Dutch Oven Bakery: Soulful Baking in Altadena [CLOSED]

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Dutch Oven is a standout bakery in the San Gabriel foothills.

The Beatles needed eight days a week. But if you ask David Davis, the proprietor of Dutch Oven Bakery in Altadena, the Beatles had it easy. Or so it seems to a man that, until the recent week-long fishing trip he took with his three sons, hadn’t had a day off for 12 years, including every holiday, “your birthday, my birthday, everybody’s birthday.” As Davis said, “Boy did it feel strange to close the shop. I thought I did something wrong.” Davis churns out magnificent cakes, cobblers, pies and glorious honey muffins from his bakery “nine days a week.”

Baker Los Angeles

Dutch Oven has thrived due to Davis’ dominating work ethic.

Davis gets in no later than 4 AM – around the holidays – midnight – and has been known to work all night long. “You’ve got to get in there and work. It has to become your life to become successful.” Luckily, he has help: his three sons. Two bake and another son works the counter. Dutch Oven is a family tradition.

Dutch Oven nearly didn’t happen for Mr. Davis. An insurance salesman and part-time baker, he had been living in tiny Altadena for 25 years and never set foot in the long-standing Dutch Oven Bakery. He endured a long commute to his bakery in Midtown until a supplier friend told him about the Oven, and that previous owner Judith was interested in selling. Davis didn’t want to buy another bakery, so it took him 14 months to even enter Dutch Oven, but once he did, he knew it was “meant to be.” On June 26, 1990, he quit the insurance business, and two months later became a full-time baker. Altadena residents have been blessed with his bountiful baked goods ever since.

Muffins Los Angeles

Mr. Davis couldn’t pick a favorite creation. So I will: honey muffins.

Davis inherited the honey bran muffin recipe from the previous owner, then took the concept to another level by substituting yellow cake for bran, creating honey blueberry, honey lemon, honey pineapple, and honey strawberry muffins. Each muffin is crusted with a caramelized honey dome, leaving the yellow insides unbelievably moist. Each variation comes with a few nuggets of sweet fruit in the muffin’s crown. It’s a mind-blowing baked good, and they sell out, so don’t sleep in if you want one (or 10).

Dutch Oven also stocks great traditional muffins, extra-moist and loaded with bananas and nuts, blueberries or chocolate chips, among others.

Davis also devotes half a display case to pound cakes, whole cakes and slices. Go for a sampler platter of butter, chocolate, lemon, sock-it-to-me and 7Up, all buttery, moist and fluffy. Mr. Davis prefers ends.

Pie Los Angeles

Davis is particularly proud of his sweet potato pies.

Sweet potato pies pair silky orange filling and buttery crusts. Bean’s another winner, similar to pumpkin, only darker, and slightly less sweet. If you don’t have enough room, or ambition, to buy a whole pie, grab a mini-pie.

There’s even a shelf of mini pecan pies. Dutch Oven also excels with cobblers in traditional flavors like apple, blueberry, cherry and peach, and the more exotic boysenberry. They range from $5.50 for a small, and if you’re truly generous (or gluttonous), go for the gargantuan $65 cobbler.

If you’re within range of Altadena, or Los Angeles County, or Southern California, it’s well worth driving to Dutch Oven Bakery. By the time you get there, rest assured David Davis will be ready with muffins, and pies, and cakes… You get the idea. Mr. Davis is a dedicated baker, and we’re all lucky he gave up the insurance business.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

[…] beloved Dutch Oven Bakery closed permanently. Owner/baker David Davis passed away at the end of 2019, and the longstanding business never […]

Dutch Oven was ran by the most beautiful hearted person I’ve ever met, David C. Davis, who had recently passed away over the Christmas holiday. He was a great man and a smart business man who was well known and loved by many people everywhere. Most of all, he was like a Dad to me. I had worked in three of his bakeries, and when he opened Dutch Oven Bakery in Altadena, I was so happy I didn’t have to drive to LA anymore. David (Dad) taught me how to decorate. I remember JPL (NASA) came to the bakery after it opened and asked us if we could make them two full sheet cakes with that big machine that was set up in space recording and taking pictures of everything in space. He asked, “Baby can you do it?” And I said, “yes I can do it.” When JPL came to pick up the cake they were amazed at how it looked, and was very happy. Dad taught me how to make beautiful roses with icing, waterfalls, wedding cakes, and lots more. It brings joy and laughter to my heart every time I think of the good times we had. He always made everyone laugh. Dad taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to do. He also taught me a lot about business and encouraged me to make smart investments, stay strong, keep my head held high, and to never give up. Thanks Dad! I can definitely say that I’ve learned so much about you and had gotten my workaholic skills from you. Thank you for being there for me and for everything you’ve done for me and for lots of other people. You were a great leader and asset to your community. I love you with all of my heart and you will be greatly missed!
Love Kelly Parker

Kelly, Thanks for your beautiful remembrance. I didn’t know David passed away. Hopefully Dutch Oven Bakery continues to stay in business. He certainly built a memorable bakery.

great post…it looks so yummy! 😉 thanks for sharing ideas, we will come back often.

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