All images from www.bakednyc.com
So, here is the first of a feature I'll be doing from now on called Bakery Big Up. I'll be posting about bakeries that are thinking outside of the (cake) box and giving a bit more than your standard cake shack.
I thought it only right that my first post be dedicated to an establishment that has really played a big part in my taking the leap and opening my little custom order bakery - Baked in New York City. I have never been there, I have never met the owners, yet these guys hold the same principles to hear that I do - baking is about creating things that taste amazing and make people happy. The Brooklyn storefront was opened back in 2005 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.
They do not offer sheet cakes or shaped cakes, which is also my stance (except when personal friends ask really really nicely) - in their own words "It's not our thing. Because we are rather fond of that perfect proportion of filling to cake to frosting, most of our cakes are 3-layer rounds."
These guys share very similar design tastes to me - the bakery itself is decorated with faux taxidermy and they take a classic approach to their cake decoration favouring minimal tweekings in order to let the flavour take centre stage. A guy would definitely not feel silly going into this bakery and ordering themself a treat which I love - hey, guys need to splurge on sugar every now and again too right?
Matt and Renato have also published two fabulous recipe books with a third due for release on September 1st - you better believe that bad boy has been pre-ordered! You can order the first book 'Baked: New Frontiers In Baking' here... the second 'Explorations : Classic American Desserts Reinvented' here... and pre-order the third 'Elements : The Importance of Being Baked in 10 Favourite Ingredients' here.
I have made quite a lot of things from these books and never been disappointed, other than the root beer flavour not being strong enough for me in the Root Beer Bundt Cake, however a likely explanation to this is that I was using UK root beet which isn't as great as the American stuff. You will need to get hold of corn syrup for quite a lot of recipes, but this is now available in good food stores and online at various places including Amazon so it't not that big a deal.
You will most likely learn some new baking skills too - I wouldn't recommend these books for a beginner baker as some techniqes are quite advanced, but they are must haves for the serious treat maker.
One day I will make it there, hopefully on our grand tour of the US (when we finally save enough money for it) and I will sample far too many of their goods ending up in a sugar coma delirium wandering the streets somewhere in NYC, and you know what... I'm pretty sure it will be worth it.