We’ve recently been talking to Berkshire-based baker and recipe writer, Martha Collison, about her trip to New York and the culinary treats which can be found there. Martha is known for her various TV appearances as well as her weekly column in Waitrose Weekend newspaper. And her passion for baking can never be questioned, using a trip to the Big Apple to find the finest bakeries and sweet treats.
You can view many of Martha’s brilliant recipes, and find out more about the baker herself, over on her Baking Martha website. But for now, read on for her cake-filled view of New York City.
On a recent trip to New York, I’d spend afternoons hunting for the best cakes and bakes in the city. You only have to type the word ‘bakery’ into Google Maps whilst exploring the streets of the Big Apple for hundreds to pop up – at least one on every street. New York is made up of so many cultures, and this is clearly reflected in its bakeries. You can find German, Japanese, Scandinavian and all-American bake shops all on the same street, and all have a completely different feel.
A favourite of mine was Magnolia Bakery, located just off 5th avenue. One thing to note about the best bakeries in NYC is that you have to queue for or fight for your cake. Magnolia is the latter; the tiny, vintage bakery is so packed that you have to shout over the crowds to get your hands on a perfectly formed cupcake. The windows and glass displays are piled high with the most beautiful yet delicious looking layer cakes. The no-frills attitude to baking is one I also live by, favouring a deliciously sticky caramel drizzled cake over a fancy, fondant-covered sponge. There are individual cheesecakes, delicate cupcakes and a whole section of the counter dedicated to traybakes. The whole experience leaves you feeling like you’ve jumped back in time to America in the 1960s – so naturally, the best place to enjoy your box of purchases is rowing through Central Park.
Another fantastic discovery was the Momofuku Milk Bar. Apart from the slightly inappropriate sounding name, this bakery is cutting edge with new and innovative bakes. Famed for it’s Cereal Milk ice-cream, we gave this a try first. Sweet and creamy, with a curiously salty embellishment of crushed cornflakes, it was a perfect cooler from the 30oC temperatures of the day and the crowds we were fighting through. But, that was bettered by the Crack Pie. A toasted oat crust filled with a butter filling doesn’t sound like much, but it was the most heavenly thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Gooey, sweet yet salty butterscotch encased in chewy, buttery pastry was simply divine – and not healthy in the slightest, which made it even better.
It would be wrong to write a whole article about New York bakeries without throwing Dominique Ansell into the ring. Renowned and credited with the creation of the cronut, people queue from 6AM to get their hands on the hybrid croissant-doughnut. I wish I had the integrity to say I braved the early start, but unfortunately, my trip was short and sweet, and I couldn’t drag myself out of bed quite early enough. The world-famous bakery also sells Cookie Shots, which sounds like a dream to me. Warm, freshly baked cookies, shaped into shot glasses and filled with cold, creamy milk. I was gutted not to manage a trip there, but do not fear.
Dominique Ansell is opening a London branch soon and I am beyond excited. All the best-selling classics, plus a whole range of London exclusives, including Welsh Rarebit Croissants, Salted Honey Tarts and Banoffee Paella. I’ll be checking it out, and I highly recommend you to do for a little taste of New York in London.
Transatlantic Cruise with Cunard Line
Or, if you want to experience the real deal, why not combine it with one of the world’s most iconic cruise itineraries – Transatlantic with QM2. Cunard Line’s signature ship, the Queen Mary 2, has delighted innumerate guests atop this glorious route between Southampton and New York over the years. This famous cruise route is steeped in history and intrigue – complete with the opportunity to explore the Big Apple at the end of the journey.
Cunard Line revels in the classic traditions and spirit of leisure cruises, with charming entertainment, exquisite food and attentive service all provided in enchanting surroundings. Whilst New York may be considered ‘the city that never sleeps’, your time aboard the QM2 will be far more relaxing. And if searching out delightful bakeries in NYC is enough hard work, QM2 can always take you back on the return journey to Southampton.