The croissants at Split Bakehouse look like they could have been flown in directly from Paris. The burnished gold exterior crackles as you break it open, a tantalizing aroma wafts out to reveal layer upon light-as-air layer of buttery goodness. Except, in this case, the delicious butter flavor doesn’t come courtesy of a French creamery, but instead, it is derived from the bakery’s from-scratch vegan butter substitute.
Devotees of Split Bakehouse’s pastries and baked goods have been thrilled ever since it opened a location at Grossmont Center; previously, the treats were only available at local coffee shops, restaurants, and other clients of Split’s wholesale business. Split Bakehouse is the brainchild of Vanessa Corrales and chef Kristianna Zabala, both of whom have impressive credentials in the vanguard of San Diego’s dining scene. Corrales founded Get Fluffed Up, a company specializing in handcrafted, all-natural cotton candy, and is involved with OleriCultura, a new vegan, Mexican-influenced eatery at Grossmont Center. Zabala worked as a pastry chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant, The Village Pub in Woodside, California, and was founding chef for the cutting-edge Nomad Donuts in North Park. With their experience creating delicious and innovative food, it is no surprise that Split Bakehouse earned “Best Vegan Pastry” honors from San Diego Magazine in 2019.
“We are so excited to bring this concept to Grossmont Center,” Corrales says. “Kristianna and I combine our Mexican and Filipino heritages to create unique flavors, and she is such a gifted pastry chef—it is amazing to see the recipes she comes up with. Plus, we know how important it is to eat plant-based food as often as possible, and it has been our goal to make vegan pastries that are loved by non-vegans, too.
Split Bakehouse has both vegan and traditional baked goods on the menu, offering a rotation of sweet and savory flavors. The croissants have been a standout. Both the vegan and traditional versions come in plain, almond, and chocolate varieties. What’s more, Split Bakehouse has been known to offer “dipped” croissants in special flavors of the week, such as ube, chili passion fruit, and berry rose petal, the glossy coatings in vivid shades of purple, orange, and pink. Making the croissants is usually a three-day process with much stretching, folding, and rolling of the dough to create luscious flaky layers. For the vegan croissants—as with the other vegan desserts—Split Bakehouse crafts its own egg, butter, and milk substitutes. It is this attention to detail that elevates the pastries to another level.
Nosh on vegan and traditional versions of cinnamon rolls, Cruffins (croissant/muffin hybrids), blueberry lemon or chocolate chip scones, lemon poppyseed or banana walnut muffins, banana brownies, lemon thyme bars, and rustic fruit tarts, among others. In addition, the non-vegan options also include a bacon cheddar scone, while the vegan menu features bagels and doughnuts. (A version of the latter can also be found at OleriCultura, along with a selection of Split Bakehouse-supplied pan dulce.)
The bakery prides itself on using high-quality and flavorful ingredients in its recipes, including seasonal fruits, organic agave (in place of honey for vegan desserts), vanilla beans, matcha, and more. Split Bakehouse makes everything in house, and it is all fresh; that goes not just for the baked goods themselves but also their toppings, icings, frostings, and fillings. (Wait until you taste the creamy almond paste, using freshly roasted nuts, that fills croissants!)
Presentation is also important; these pastries look as good as they taste. Split’s cinnamon rolls, for instance, are almost sculptural, their delicate swirled pattern enhanced with an artful (and generous) drizzle of icing that makes for particularly irresistible treats. And the adorable mini doughnuts are an ideal way to brighten your day, providing a perfect hit of sweetness in just a couple of bites.
Split Bakehouse’s eye-catching and mouth-watering desserts are a hit at Grossmont Center, as well as throughout San Diego County, thanks to the thriving wholesale business. You can also place a large order for corporate or catered events that will make a positive impression on your clients and guests.
Grossmont Center is becoming a top destination in East County for people adhering to a plant-based diet. In addition to Split Bakehouse and OleriCultura, the center is home to restaurants with vegan-friendly dishes such as Olive Garden® and Jamba®. Plus, each month Grossmont Center hosts the First Friday Night Market in conjunction with Vegan in San Diego. This festive event showcases some of the county’s top vegan vendors serving delicious food and drinks, and it is a terrific way to learn more about plant-based nutrition and discover the wealth of vegan food choices in San Diego.
Top among those choices is Split Bakehouse. Come try a vegan croissant, or any other baked good, and see how inventive and creative plant-based food can be!