

-Leslie Mackie

Serves 4

1 disc Macrina Flaky Pie Dough (available frozen at our cafés in 2-packs)
10 strawberries, divided
4 Tbsp strawberry or blueberry jam
4 Tbsp breadcrumbs
1½ cups fresh blueberries, divided
2 eggs, divided
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
⅓ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp powdered sugar


Thaw 1 disk of Macrina Flaky Pie Dough overnight in the refrigerator. Set the dough on a floured work surface and allow it to come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

De-stem 8 strawberries and dice into ½-inch pieces. Set aside.

Shape the pie dough into a square. Roll it out to 14 x 14-inches, it should be about ⅛-inch thick. Cut into four equal squares.

Lift each dough square onto the prepared baking sheet, staggering them to form the tartlets. Place 1 Tbsp of jam in the center of each pastry square and spread to a 4-inch square. Top each with 1 Tbsp of breadcrumbs, ⅓ cup blueberries and a quarter of the diced strawberries.

Make an egg wash by whisking 1 egg with 1 Tbsp water.

Starting with one dough square, cut a 2-inch square from each corner. Fold the top flap over the fruit and brush with egg wash. Next, fold the right flap over the fruit, creating a corner, and brush that flap with egg wash. Repeat this process with the bottom and left sides so you have a square tartlet with an opening in the center. Brush all the dough with a final coat of egg wash. Repeat the entire process with the other 3 squares of dough. Refrigerate the tartlets for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

To prepare the custard, mix the melted butter, remaining egg, sugar and vanilla extract together.

Place the chilled tartlets in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour the custard mix onto the top of each tartlet center. Let it drain into the tartlet before adding more to prevent it from spilling out. Bake until golden brown and the custard is set, another 10 to 15 minutes.

Let cool for 30 minutes and garnish each with half a strawberry and a few blueberries. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy at room temperature served with ice cream or frozen yogurt!

Printable PDF here.

Sugee’s Box Lunch Company: A Family Affair 

When Sugee’s opened, Microsoft had been in Bellevue for three years and employed 220 people. Since that date in 1982, Microsoft and the Eastside have grown enormously, and Sugee’s has been right there in the thick of it making dependably fabulous food at great prices. That Sugee’s is closing in on forty in a very competitive market is a testament to the loyal following they’ve built one carefully prepared meal at a time.

Sugee’s, a family-owned catering company, specializes in box lunches available for pick-up or delivery. The quality of their ingredients is what makes their handcrafted sandwiches so memorable. They roast many of their meats in-house, which is why their turkey sandwich will remind you of Thanksgiving. The quality of their house-roasted corned beef shines in their grilled-to-perfection Reuben. The roast beef, ham, chicken, and bacon are also custom roasted in their kitchen. You can taste the freshness of their chicken, tuna, and egg salads, which are scratch-made every day from recipes that have stood the test of time (and earned legions of fans). Every box lunch comes with a bag of Tim’s chips, a pickle, and an unbelievably good chocolate chip cookie.

“The specialness of the cookies is in the time and quality that go into the small-batch mix,” says Pat Amador, who along with fellow owner and partner Richard, founded Sugee’s. “Richard’s famous cookies are handcrafted and baked as needed for the day, sometimes hour by hour. We use Guittard chocolate in our products, sweet butter and real vanilla.” Their now-adult children, Jason and Jaime, grew up working long hours at Sugee’s. Jason has stayed involved in operations (Jaime, with her husband Paul, owns Classic Cycles on Bainbridge Island).

Most of Sugee’s delivery is to the Eastside, but they also deliver throughout the greater Seattle area. Customers in Bellevue should allow four hours for delivery. A day’s notice is required for customers outside Bellevue, although Sugee’s will accommodate same-day deliveries if possible.

Over the years, Sugee’s has been involved in many of Seattle’s iconic events—including Summer Nights at the Pier, Bumbershoot, and Folk Life. They’ve also supplied desserts to Nordstrom, the Space Needle, and the legendary Trattoria Mitchelli, where many a late-night diner delighted in the quality of Sugee’s cheesecakes.

Sugee’s used to bake their own bread but switched to Macrina several years ago. “We started with Macrina when we found we couldn’t handle our bread production due to the volume,” says Pat. “Macrina’s sourdough is consistently great, the Bui buns are crackly and fresh and getting more popular with our Italianos and hot stuff, and the rolls and brioche are capable of handling all sandwiches. It’s been a great partnership.”