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Bake it your way 

Cider Creek Bakery is a sweet and charming bakery in Paso Robles. Tucked into the Highlands Center, the space bursts with pleasant scents and warm smiles.

click to enlarge INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESS :  Cider Creek Bakery co-owner Ken Jevec invites customers in with a pie and a smile. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESS : Cider Creek Bakery co-owner Ken Jevec invites customers in with a pie and a smile.

Pulling open the door, guests will notice that the bakery buzzes. Ken and Susie Jevec, co-owners of Cider Creek, work at the counter, talking and laughing with the gentle stream of customers. The open and large interior resembles a community market. Wooden shelves organized with jams and other jarred goodies line the wall. Cardboard boxes are stacked tidily on top of the shelves. The hardwood floors are scuffed and worn by shuffling feet. There are plenty of chairs and tables in the main portion of the bakery—or, if you prefer a little quiet, a section of seats welcomes you on the side. The walls are adorned with framed paintings, including one of the original green barn Ken and Susie owned in Templeton on Highway 46 West, where they sold the green apples they grew.

“We made a lot of cider,” Ken said.

The Jevecs built the green barn on their property. It was their first business—a retail shop. At first, they pressed and sold apple cider and offered cider tastings, also selling jams, jellies, gifts, and knick-knacks.

Looking for an opportunity to expand, the Jevecs started baking apple pies in 1997.

“Everything apple,” Ken said.

A family friend taught the couple the basics of baking, and the original recipes were pulled from family members. The transition to baking wasn’t always smooth, but the Jevecs were persistent. On one of the first Christmases they baked pies, the couple ruined 230 of them.

“We were off on our timing,” he said. “That was just a mistake from someone being too tired.”

Having under-baked the pies, they scrambled to meet demands. Ken chuckled at the memory.

“It was my wife who did it,” he said. “And we all played a little game that morning about who was going to tell her, and everyone was like, ‘I’m not telling her,’ ‘I’m not telling her,’ and we laughed about it and it really kept us going.”

Having ultimately mastered pie-making, the Jevecs moved on to other baked goods, such as cookies and bread.

Their current must-have item is the apple flip, which is a German, turnover-like pastry with cinnamon and sugar rolled into the crust. It’s light and flaky, almost melting in your mouth. The apple filling is sweet and tart.

The most indulgent item is the iced brownie, a brownie with frosting, or the caramel apple crown, which is a towering creation of whipped cream, caramel, and apple. Both can be washed down with fresh-brewed, home-style iced tea.

The creation of delightful pastries, pies, cookies, and sandwiches was the result of an independent spirit. Having been “burned out” from prior corporate jobs managing a supermarket and selling cars—to name a few—Ken was looking to “get away.”

“I didn’t want to go to work in the morning,” he recalled.

The search for a “simpler way of life” led the Jevecs to Templeton in 1989, and the “freedom to make your own decisions” led them to open Cider Creek in the green barn in 1992.

“I’m a little independent,” Ken said with a smile. “I have no fear in decision making.”

The key to Cider Creek Bakery’s success, according to Ken, is that he listens to customers.

Cider Creek Bakery has two locations: 205 Oak Hill Road in Paso Robles and their new location at 7425 El Camino Real in Atascadero. For more information, including menus, visit cidercreekbakery.com.

Fast facts

The Prado Day Center and the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter need donations. Specifically, if you can donate toiletries, paper plates, plastic forks, spoons, Ziploc bags, large trash bags, any bedding and clothes, batteries, nail clippers, tweezers, fresh fruit or healthy snacks, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, or any gift cards for Vons, Spencers, or to buy clothes, contact Della Wagner at dwagner@capslo.org or call 781-3993. ∆

Intern Kristofer Marsh compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send your business news to strokes@newtimesslo.com.

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