On October 9, T and I headed up to PA for a brief vacation in the Pocono Mountains. On the way, we made a quick detour to check out Betsy’s Bakery, in Camp Hill, PA. This bakery is just minutes from the split on I-81, that diverts to Harrisburg one way, Camp Hill the other. Since we were coming from Abingdon, VA, we were a little worried that we wouldn’t make it before they closed for the evening, but luck was on our side! Shortly after arriving, I was asked, “are you the food blogger that was coming?” and Betsy told me she’d been asking people that day if they were the blogger that was coming . I have to tell you that this made my day! It’s the little things, you know? 🙂
Betsy immediately offered us two slices of bread to sample — their white bread, and their high fiber Quinoa bread. Both were amazing. Their breads are soft and springy, with the air holes you expect to see in sandwich bread, and each piece was also rich with flavor. We ended up buying a loaf of the white bread, but I would definitely buy a loaf of the Quinoa bread in the future for a hearty toast! I did love the white bread though, and I’d get it again. Loved it at breakfast with an over easy egg!
The top image (in this post) shows the amazing cupcakes we purchased. Chocolate is my favorite treat, so I always buy at least one chocolate item when given the chance. Since I wasn’t going to be the only tasting these, I looked for flavors I thought would appeal to others too, and ended up with Pumpkin Spice and Lemon w/Buttercream. I shared them with T and our good friend Vanessa.
Vegan Chocolate Cupcake
You’ll never know it’s vegan.
Vanessa: The texture is good. Dense, rich, not too sweet by itself (without the frosting). Not too sweet with the frosting either, like many cupcakes which give you a sugar headache. I could even do more chocolate, like sprinkles or morsels. Overall, great for someone who loves chocolate but not a lot of sweetness. I’d buy it.
T: Good chocolate flavor. Sprinkles added a nice touch. Agrees with Vanessa that it is not overly sweet.
Me: Frosting is very creamy and rich, but not overpowering. I LOVED the heart sprinkles; great touch! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Smooth, rich, decadent, but not too sweet. I actually bought two of the chocolate, and ate the second one 4 days after we bought it, and it still tasted and felt fresh (kept in the box they were packaged in, and set out on the kitchen table, not in the refrigerator). Neither the icing nor the cake were dried out, nor hardened after all that time, which is quite an accomplishment for any cupcake, gluten free or not!
Vanessa: Oh! Smells very good. Lots of cinnamon and pumpkin. Icing tastes like cream cheese icing + cinnamon. Cake itself is good. Not too dry. Icing and cake together is REALLY good. Definitely not as sweet as a regular cupcake. Really like this one. Cream cheese icing does a lot. This one is my favorite (but then, I do LOVE pumpkin)!
T: Frosting is sweet but it is a great contrast to the cupcake. They work well together. Definitely my favorite of the two (not a lemon fan, so she didn’t try the third).
Me: I agreed with Vanessa’s initial statement, and with T about the frosting and cupcake working well together. I also love pumpkin, but there was an aftertaste in this flavor for me that I didn’t care for (I was the only one who noticed), but it may simply be the spice blend used. Some pumpkin pie/pumpkin spice flavors I love, others not so much, but not sure what (spice) does it. Overall, though, great holiday flavor.
Vanessa: Sprinkles are awesome; aesthetically pleasing. Definitely can smell the lemon. Icing first: Interesting (good). Not sweet at all, but a real, pure lemon flavor. If you’re into lemon, this is definitely it. Together: Yes, that’s good. Not an overbearing lemon flavor; very subtle when altogether. It’s lovely. Second favorite, but sort of tied with chocolate. 🙂 Lemon is least sweet of three flavors. Just a hint of it. I don’t feel like I’m going to die of a sugar headache like you often find with cupcakes. For the lemon lover!
Me: I concur with Vanessa’s assessment of this cupcake. I love lemon (as long as it isn’t sour lemon), and if I hadn’t gotten chocolate, this would probably be my favorite. It reminded me of a delicate and creamy lemon meringue pie!
I don’t believe T tried the lemon.
We also purchased coffee cake, but I didn’t get a chance to photograph it. But we agree that it smelled and tasted marvelous! T adds that it definitely had that “distinct coffee cake taste and I’d definitely get it again.” And that’s coming from someone who isn’t really even a fan of sweets!
I’ve been to several gluten free bakeries, and most of them are small. One in NYC was only a bit wider than two doors side-by-side; they had bar stools and a counter, but boy was it crowded!
We were pleasantly surprised to discover that Betsy’s Bakery is so much more. Not only can you fill up on all the baked goods and breads you’ve been craving, but you can have a sit-down meal too in a nicely spaced dining room! Betsy’s offers Boar’s Head products — including (I just learned this yesterday) hummus, which I didn’t even know Boar’s Head made!
This makes Betsy’s an even better place in our eyes, because it is on route to the place we vacation in the Poconos, as well as T’s Mom’s up in NY. Now, unless we’re travelling on Monday (when their website says they’re closed), we have a place we can stop for an actual meal on the road, instead of relying on snacks or cold travel foods (yes, it is possible to have way too many PBJs!). We have a trip coming up next month and I know where we’re stopping for a late lunch/early dinner!
I knew going to Betsy’s that the bakery was 100% gluten free, but she can also cater to a variety of allergies. There are vegan options in addition to the cupcake we tried, dairy free, egg free, sugar free, and soy free! Betsy told us that she’s very careful about how everything is prepared, and color codes kitchenware to ensure there is no cross contamination. They have products which are nut free, but they do use nuts, so given how serious a nut allergy can be, each customer would need to make the decision for themselves.
Their website also notes that, “Not every item on our menu is available every day – if you know that you would like something specific call 717-730-9900 to place a special order.”
If you’re in the Camp Hill area, you may be able to find Betsy’s products in some grocery stores, cafes, and even some colleges (which I think is especially awesome).
And, not only is this a 100% gluten free bakery with sit-down table and meal options, it is owned by two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I can’t wait to go back next month!
Update 9 October 2020: Sadly. this bakery has gone out of business. They attempted to have two locations (often the downfall of family owned bakeries, especially when they’re gluten free), and then their reviews started to decline. T and I did get to go a few more times, and we were always pleased with their quality and kindness. If they ever gave it another go and I could get back up to where they were, I’d definitely want to try their products again!