I’d heard about a new bakery coming to Aberdeen. There were whispers the owner was quite a good baker and that she had Cuban heritage, making the whole thing a little mysterious and very exciting. I had my hopes up, somewhat cautiously, and emailed with Lynette for several months before I finally ventured to her newly-minted bakery and walked right inside, looking at two women and making the ultimate mistake: I thought the older of the two must be Lynette, the bakery owner, and the younger of the two must be the hired help.
I was wrong on all counts.
The young woman is Lynette, 27-years old and owner of her very own bakery and cafe.
The older woman is her mother, Maralene, who teared up when I asked how it felt to see her daughter open her own business and who told me it’s all amazing but no surprise, really. “She started baking when she was able to touch the stove. Actually, she couldn’t touch it yet. She had to use a stool. I would wake up and see her in there, in the kitchen, making herself food.”
Lynette’s is a hidden gem, tucked away just off Highway 5 in a bright, airy space full of plants, aluminum tables and chairs and the scent of freshly brewed coffee and pastries pulled from the oven. I eyed the bakery case with hesitation, as I am sensitive to gluten and eat pastries with all sorts of turmoil, but right there on the top shelf were trays of gluten-free cupcakes, so I ordered the guava-flavored one and braced myself for what is so often the case with gluten-free baked goods: serious dryness and crumble.
Imagine my surprise when I bit into a delicate, moist cupcake topped with frosting and a tiny sliver of guava. I managed to eat that little delicacy in two fell swoops, closing my eyes (I’m not kidding) and savoring the final crumbs.
The staff back at the ONC cottage actually wrote me emails declaring the cupcakes ‘the best’ they’ve ever had, the Cuban coffee flavored ones (Cafecito) emerging as the favorite. I brought my children Guava and Cheese Pastelitos, which are pastry filled with guava and cream cheese. Those were snatched up and eaten in a hot second by kids who often scoff at something that includes exotic things like guava.
Lyenette’s doesn’t only serve baked goods and sweet treats, however. The cafe serves breakfast until 11 a.m. including avocado toast on freshly baked bagels and biscuits stuffed with ham and cheese (my husband is a fan). Lunch options include a variety of sandwiches including the Pan con Lechon, a roasted pork sandwich with mojo sauce served on freshly baked Cuban bread.
In terms of coffee, it’s excellent. Lynette’s serves a special blend created by Cactus Creek Coffee named the Havana 1957. I tried it, and it’s smooth and strong, just the way a solid cup of coffee should be. Then, just when I thought the coffee couldn’t get better, Lynette offered to brew me a Colada, which is 4 shots of espresso sweetened with espumita sugar and served in shot cups. Shot cups! It was heaven.
Finally, don’t leave without trying the flan. It is the best flan I’ve ever tasted, and it met rave reviews from every one with whom I shared. Lynette uses her grandmother’s recipe, thus giving it the appropriate name: Abuela’s Traditional Cuban Flan. You won’t be disappointed.
I asked Lynette her philosophy about food and baking. She thought for a moment and said, “You have to bake with love. What’s the point without it?”
Lynette’s Bakery & Cafe is located at 3060 NC-5, Aberdeen, NC 28315. The website, with a full menu, can be viewed at www.LynettesBakeryCafe.com, and the phone number is 910-420-8226.
Lynette’s is open Monday – Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and closed Sunday.