Kyra Bussanich is a busy woman.  She just won Cupcake Wars, competing with her own gluten free recipes– while the other three contestants baked regular, ol’ gluteny cupcakes. Now she also owns a thriving business.

I recently spoke with Bussanich about her experience on Cupcake Wars (see previous post). But she also has a huge future ahead of her and one big tip for we bakers at home.

Crave Bake Shop

GF & dairy free gingerbread cupcakes made by Crave Bake Shop

Crave Bake Shop‘s store front opened in Lake Oswego, Oregon in May of 2011.  The bakery is open five days a week with a various selection of goodies from cupcakes, cakes to cinnamon rolls and scones.  All are made in the dedicated, facility that is a cozy 780 square feet which houses their kitchen, office and shop.

Between the time the first episode was shot in December of 2010  and the second episode was shot a year later, not only does she have a store, but she has 10 employees!  She considers that number a pleasant surprise.  Her clientele is 60% gluten free, 40% eat gluten and choose to come there because her treats are so great.

She knows she’s having an impact on the gluten free community and is reaffirmed of her decision to pursue this career path every time she encounters a gluten free person who could use a yummy treat that other folks take for granted.

“We’ll get emails from people, it had been 22 years since one woman had a cinnamon roll…” Another letter came from a mom of a local 5-year-old gluten free girl, “They called me her cake angel,” Bussanich told me. “Her daughter had never been able to go into a bakery and get anything. This was going to be the first time she would be able to come in and pick out her own treat.”

“I am also helping bring back holiday traditions,” she said.  Many people ordered cinnamon rolls from her this year because it was/is their tradition to have them on Christmas morning.

 What’s next?

Bussanich has her first cookbook under way and should be done in the next year, with a second cookbook not too far behind.

Plus, Crave Bake Shop could be expanding, “We either need a second location in town or a factory location in town. Our shop is tiny… We would like to offer more things. We want to have full selection out every day,” Bussanich says.

Gluten Free Baking Tip

I asked her for one main gluten free baking tip for my readers. “Experiment,” Bussanich said. “If it tastes good, serve it anyway! Even if it doesn’t look like the way you want, and change the name!!”

One example during her own experimentation, her gluten free  pie crust was originally supposed to be a puffed pastry and it didn’t work.  “But it makes a fabulous pie crust,” Bussanich says.

“When you’re baking gluten free, you need to be flexible with the ingredients and with yourself…baking with gluten free flour is different.”

Don’t live in Oregon? You can order treats from Crave Bake Shop online at  And the Food Network has her winning Cupcake Wars Episode one more time on Saturday. Schedule info here.


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