The European-trained confections crafter behind The Velvet Chocolatier designs and hand-makes each chocolate confection from pure ingredients undiluted by liquors or preservatives. The Velvet Chocolatier places focus on the texture and intensity of treats, rather than on sweetness, coating tongues with tempered chocolate bark speckled with nuts, dried fruit, and memories of the nougat-filled trees it came from. The milk-chocolate bark, emblazoned with tart cranberries and crispy pepitas, snaps apart in satisfying bites, and toffee bark brandishes toffee bits in a luxurious dark chocolate. A single-serving, 2-ounce nut cluster comes in the form of an edible frisbee of dark chocolate bursting with toasted almonds or a colorful disk of blueberries and green pistachios set against a white-chocolate canvas.
Of all of New York’s exports, perhaps one of the most ubiquitous is the New York–style bagel. In the early 20th century, a Polish immigrant named Isador Goldberg came to New York and brought his own recipe for this classic baked good with him, and it’s in his honor that the owners of Goldberg’s New York Bagels decided to name their shop. The Zagat-rated bakers still use Goldberg’s original recipe, assembling ingredients from scratch, boiling the halos of dough, and finally baking them to give each bagel the perfect crunch that pairs well with a schmear of cream cheese or a layer of lox. Though the bagels come in a range of sweet and savory flavors, all of them are kosher-certified and easily pair with other breakfast items such as omelets, four flavors of blintzes, and waffles. The shop opens at 7 a.m. to serve both breakfast and lunch all day, allowing clients to stock up on staples such as sandwiches, frozen yogurt, or salad-bar selections all day long.
Bakers Park's cakesmiths are visual artists, using buttercream and fondant like a painter uses watercolors and buttercream. They draw from a large palette, mixing batter into flavors such as chocolate or red velvet. Eventually, all of these components come together into an elaborate design, such as a birthday cake shaped like a giant cheeseburger, or a baby shower cake that looks like a kid's shoe. And while they specialize in these sorts of cakes, not everything the bakers create is destined for a party. They also make cookies, cupcakes, pies, and other everyday treats.
Though their processes are meticulous, there are no secret recipes at Bakers Park. The bakers happily teach the tricks of their trade to curious would-be confectioners during cake classes.
Bedazzled Treats bakes confections that please the eye as much as the palate. Flower-pedal-shaped frosting and swirls of blue and white adorn owners Monet and Troy's creative cupcakes, which are often topped with candy or strawberries. Beyond the creamy cupcakes, Bedazzled whips up innovated parfait shooters spiked with moscato, fruit kebobs that skewer chocolate-drizzled pineapple, banana, and kiwi, and sheet cakes decorated with personalized messages such as "Happy 5th Birthday" or the riveting final chapter of War and Peace.
A stack of pumpkins, a penguin, and a Barbie doll rarely share an origin story, but the pastry chefs at SugarBakers Cakes have hand-crafted all three from moist cake and frosting. They create cakes that range from classic carrot cakes to lifelike 3D confections, incorporating ingredients such as chocolate mousse, lemon curd, and coconut pecan icing. Honored by The Knot, WeddingWire, and four other establishments for their 2013 wedding cakes, the chefs can tailor their designs to suit a wedding’s unique theme or a reception venue.