Gluten free Charlottesville, VA—Part 7–Review of Pearl’s Bake Shoppe

Get ready for the very best gluten free cupcakes, macarons, cookies, scones, brownies, and more!  Located at 711 W. Main Street in Charlottesville, Pearl’s ( is a wonderful treat for celiac dessert lovers! This staff is extremely knowledgeable about gluten free and gluten allergies.  Note that although this is not a dedicated gluten free bakery, the staff takes precautions to avoid cross contamination. In addition to their carefulness while baking and preparing, the staff keeps the cupcakes on separate trays and uses fresh gloves whenever handling the gluten free cupcakes. However, always speak with the staff to make sure that their policies have not changed and that they can accomadate your specific need(s). I visit at least once per week and have never ever one gotten sick….so why haven’t I posted about this magical place yet?? For one very embarrassing reason….I always eat my cupcakes before I manage to take a picture of them. The struggles….sigh. I apologize for the half-eaten food photos….

Oh my, where do I start???? The selection is unbelievable!! Let’s start with cupcakes…

Cupcakes: They always have at least 2 gluten free flavors of the day and they rotate daily. Forget the boring chocolate or vanilla, I am talking about every single flavor imaginable!! From Boston creme to milkshake (“a marble cake with a chocolate marscapone whipped creme filling and a vanilla buttercream, partly coated in chocolate ganache and garnished with mini dark chocolate chips”) and everything in between, this cupcakes are gourmet! AND HUGE! The icing is the opposite of stingy and the cupcakes are large and soft. My only problem is that I can be a picky eating (HATE mint flavored or coconut shavings—I know, I know, I need to grow up!) so I don’t always like the flavors of the day, but that is probably a good thing for my wallet and my waist so I can’t complain. Also, make sure to call and reserve your cupcakes if you can’t stop by till the end of the day. Several times they have sold out of gluten free before I arrived. Not a problem though—-they are happy to hold any cupcakes you call and reserve (as long as you leave a credit card number). Personal favorites: Boston creme, milkshake, chocolate covered strawberry, chocolate covered raspberry, parent trap (they use gluten free oreos), chocolate covered peanut butter, Lucy in the sky……the list goes on! My friends say that their “normal people” cupcakes are great too so we come here quite a bit. They even have vegan cupcakes which one of my friends loves. Choices for all!

Half eaten "oops I forgot to take a photo" red velvet cupcake!!!
Half eaten “oops I forgot to take a photo” red velvet cupcake!!!

Cakes: Pearl’s does make gluten free cakes!! My parents surprised me and ordered me a birthday cake last year. It was double layered—one layer of chocolate cake and one layer of chocolate chip cookie dough cake!! The cake was covered in chocolate ganache—my favorite. Absolutely amazing!! Best cake I have ever had. It was great that Pearl’s will custom make whatever cake you can dream!

My birthday cake---thank you, Mom and Dad! <3
My birthday cake—thank you, Mom and Dad! ❤

Cake pops: Don’t like the selection for gluten free for a particular day? Have no fear! Pearl’s offers gluten free cake pops daily: chocolate, yellow, and red velvet—the essentials of course!!

Chocolate cake pop
Chocolate cake pop

Macarons: Naturally gluten free and always available! They are usually bright colors and fresh! Highly recommend.

Brownies: As you are all well aware now, I despise mint and unfortunately they usually have mint brownies and rocky road brownies available. Neither of which I am a fan of, but when they have had other flavors, the brownies were fanastic!!

Cookies: Sometimes Pearl’s has gluten free cookies, which are fantastic!!! Highly recommend the chocolate chip cookies.

The only downsides (other than consuming my paycheck)… Not open Sundays and closes at 6pm during the work week 😦 For a graduate student who has long days, I sometimes miss them before they close. Also, not a lot of parking.

Long story short….check out Pearl’s cupcakes if you are in town!!  I’ll be heading there tomorrow…I have no shame!

**Please note that this review solely reflects my own honest opinion. I was neither paid nor compensated for my visit here.**

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