No matter where you live, or where you stay, on Maui you have got to shake a tail feather and make your way to Maui Sugar Shop. Located in Lahaina, this adorable bakery serves up astoundingly delicious baked goods and sweets. Go ahead and throw away any food guilt you may have before coming in because you won’t need it. Cynthia and Zane Monteleone are proud to bake not only gluten-free, but organic, non-GMO, soy-free, artificial dye-free, and many times vegan, bakery items from their infamous whoopee pies to highly inventive cupcakes and quiches. They’re even getting ready to launch their own baking blends for you to use in your own home.
These folks know what’s on trend. From the styling of their brick and mortar shop (adorable pallet project tables and chairs, cheerful paint colors, and chalk boards that look like they should be on Pinterest!), to the flavors and decoration of their cakes these folks are right on trend!
I finally found the time to head on over last week. I took Devin along since he knows his way around sweet stuff. I’d already let Cynthia and Zane know I’d be popping by to meet them, and their pastries. I don’t usually give notice before I go try out a new place as I want the same experience as everyone else, but I really wanted to meet these two who are making gluten-free history on Maui. While Cynthia wrapped up some work in the kitchen, the delightful Kim told me what was available on display that day.
When Cynthia came out we got to chat about why she started eating gluten-free, and how she and her husband got into the gluten-free baking business. Cynthia was an athlete, and her coach (who trains Olympians!) suggested that his athletes remove gluten from their diets. She found that her body liked this change, and so she has continued to eat gluten free. Zane has worked in the restaurant industry for many years on Maui (including helping to open Star Noodle), and has seen a lot of people request gluten-free foods. When the two decided to buy out Maui Speciality Bakery they decided that the best idea in opening the location was to make the bakery 100% gluten-free to avoid any potential for cross contamination.
After chatting for a while, it was time to sit down and try some of what they had to offer. We chose quite a variety of items. Kim helped us pick out what was dairy-free for me (a glutening the week before had placed me in the no-lactose zone), while Devin picked out some dairy filled and dairy-free indulgences. Boy howdy did I indulge! Here’s a sampling of what I tried. With Cynthia and Zane always baking up something fresh, you never know what new trendsetting treat you’ll find next to their timeless classics.
I started with a vegan coconut cupcake while Devin ventured into the vanilla custard cream puff. I found my cake to be moist, soft, creamy, and not cloyingly sweet. The frosting melted in my mouth. The coconut flavor was not artificial in any way, and there were whole shreds of coconut too! Devin found the puffs to be a little messy, but worth the mess. He said it tasted like a Komoda’s Store cream puff (a Maui classic), with the pastry being a little less sweet. The filling is placed between a split choux pastry ball instead of piped in. They had 2 flavors available the vanilla pastry cream, and a Belgian white chocolate.
We soon moved onto their ever popular vegan Whoopee Pies. This isn’t your old fashioned Moon Pie style Whoopee Pie. This is a large, and in-charge vegan pie. I went for the coconut haupia Whoopee Pie, while Devin tried out the Oatmeal Cookie with cinnamon filling. These are very heavy on the filling, so if you like frosting then you should definitely get one of these. I’m not big on frosting personally, but this was a good one for sure. I felt like a little kid eating this! Devin really liked the cookie on his Whoopee Pie. It was a soft oatmeal raisin cookie which he felt stood up well to the amount of filling. Devin and I agree that this is an efficient sugar delivery vehicle which would go well with a strong cup of coffee. It’s a good thing they have some on hand! We were already feeling quite spoiled when Cynthia brought out a freshly made strawberry Whoopee Pie. How could we say no? Chocolate cake on the outside with a strawberry filling on the inside. A glass of red wine would pair very well. The strawberry scent and flavor were quite potent. Yum!
I next tried coffee cake. It contained blueberries and walnuts. It wasn’t very sweet, so it’d make a good breakfast. The cinnamon was not overwhelming. Zach said they usually serve it with a cream cheese frosting, but with me being in the no dairy zone I couldn’t try it that way. I think it would really round out the flavors of the cake perfectly.
Devin moved onto a chocolate peanut butter cupcake with a chocolate peanut butter cup on top. He delicately unwrapped his cupcake as he prepared to dive in. Devin said the peanut flavor was so natural it was like he was tasting pure peanut, and not peanut butter. He described it as “tasting the details of the peanut.” The cake was very moist, and had a classic chocolate flavor and texture.
Next up for Devin was the Elvis cupcake. I remember saying, “Elvis is about to leave the building, and enter Devin’s stomach.” I couldn’t help myself. It had a banana baked into the cake, caramel drizzle, and bacon crumbles on top of the frosting with Elvis spelled in chocolate on top. He said the cake tasted like Banana’s Foster. The bacon was not overpowering, but it enhanced the experience of this cake and makes you think of Elvis. “Elvis knew what he was doing,” Devin said as he finished this cupcake.
The S’mores cupcake was also successful with its rich, dark chocolate cake, fluffy house made marshmallow topping, chocolate drizzle and adorable graham cracker. Our only thought was that the mallow could be lightly toasted to give it a little more campfire flavor. Devin said this would be the cake for those of us who aren’t into frosting.
Finally, I tried the chocolate donut with fresh lilikoi glaze. The donut was very soft, very moist, not crumbly and the glaze had a zippy hint of lilikoi. It made me understand why one of their most popular cakes is chocolate with lilikoi frosting. These would be good to have a dozen of on hand for brunch with family and friends, or alone with your cup of joe or tea in the morning looking out over the ocean. Donut fantasy time!
While we were tasting all these wonderful delights a young man from Makawao came in. I asked him why he likes to go to Maui Sugar Shop. He said we should already know and added, “It’s epic!” Although neither he, nor his family are gluten free, they are regular customers. He then ordered some Whoopee Pies to take home.
Don’t miss out on Maui Sugar Shop. Head on over and let them help you indulge!
878 Front St. Ste A10
Lahaina, HI 96761
Maui Sugar Shop shared their pastries with us for free, however my opinions remain my own as they always will.