Crazy Good Bakery and Café opens in South Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Crazy Good Bakery and Café opens in South Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — A new bakery is open in town, and its name couldn't be more fitting.

Crazy Good Bakery and Café quietly opened its doors at the end of September near The Y in the location previously occupied by MoonHouse Brewhouse. With and overwhelmingly positive reception during the "soft opening," the business is holding an official grand opening this weekend serving up doughnuts, bagels, muffins, pies and more.

"It was great," owner Christine Andersen-Smith said in describing the first couple days officially in business. What made it great, she explained, was seeing customers who had followed the business to its official home.

While Crazy Good Bakery and Café is the new brick and mortar business, Andersen-Smith has been baking doughnuts and pies in her home and selling them at local farmers markets for the past two years. As she and her husband worked to complete the extensive work inside the building over the summer, word spread among the diehard customers.

"It was just so heartwarming," she said of seeing the regular customers who showed up that first weekend.

It was quite a process to get the location up and running, a process that took more than six months. The building was in deplorable shape when they first stepped in. Squatters had to be removed before the necessary repairs could be made.

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The final couple weeks were spent applying the finishing touches and dialing in the kitchen.

The inside of the building is colorful and inviting, with a '50s feel. That, Andersen-Smith, is by design. A rough review of the building's history in its current location dates back about 70 years.

Andersen-Smith wanted to stay true to the building, and her affinity for antiques and vintage items helped make that happen.

There are all kinds of old-school knick knacks throughout the cafe — so much so that there's actually a little shop area within in the building where Andersen-Smith plans to sell various items.

"I always loved antiques, collecting antiques, and I thought 'how cool to have a little section in here with a theme that we're going for because everything is homemade …"

Making it fresh

While a great deal of work went into crafting the appearance and atmosphere, it's the baked goods that truly make Crazy Good Bakery and Café crazy good.

Andersen-Smith credits the original idea back to her daughter who started working at a bakery in San Diego about three years ago. She encouraged her mother, who grew up cooking alongside her grandmother, to try it.

With the complication that accompanies baking at altitude, it took Andersen-Smith about a year to perfect her doughnut recipe, a concoction that includes sweet potatoes. While the ingredient might sound unusual, it's not unheard of. There are countless doughnut recipes online that include the vegetable.

The sweet potato adds more color to the inside of the doughnut while also contributing to the flavor and a texture that is practically perfect — moist and flavorful while striking a balance in density; not too light and airy, and not to heavy and chewy.

The glazes are made with fresh fruits and the toppings, while more traditional than experimental doughnut shops, are high quality and locally sourced as much as possible. That freshness comes through in sharp flavors that just aren't present with lesser ingredients. The explosive flavor in the blackberry doughnut will literally take you by surprise. The apple pie doughnut has fresh apples — from Apple Hill, Andersen-Smith said.

"We're making it fresh, and people can tell the difference," she added.

While the business started out with doughnuts and pies at the local farmers markets, the brick and mortar location has expanded the offerings. Some of the additions, such as bagels, came from customer requests.

The bagels are done right: boiled before baked. The jalapeño cheddar bagel is delicious. The vibrant green of the pepper screams fresh, you simply can't find that color in a can or a jar.

The sea salt bagel is another must try, although a cup of melted cheddar cheese might be more appropriate than cream cheese, as it's not hard to mistake the bagel for a giant soft serve pretzel.

The café also has scones, cupcakes, muffins, cookies, cakes, quiches and more. And they're not opposed to experimenting and trying new things, such as a doughnut ice cream sandwich — it's in the development stage.

Crazy Good Bakery and Café will celebrate with its grand opening this weekend. The business is located at 2040 Dunlap Drive. Visit crazygooddoughnuts.com for information.