Grab your coffee mallow pie and Highway to Heaven cupcakes while you still can: baker Kir Jensen’s curio-cute The Sugar Cube will close its doors for good on Sunday, May 3. The longtime sugar-pusher says she’s moving on from the Northeast Alberta Street bakery to pursue a more flexible roster of dessert-related projects—from a possible follow up to her 2012 cookbook to collaborations with local chefs—and an all-new sugar high.
Jensen says she’ll take time for some long-overdue travels to visit family before she returns to Portland to continue recipe testing the newest evolution of the Sugar Cube. She’s not willing to say what form her sweets craft will take just yet, but does note that recent changes to Oregon law have opened up some new opportunities. “I’m closing up shop for a ‘higher calling’—wink-wink, nod-nod,” she says, with a little laugh. “Stay tuned for details.”
It’s been a near-decade of “sugar shenanigans” as the baker puts it: starting at her adorably gritty pink bakery cart, known for its gluttonous cupcakes, continuing through a series of tough location changes, a sweet cookbook, and gobs of glowing national press. The Cube’s latest iteration was the brick and mortar location, which upped the ante in fall of 2013 with an embarrassment of labor-intensive “comfort pastries” and morning sweets in a homey, light-filled room. Her deft creations were so over-the-top addictive that they easily captured a spot in PoMo’s list of Best Restaurants of 2013, among other honors. “If Mom weren’t looking, this is what you’d eat every day,” wrote PoMo critic Karen Brooks.
Jensen can’t release details yet, but she’s sold the location and the bulk of her kitchen equipment to one of her own favorite food businesses in town. “They’re fantastic,” she hints. “I can’t wait to see the next chapter of their journey.”
The city's highbrow sugar junkies may mourn the loss of her sea salt and olive oil brownies and salted caramel cinna-bunz but Jensen is taking the end of her retail bakery in stride. “Don’t say ‘shuttered,’ nobody fucking likes the term ‘shuttered,” the charmingly bawdy redhead says with a snort, referencing the media’s ubiquitous bloggy term for restaurant closures. “I’m excited. I’m proud of the space, and my crew that helped me make it what it is, but I have too much creative energy flowing though these veins—I want to explore it.”
Stay tuned for exlusive details on the next phase of the Sugar Cube and the Alberta space’s new tenants as it becomes available.