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Reasons to Love Minnesota No. 155: A Baker’s Wife

Old-fashioned donuts, hot out of the fryer

The donuts at A Baker’s Wife in South Minneapolis aren’t slathered in unicorn glitter frosting or showered in Fruity Pebbles and crushed Oreos. They’re just good old-fashioned cake donuts, blue-collar to the core and ridiculously satisfying in their simplicity. ⁣

While Homer Simpson would surely drool over everything in the shop, our top pick isn’t its neon-pink, sprinkled nod to Sector 7-G. It’s the State Fair-style cinnamon sugar donuts shown above. Warm and pillowy and dunkable after a quick dip in the fryer, they’re best enjoyed two blocks away, on a quiet park bench or picnic table overlooking scenic Lake Hiawatha.⁣

A Baker’s Wife has been around since the early ‘90s. Longtime customers swear by the shop’s buttery lemon bars and American tea cakes, which taste like a caramel-forward take on France’s sugar-lacquered Kouign-amann. The bakery’s original owner, Gary Tolle, perfected both pastries after learning the ropes at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, a luxe landmark known for hosting The Beatles, Miles Davis, and Truman Capote.⁣

Tolle retired in 2016, but new owner Eric Shogren keeps his most popular recipes in rotation, along with bread and cake additions from Shogren’s other recent acquisition: the long-running (75 years!) local chain Wuollet Bakery. He has also taken steps to modernize the business, dropping the old cash-only policy and allowing customers to pre-order over the phone.

While Shogren is a Minneapolis native and alumni of The Blake School, he actually built his fortune founding two major chains in Russia: Siberia’s first New York-style pizzeria and a coffeeshop named Kuzina. This may or may not explain another sugar-dusted confection that caught out eye here: Russian tea cakes. Next time!

A Baker’s Wife
4200 S. 28th Ave., Minneapolis, MN; 612-729-6898.