In this age of cupcakes, distinguishing yourself can be a challenge. Some bakers turn to gimmicks to get the word out, but Jennifer Akina-Roche, co-owner of Leaf & Crumb, took a different course: she specializes in tea-infused confections. As a pharmacology student-turned-pastry chef, Akina-Rocha uniquely understands the alchemy of science, sugar, and tea leaves.

“I love the precision that, just like in chemistry, is really the key behind a great product,” she says. After 11 years of schooling, Akina-Roche left her doctorate program to cook. She enrolled in culinary school at Johnson and Wales and began to turn her scientific bent into culinary works of art.

Now, along with partner Lisa Klodnicki, she creates innovative combinations of tea-infused cupcakes, cakes, and other baked goods. Open since October, Leaf & Crumb’s pastry cases beckon with scrumptious flavors such as raspberry-Earl Grey with mixed berry buttercream; berry hibiscus streusel; blood-orange Rooibos with vanilla buttercream, and my personal favorite, sweet Asian pear (pictured) with Moscato buttercream.

Tip: If the intersection of tea and cooking interests you, check out these recipes from Bon Appétit.

4416 Eighth Ave., 303-355-0022