When he was only 7 years old, Tonnie's Minis founder Tonnie Rozier started cooking confections alongside his grandmother. As he grew older, he realized baking was more than a childhood pastime, and went on to found an at-home baking business. By 2005, he had so many orders that he quit his job to field ever-growing requests for his sweets. Soon, Tonnie found himself filling orders for all corners of the Big Apple, ranging from everyday Brooklynites to Jay-Z and P. Diddy. Today, he leads his crew of confectioners in hand-crafting a menu of notable cupcakes that have competed on Food Network's Cupcake Wars and nourished the studio audience of The Wendy Williams Show in the moments after a massive food fight.
The shop’s rotating list of flavors includes signature carrot cupcakes made with hand-peeled organic carrots by Tonnie himself and moist red velvet dainties crowned with cream-cheese icing. As the seasons change, the lineup shifts to incorporate flavors that represent the time of year, such as Halloween cupcakes, colorful dainties for spring, and morsels with the date of Secretary's Day written in their frosting.
[[m:####Apple Cafe and Bakery
A rush of warm air fills the kitchen as the head baker, Babu, opens the shining silver door of his oven. The spice-laden aroma of carrot cake lures Babu’s kitchen crew to his side, where they slide the fresh-baked creation onto the counter and prepare to spread a rich, cream-cheese icing across its top.
So passes a normal day behind the scenes at Apple Cafe and Bakery, a quaint and cozy shop known locally for crafting delicious handmade pies, cookies, brownies, and cakes. Babu bustles about the kitchen throughout the day, checking on the consistency of his flourless cakes and fruity muffins and fending off monkeys anxious for a taste of his signature banana pudding. Far removed from the hubbub in the kitchen, guests seated in the quiet café sip on mugs of just-brewed coffee while chatting with friends or curling up with a book.:m]]
An afterschool job became a career for Jessica Echevarria, who first honed her culinary prowess as a high schooler under the tutelage of master bakers at Soutine—a popular Manhattan bakery. Armed with degrees from the Taylor Business Institute, Jessica embarked upon an entrepreneurial adventure when she put her intimate knowledge of cupcakes, wedding cakes, and French pastry on display at One Cup Two Cupcakes. Creative cupcakes and gourmet pies line the shop’s shelves, and custom cakes and cupcake-tower displays bloom beneath Jessica's deft hands, which also regularly hand out baked goods to homeless shelters and afterschool programs.
Baker Amy Noelle, featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides magazine, and the Style network, crafts exquisitely decorated cakes adorned in her signature realistic sugar flowers. Most of the bakery’s ingredients are supplied by Amy's agriculturally inclined friends in Upstate New York, who she enlists in forming seasonal flavors that incorporate honey harvested from NYC apiaries and fresh fruit grown in Cooks Falls. Sharing her wealth of baking knowledge, she hosts two-hour classes in which clients can learn the artistry of baking artfully decorated cakes or sophisticated sugar flowers, which can be replanted in your garden to prank bees.
Zaro's Bakery satisfies with an array of smile-inducing treats and savory snacks. Start the day with boiled and baked Zaro's Bagels ($1.10) or freshly baked kosher muffins ($2.10), washing them down with a steamy latte ($2.95) or a cup of coffee ($1.45). The expansive lunch menu features sammies served on traditional challah bread including black-forest ham and swiss ($6.95) and tuna salad with lettuce and tomato ($5.95), as well as pitas ($5.95 at 37th Street location, $6.95 at 920 Broadway) that can be customized with a mouth-watering array of meat, veggies, and dressings.
Butter Lane's cupcake connoisseurs imbue curious cooks with the power to frost cupcakes in traditional American style, earning the outfit a featured spot on Martha Stewart and Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate. During the one-hour Cupcakes 101 class, small groups of about 12 students don aprons and proceed to fully stocked prep stations to make Butter Lane's delectable frostings. Sweet-toothed snackers learn the recipes for Butter Lane's classic American chocolate, vanilla-bean, and cream-cheese flavors and even make their own versions of non-traditional toppings such as raspberry, peanut butter, and cinnamon. Once recipes have been mastered, students clothe bare cupcakes with custom designs and learn the secret to Butter Lane's technique and signature swirl, eventually competing for the prize of Best Icer in a stadium arena. When the class concludes, students take home recipes and a barbershop's dozen of four deliciously and personally prepared cupcakes.