First Look: Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery

This new bakery in Kaimukī specializes in two staples: malassadas and ice cream, both made from scratch.
Owner Gayla Young opened Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery in Kaimukī last week. The 44-year-old grew up in the area, which she calls an “up-and-coming foodie district with a lot of foot traffic.”
Photos: Catherine Toth Fox


I’m a believer that you can’t have too many options for malassadas.


Several months ago, our office received a box of warm malassadas from a yet-to-open bakery slated to open in the spot on Wai‘alae Avenue vacated by Toys N’ Joys, which closed in 2013. These fresh, sugary balls of fried dough were so good, I couldn’t wait for this place to open.


And last week it officially happened.


After a brief soft-opening period, which sparked lines around the block, Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery celebrated its grand opening in grand fashion last Thursday, with an official blessing, a maile-lei ceremony, an oli by Kimo Kahoano and appearances by lawmakers and beauty queens.


The date—Sept. 8—was significant, too. It was two years to the day when Pipeline owner and founder Gayla Young was let go from her position as director of business management at Leonard’s Bakery. This summer, lawyers for the 64-year-old bakery on Kapahulu Avenue—known for its malassadas—filed a civil lawsuit against Young and other former employees, claiming they’re using the company’s recipe to start this new bakery. The lawsuit is still pending and Young says she has counter-sued.


“I wanted to change the energy and karma,” Young said at the blessing last week. “My family and friends have been super supportive.”


Young says that, for about a year, she worked with a pastry chef in Los Angeles on perfecting her own malassada recipe. Everything—from the mini bundt cakes she calls cake bombs to the ice cream—is made from scratch on site, she says.


“We put a lot of love and aloha in our products,” Young says.


The bakery sells made-to-order malassadas coated in white sugar, cocoa sugar, coffee sugar or li hing sugar.


Pipeline’s malassadas are among the best I’ve ever had. They’re bready but fluffy, with a crispy shell covered in a thick layer of white sugar. And, for me, the more sugar, the better. In addition to the classic white sugar ($1 each), malassadas can be coated with cocoa sugar ($1.20 each), coffee sugar ($1.30) or li hing sugar ($1.10).


The bakery also serves a variety of other baked treats, scones filled with blueberries and cream cheese or maraschino cherries and pistachio ($3.50 each), a super-rich triple-chocolate fudge brownie with hints of peanut butter ($3.25 each), slices of moist banana bread ($1.75 each), a stellar energy bar with peanuts and cranberries ($1.95 each), and cake bombs in flavors such as blueberry, matcha green tea, chocolate hazelnut and—the most popular—lemon ($3.25 each).


A display case in the bakery shows off its baked goods, everything from scones to mini bundt cakes called cake bombs.


The lemon cake bombs are the bakery’s best seller—after the malassadas. The cake is dense and moist, and the lemony glaze is subtle without being overly tart.


The bakery sells two kinds of scones, the most popular of which is the maraschino cherry and pistachio with bits of cream cheese.


“I’ve never been a baker,” says Young, whose background is in business and marketing. (Hence the stylish branding prior to opening.) “I used to bake as a hobby; I never had professional training. But I know what I like, and I know what tastes good.”


She got the idea of opening her own bakery, she says, because, after two years at Leonard’s Bakery, other bakeries offered her jobs. She figured she may as well start her own business.


She added homemade ice cream to the menu because she felt the two—ice cream and malassadas—went together well. (She’s in the process of developing a dessert that combines the two, to be launched in the next couple of weeks.) It takes two days to make the ice cream. So far, she has about 12 flavors.


There’s a small dining area inside the 3,100-square-foot bakery, which also serves a coffee blend by Rusty’s Hawaiian exclusive to Pipeline. At first, it will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. She plans longer hours later.


“This is really a family project,” Young says. “And I’m excited for what’s to come.”


Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery, 3632 Wai‘alae Ave., 738-8200,


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