Luxury Travel Review

By Elena del Valle
Photos by Gary Cox

The entrance to Foley's Bakery

Foley’s Bakery is on the ground floor of an office building

On a crisp, cool fall morning in Portland, Maine we found Foley’s Cakes (Foley’s Cakes, 1 Monument Way, Portland, Maine 04101, + 207-773-CAKE (2253),, a small bakery and cake shop on the ground floor of an office building in the heart of the city. It was an easy walk from our accommodations. What drew us back regularly in a city with a high ratio of bakeries was the warm welcome from its owners and some treats that quickly became favorites such as the buttery and flaky ham and cheese croissants.

The reverse chocolate chip cookie was a favorite

The reverse chocolate chip cookie was a favorite

We also became fans of the extra large cookies. We sampled the chocolate cookies with white chocolate chunks and the peanut butter cookies first. We loved the shop’s wholesome flavors and were especially pleased to discover everything they sold was made fresh from scratch on the premises without any artificial ingredients or preservatives. Increasingly we encounter stores and bakeries that sell products previously frozen or made or premade by someone else. Finding a bakery that sold only fresh products made onsite such as theirs was a pleasure.

Ed and Molly Foley

Ed and Molly Foley in front of one of the display cases

Pastry chef Ed Foley and his wife Molly were the owners of Foley’s Cakes, a European-style bakery established in 2011. Previous to that they had owned the original Foley’s Bakery also in central Portland from 1997 to 2002. He made all the  well presented and appetizing baked goods sold at the shop facing Monument Square.

In a corner on the right side of the shop, there was a refrigerator with cold beverages and next to it a self service hot beverages section. As we sat at one of a half a dozen tables drinking coffee and tea and munching of croissants and cookies, we watched a steady flow of regular customers stream by, many buying baked goods to go. Molly greeted most by name. She seemed to know effortlessly what everyone’s favorites were from the child celebrating her birthday to the business executive with guests. By our second visit she remembered my preference for the white chocolate chunk cookies and my travel partner’s preference for the peanut butter ones.

The tempting display of pastries

The tempting display of pastries

On display in two large cases there was a line of pastries, cookies, and cakes made on site. We could see the racks and baking equipment behind the cash register on the left side of the open room. Wedding cakes were also available according to the shop’s website.

“The fact that all of the baked goods are made from scratch plus the baked goods we offer are unique to Foley’s,” Molly said when asked what makes their shop special.

The ham and cheese croissant

The ham and cheese croissant was a favorite

Chef Foley, with 20 years of experience, trained with European pastry chefs in the United States. Prior to opening his own shop he worked at The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan; Gasparilla Inn & Cottages, Boca Grande, Florida; The Tivoli Restaurant and Pastry Shop, Rosslyn, Virginia; and The Watergate Pastry Shop, Washington, D.C.; and was an instructor at the New England Culinary Institute, Montpelier, Vermont.

The cinnamon swirl

The cinnamon swirl

There were so many tempting cakes and pastries in the shop I left without sampling I’m hoping for a second visit to Maine’s largest city. For example, Foley’s best selling cake is the Marble Mousse Cake. It is made of two thin layers of chocolate cake with a thick layer of chocolate mousse, a thick layer of white chocolate mousse and a thin layer of pound cake covered in chocolate ganache.