Taste Test: Starbucks' New Gluten-Free Pastry

We’ve all had gluten-free food before. Crumbly cookies that stick to your tongue like cement. Flaky bread that tastes like anything but, well, bread. But Starbucks has hit gold with its new Valencia Orange Cake, now available at locations nationwide. This sweet, moist, rich cake hits your tongue with a blast of orange, and its zesty flavor sticks with you all the way down – no bitter or suspicious aftertastes. It’s even individually wrapped to prevent cross-contamination with other gluten-containing Starbucks pastries.

Our local Falls Church, VA Starbucks had only one left when we arrived at 1:00 pm on a Thursday afternoon. Kay, Annette and I each sampled it, and all agreed that it’s certainly one of the best pastries Starbucks offers. It’s sweet, with a taste and texture that’s far from that bitter, flaky consistency so many gluten-free foods seem to have. It even looked appealing – visibly moist and sticky inside its packaging, the orange and almonds gave it an outstanding appearance to go along with its superb flavor.

Kay was so taken with the product she went to another Starbucks later that evening to buy two more. Her barista told her the cake has definitely been a hit – it’s shipped to each Starbucks daily and always sells out by closing.

A Starbucks media representative told me via email that the cakes were the result of a huge customer feedback response. Gluten-free pastry was the number one request on MyStarbucksIdea.com, a site where customers share input about what Starbucks products they’d like to see next. Click here for a description on the site of how the cake is made, along with a few pictures.

What do you think of Starbucks’ new orange cake? Did you have any problems finding it? Did you enjoy it as much as we did? Let us know!


12 thoughts on “Taste Test: Starbucks' New Gluten-Free Pastry”

  1. I love it, and I’m not even a big fan of orange-flavored sweets! The texture is key to a good gluten-free pastry, and Starbucks definitely got it right.

    It’s so nice to see a big corporation respond to customer demand in this way.

  2. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The texture really was great – and so was the taste. I wasn’t sure our local Starbucks would have them, but they did even here. It’s such a relief to be able to go somewhere like a Starbucks and actually be able to find something to eat.

  3. It was wonderful. Great texture and taste, and so nice to walk into a mainstream coffee shop and be able to share cake and coffee :)

  4. I went to a Starbucks that I was near the other day to see if they were carrying the pastry. I bought them out; they had three. I ate mine and felt like I was in dessert heaven. It had a texture so unlike other gluten-free desserts I had eaten; much lighter and less dense. The flavor was amazing. I would highly recommend it, even to gluten eaters. Buy them so they keep offering them :)

  5. I think people are just desperate for something that is ok since that is what Starbuck’s gluten-free dessert was! I have had much better desserts and cannot believe such a large company with many resources settled for such a mediocre product. It did not sell because it was waxy and lacking flavor. We deserve better than that with all the wonderful ingredients available out there I cannot believe that this was the best they could do…shame on Starbucks!

  6. I’ve never seen a GF option at my Starbucks but it would be great for my daughter to be able to get a treat also.

  7. My 14th year old daughter did not like the orange cake at all. She said the flavor was not good. How about something with chocolate? Everyone loves chocolate!!

  8. I discovered these at a Starbucks on vacation in San Francisco, but was never able to find them again at home. I was very disappointed that they didn’t keep it up – it was nice to be able to munch on something with my family.

  9. I LOVED the Starbucks orange muffins! What a treat to have a pastry with my coffee. However, sad-to-say, they have discontinued the gluten-free muffins in my area. None of the Starbucks have them any longer. I am extremely disappointed.
    I live in the East Bay Area of California.

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