Three days ago, Portland received a sweet treat.
That's the day Sugar Cube
, a new dessert cart owned by Kir Jensen
, opened her cart.
And already Jensen's cupcakes, cookies and smoothies are flying off the shelves.
"I've had a great response so far", she said. "Everyone has been so friendly and encouraging."
After careful consideration, Jensen, who has spent the last six years baking, flouring, dusting and serving up sweet treats at other people's high couture restaurants around town (clark-lewis, Noble Rot and Genoa, to name a few) decided to try her pastry hand at her own bakery, and in this case, cube, of sugar.
Wanting to avoid the high overhead and risk of opening a full-blown bakery, Jensen (who grew up in Chicago) thoughtfully chose instead to purchase a cart in the pod of carts at Southwest Alder Street and Ninth Avenue.
The immaculately clean and tidy Cube features a high-end convection oven, among other pieces of baking ware.
"You can make really great stuff out of a cart", explained Jensen. "I want to help dispel the [negative] image of cart food."
The 30-year old red head with bright blue eyes is just as sweet as her sucrose-laden menu that comes out of the Cube.
Beginning at 5:30 am each morning, she bakes everything in-cart and brews up pots of Spella coffee
($2.50 for 16 oz.), an organic brew blend from India.
While Jensen had visions of "baking and selling a bit of everything" to her customers, the past three days have proven that her decadent cupcakes
($2.50 each) -may be her number-one selling sweet. Her specialities include Highway To Heaven, a, "dark and moist chocolate buttermilk cake, salted caramel center and creamy chocolate ganache that Michael Landon would be proud of" and the My Goodness My Guinness, a "ginger Guinness stout cake with maple cream cheese frosting."
Also on the menu are muffins ($2.25 each) - Brangelina: honey bran loaded with raisins and Passionfruit Blueberry, streusel coffee cake ($3), scones ($2.50), biscuits n' jam ($2.25), cookies ($1.50) - Austrian shortbread and chocolate chip and in time, a full lunch menu of paninis, soups and salads.
And Jensen's secret weapon (although we're not sure she needs one) is her six special-order cupcakes that require 48-hours advance notice to whip up. The Passion Of The Curd, for example, is "moist coconut cake, passionfruit curd center, coconut cream glaze and topped off with toasted coconut". These are $2.75 each with a minimum order of one dozen per flavor. "I know there's a cupcake thing going on right now", said Jensen "but I think my cupcakes are the best."
It's still a bit too early to tell, but Jensen appears to be one smart cookie.
The Sugar Cube
On SW Ninth Avenue between Alder and Washington Street.
Open Monday - Friday from 8 am - 3 pm
Closed Saturday and Sunday
for more sweet information.
Photos by Byron Beck