A new cafe and expanded class offerings can be found at the baker’s heaven.
NY Cake is cooking up a comeback.
In June, the premier baking store decided to close its home of more than 25 years in the Flatiron District and seek a new building. And now it’s back, with a bigger, brighter location that’s only 500 feet from its previous location.
On Thursday, NY Cake celebrates its grand opening at 118 W. 22nd St., just across Sixth Avenue from the original, which nearly doubles the footprint to 5,700 square feet.
Fans of the family-run store will find its extensive stock of baking supplies, from pans of all shapes and sizes to decorative chocolates in more than a dozen colors to any cookie cutter imaginable.
But they’ll also be treated to a first for the store — an on-site cafe — as well as expanded class offerings that can accommodate twice as many students.
“Before we did only decorating,” said Lisa Mansour, who runs the store with her sister, Jenny Kashanian, and their mother, Joan Mansour. “Now we have a full-fledged kitchen with ovens and a refrigerator. We’re able to do baking classes. We’re able to do so much more.”
The calendar offerings range from seasonal classes in Halloween cupcakes and Thanksgiving desserts to introductions to cake decorating and fondant to more advanced decorating.
The cafe, slated to open Thursday too, will offer tea and coffee, baked goods and cakes made in-house and doughnuts from Du’s Donuts.
“We’re trying to find the best from whatever we don’t make,” Lisa said.
Doing their own thing
Beyond baked goods, NY Cake also designs a variety of its own retail products, from cupcake-shaped oven mitts to unicorn molds to sparkly cake stands.
“All of our customers want bling,” Lisa said. “Dessert tables are so popular now, but it’s hard to find pretty cake stands. We make them very fancy and bling.”
Over the years, the store has become a — if not the — destination for NYC bakers, amateur and professional alike, as well as TV cooking shows. When asked how they gained that reputation, Lisa said: “I don’t think about it. I don’t worry about any other stores. We just do our own thing.”
Best-sellers include sprinkles, baking chocolate and silicone molds. There’s also that varied selection of cookie cutters, which takes up nearly a full wall.
“I don’t think there’s a place in the whole world that has this selection,” Lisa said. “If you can’t find it here it doesn’t exist.”
The store has also evolved as trends and practices have changed, evidenced by the plethora of unicorn gear and now-standard products like fondant.
“When we started, there was not even fondant,” Lisa said. “Everything was plastic on a cake. We used to sell a lot of plastic to go on cake. Now it’s a lot of fondant.”
Today, Lisa oversees the cafe and classes, while Jenny manages the retail side, which includes e-commerce. Before there was NY Cake, the sisters grew up watching their mother, Joan, host cake decorating classes at their Midwood dining room table and accompanying her to cake shows.
“She really was the pioneer of cake decorating in the city in the ’70s,” Lisa said. “No one understood what it was. She loved it. She would take classes and travel. That’s how we learned.”
Eventually, Joan moved her operation, then called The Chocolate Gallery, to the back of her husband’s midtown cosmetics store in 1980. When he retired, the operation moved yet again, before landing on West 22nd Street in 1992 and becoming NY Cake. Now it’s experiencing, yet again, a new stage.
“It just sort of evolved,” Joan said. “It’s an exciting field, it’s constantly changing. It’s challenging. And it brings happiness to people’s lives.”