In my experience, part of living in New York City is finding your favorite bakery; everyone needs a space of sugar and solace. Babycakes NYC is that bakery. This bakery, hidden on Broome Street between Orchard and Ludlow on the Lower East Side, is actually the beginning of Brunch with Bear. After going to the hospital in the fall of my first year, I immediately sought out Babycakes as a source of comfort and cupcakes.
Getting to Babycakes is a bit of a trek; it’s not really near any subway station. If you know where the Tenement Museum is, Babycakes is just around the corner! It’s a little bit of a walk from Little Italy and Chinatown; you know you’re headed in the right direction when you pass the Chinese Hispanic grocery store. (Only in New York, right?) There’s a big pink sign that says “BAKERY,” so it’s hard to miss it.
The first time that I stepped into Babycakes, I felt like all the stress and medicine and tears and exasperation that goes into having severe food allergies melted away. In place of all that stood a glass counter of cupcakes and cookies, and behind that counter were bakers smiling at me right along with their confections.
The walls of Babycakes are decorated like my own room: with photographs of friends and post-its of love and magazine clippings of beautiful things. The tiny shoebox of a store has more love and joy packed into one square inch than most places in the city and any place on campus.
Erin McKenna, the founder of Babycakes NYC, works incredibly hard to make her products dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, wheat-free, vegan, Kosher, and often even gluten- and white-sugar-free. I can’t tell you what’s actually in a Babycakes cupcake, but it’s definitely not any allergens.
If you, like me, are allergic to dairy and peanuts, you will know that it is an extremely rare opportunity to have more than two choices, especially for dessert. Imagine an entire counter of red velvet and brownie mint and chocolate chip and lemon poppyseed. I often stand in front of the counter for a good twenty minutes just staring, until I get the feeling that everyone’s thinking, “Just order already!”
Babycakes NYC is not limited to only New York City; they have opened a location in Orlando’s Downtown Disney, and a location on Larchmont Boulevard in my home city of Los Angeles. Though I have yet to see the Disneyworld location, I can say with confidence that the Larchmont bakery is just as pink and precious as the NYC original.
I once told a friend that it is always my dream to walk into a bakery and order anything that I want. Babycakes NYC is truly a dream come true!