When does a bakery stop being a bastion for brainlessly-baked biscuits bursting with butter and become something more? When you walk in under the little door chime that greets and sees off customers, how do you know if you’ve entered a store of respect and quality or slapdash sugar sweets? Well, one delicious example lies nestled in the heart of Costa Mesa.
Only three months old, The Queen’s Bakery has strutted onto the catwalk of Costa Mesa’s local hangouts and already made a decadent name for itself.
“There’s a lack of cute places like coffee shops in Orange County where people can sit down and have a tea, a pastry, a coffee,” said The Queen’s founder Kathy Maghbouleh, “while at the same time being able to relax and enjoy themselves. That’s one of the reasons I started thinking about opening a bakery.”
And yet, The Queen’s is so much more than just a local bakery. In its short existence, the bakery has already become a buzzing hub of activity for the local community.
“All the time, we try to get involved with our community,” Maghbouleh explained. “School activities, fundraisers, the cancer society, parents unable to pay for their kids’ education… they all have meetings and fundraisers at our store. We donate to them by helping with bake sales, giving them free sweets and special prizes they can sell and make money from. We also donate a portion of our sales to them. It’s important to us to help and support our community.”
And if you check out the caliber of sweets The Queen’s has to offer offer, it quickly becomes clear that the bakery isn’t thoughtlessly dishing out simple sugar cookies and brownies. The bakery’s website showcases everything from cream puffs to roulade to cake pops to seven different flavors of macaroon. The armory of cupcake flavors ranges from “Straight Chocolate” to stupefyingly intriguing flavors like “Chocolate Rosewater” and “Almond Amaretto.” The Queen’s even offers a separate tier of Seasonal Cupcakes like “Mojito,” “Orange Summer,” “Peppermint Cocoa” and “Bourbon Egg Nog.” The bakery also boasts a large and fanciful lunch menu that offers sandwiches like “Artichoke Fennel,” salads like “Poppy Seed Pear,” “Royal Hound” hot dogs and an array of eclectic house salad dressings in the league of “Pink Shallot Yogurt” and “Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette.” There is even a menu of teas, coffees, lattes, mochas and cream sodas. With choices like “Berry Faire” herbal tea, “Passionfruit Coconut” cream soda and “Honey Vanilla” coffee, your only problem will be deciding which exotic flavor you want to try.
And the cakes. Oh, the cakes.
From offering a five-layer arrangement alternating between red-flowered chocolate ivy on a vanilla base and white-pearled maroon collars to an autumnal decoration on a multiple layers to an edible display of two nuzzling penguins, the bakery makes the range of its pastry chef’s talents very clear. The cakes glow with their chef’s eye for care and intricate attention to style and detail. The level of texture and synchronicity in style on these cakes makes them look like something out of Cake Boss. The bakery also offers catering opportunities for every kind of occasion, from Bar Mitzvah to graduation.
Asked what her favorite part about running a bakery was, Maghbouleh gave the instant answer, “The look. It turned out very feminine. There is a great crowd of ladies coming in all the time. Really, it’s a woman’s bakery. Lots of pinks, yellows, lots of feminine colors in the bakery. We want a woman to feel like a queen, like royalty, so we give great service while they’re here.” The bakery’s décor is just that. Squat yellow armchairs framed with a dark wood, white-and-hot pink paisley sitting chairs, white-cushioned booths laced with a white-and-black paisley design… it all gives off an aura of regality that is sure to appeal to a woman’s decorative sensibilities.
The bakery also has a list of seven mottos it says it is sworn to by The Queen posted on its website. They are:
1 “Everything from scratch, all of the time.”
2 “No trans fats or hydrogenated oils
of any sort.”
3 “Pure cane sugar. Always.”
4 “No artificial flavors in our baking. Ever.”
5 “No ingredients with preservatives.”
6 “Fresh, baked daily bread and treats.”
7 “Always friendly, helpful people.”
“We make our chocolate raspberry from fresh raspberry,” Maghbouleh said. “Coconut cupcakes from real shredded coconut. We don’t use extracts or flavors; it’s the actual fruit and ingredient. Same with our salad dressings. We make them daily, gluten-free, with the finest balsamic vinegar, and the olive oil is very limited. It is all very healthy.
“We as women are always watching our weight,” Maghbouleh added. “We always have to ask the waiter what’s in our food and can they please leave out the croutons or chips. We’re tired of it. So, we do this.”
Maghbouleh is already looking to expand her business. A lot of women would like to have their own business, she said, but have no model or idea.
“This is a nice idea and brand,” she explained. “It’s so cute and popular. We’ve been holding lots of birthdays and bridal showers. For women who want their own business, we will open the store for them. It’s ready to go.”
When asked what makes their creations taste so good, bakers and mothers alike tend to hide their techniques by giving the groan-worthy answer, “The secret ingredient is love.” In the case of The Queen’s Bakery, though, it seems that love – at least for honorable baking techniques and for one’s community – really has been the secret ingredient to success.
More information on The Queen’s Bakery can be found at www.queensbakerycafe.com.