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Living Life with Erin McKenna

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Every success story starts with a dream, and Erin McKenna has made hers into a reality. 

A couple of weeks ago, we spoke to Erin about her journey from fashion industry to the owner of the award-winning Bakery - Erin Mckenna’s Bakery. We distilled 5 secrets to her success below.

1. Live Your Passions

Erin has endured a lot to where she is today. She worked as a fashion magazine assistant after graduating from school. After working for one year, she quickly knew it was not what she desired to do. So she quit her job and switched gears to focus on what she really liked - DESSERTS.

“I have a sweet tooth, but I suffered from food allergies. At that time, there wasn't a single bakery that had gluten-free desserts, so I decided to start one.”

Later, she worked as a waitress at night to gain experience in food service and pay for baking materials she needed for practice. She clearly knew what she wanted and always made something out of it.

2. Meditate to Uncover Your Life Purpose

When Erin quit her fashion job, she was 27. She turned to meditation to transfer her unhappiness to connect with her life purpose. Meditation may seem like a simple breathing technique, but Erin attributes her success to it. 

During meditation, I started to look for something to make a change. Then I had a vision – I wanted to have my own business.

At that time, she created a business plan, and made her own recipes from scratch, which have laid the foundation of her business today.

3. Have A Support System

Managing a business is tough, especially when you are doing it alone. At beginning, Erin did not trust anyone and preferred to decide everything herself. 

“Learning to let go and not control everything was challenging for me, but I luckily found the right partner, Sabrina (a baker with BabyCakes since the beginning), who helps me operate the business.”

As for the personal life, like everyone else, work-life balance is also not an easy job for Erin. She said, “it’s challenging, but not that hard. I try as much as possible to connect with customers in the shop and spend my weekend with my family.”  image

4. Trust Yourself

Everyone has an opinion, and its tough to tune out the noise. 

“When I first started out, they tried to tell me what I should do. I just turn my ears down because whenever you take too much advice, it kind of clouds your vision.

In order to help young people trust themselves and not lose their path, Erin plans to speak to college students to help them with what they are doing in their lives. 

“I want to help young people to fulfill their goals in life.”

5. Listen To Your Customers

In such a customer driven industry, every opinion matters. As Erin Mckenna’s Bakery are located in NYC, LA, and Orlando, Erin aims to make sure that every one is taken care of.

“Whenever [customers] come to my bakery, they don’t need to worry about anything. They can trust us! Every branch [of Erin McKenna’s Bakery] is shaped by customer demand. People make it different.” image

We really feel that Erin Mckenna’s Bakery succeeds at making customers feel welcome and at providing delicious, gluten-free desserts. After talking to Erin, we now understand why!

Red Velvet NYC

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There’s something magical about creating your own dessert from start to finish. It’s crazy how heating up a mixture of eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and butter can create a cake. Baking is so satisfying. The process may take a while, but in the end, its worth it. Each bite takes you on a journey to explore every ingredient you've added. To those who enjoy baking or want to learn, Red Velvet NYC is where it’s at. We’re super excited to be partnered with this confectionary company soon!!! Red Velvet NYC is a rare gem offers DIY bakery boxes that contains directions and most of the ingredients needed to make a dessert (besides delicate perishables like eggs). 

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Red Velvet NYC were kind enough to let us try one of their boxes containing the contents to make a FLOURLESS chocolate cake… Gluten-free peeps unite! They even laced it with a beautiful red bow and a thank you note.

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First time bakers, have no fear - Red Velvet is here. Making flourless chocolate cake is not as hard as it looks. The ingredients (save the eggs) are all in the box, and it only takes 20 minutes to prep! 

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Believe me. You’ll start wanting to bake cakes every other week if you knew how easy it was. 

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Now it’s time to mix and melt! Following Red Velvet’s directions is straightforward and easy. Just look how amazed our intern is.

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Once it’s all mixed and melted and baked, voila! A flourless chocolate cake with a nice strawberry.  

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Thank you SO much to Red Velvet NYC for letting us try out one of your bakery boxes. In less an hour, we got to make a flourless chocolate cake from start to finish and eat it.  Who knew baking could be so fun and simple? 

Magnolia Celebrates Their 20th Birthday!!

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Magnolia Bakery will be celebrating their 20-year anniversary on Thursday, July 14, and we could not be more excited! From being a cozy corner store on Bleecker Street to being featured on popular shows like Sex and the City, to international expansion in countries like Dubai and Japan, Magnolia Bakery has gone far and beyond in the last two decades. So how is Magnolia celebrating the big 2-O? We got to sit down with the manager of the flagship store for exclusive details.

Byron has been working for Magnolia Bakery for 12 years, and his character is a testament to what the bakery stands for. He is a people person with a welcoming personality, regards his customers as clients, and greets everyone with a smile! 

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How do you feel about Magnolia becoming 20?

Byron: It’s amazing to see it grow! It really feels as if it were an actual 20-year-old person. We’ve been growing through the teenage years, slowly growing up, and figuring out how to be an adult company in a way. When I started working here 12 years ago, I never would have imagined having shops throughout the world. 

What are you doing for Magnolia’s 20th birthday?

Byron: So on July 14, we’ll be selling our classic vanilla and chocolate cupcakes for $1.25 (max. 12) at our Bleecker Street location only. We’ll also be giving out our “Bake from Scratch” scratch cards at every location, where people can win cupcakes, cakes, and birthday party passes. We’ll also have limited edition T-shirts and pens, birthday bags containing a kit to build your own cupcake, and last but not least, we’ll be introducing the confetti cupcakes, confetti cookies, and confetti ice cream sandwich! They look as great as they taste.

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When’s the best time to visit the shop?

Byron: The morning is the best time to come, because it’s not too crazy and its not as busy as the rest of the day. 

So what do you love most about Magnolia?

Byron: Our best moments are definitely when someone walks in after a long day. There will be people who are crying, or even doctors who lost their patients. They’ll come in, get a cupcake, and smile. So what I love the most are the smiles. Oh, that and people propose here all the time!

What was your most memorable experience?

Byron: Filming the SNL video. It wasn’t planned or anything, and they were filming I was like, “Oh my gosh Andy Samberg is walking on the sidewalk.” That was crazy because a couple weeks later everyone was saying, “So... Do you mack on cupcakes?”

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Where do you see Magnolia in the next 20 years? 

Byron: Magnolia will continue on expanding. We already have several in the States, one in Tokyo, and not to mention Hawaii has a tiny café where you can just sit and get cupcakes. I just feel like sky’s the limit! So much is happening in your 20s, and the minute you say you know where you’re going, you change in the opposite direction. With that said, we still want to stay true to our brand, which is giving our customers the same nostalgic feeling of eating our delicious goods. In 20 years we’ll be all over the world. 

How has Magnolia maintained such a great reputation over 20 years?

Byron: Hard work and training from our staff. Everyone that comes through we make sure that they’re taught to learn the recipe. We’re constantly tasting and re-tasting. I tell people I walk in circles during my shift because I’m always checking. I like to make sure everything stays true to our core. 

Last but not least - what flavors would you recommend?

Byron: You have to try the chocolate chocolate - it is the richest, moistest cupcake I’ve ever had in my life. And also butter cream. If you make it from our cookbook recipe, put it in vanilla ice cream and mix it with some chocolate, its SO good. And also the hummingbird cupcake. People won’t leave the store without it! And when we’ve run out, they say they’ll just come back another time.  

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Thanks to Byron and the Magnolia Bakery’s staff, we got to try out some of the cupcakes. We personally vouch for the hummingbird cupcake: it is sweet, savory, and has the perfect frosting-to-cake ratio. Magnolia is celebrating their 20th anniversary and we are absolutely ecstatic. Here’s to another 20 years! 

Chocolate Gems from Mini Melanie

Down on the Lower East Side, a ways from the basketball courts, and in the basement kitchen of a pub on Allen Street is a delicious secret. During regular business hours, the Hill & Dale Bar functions as any normal bar would (ie:booths of patrons, booze, etc.), but during the day when the bar is closed to all, it’s a hub for the cake and truffle business Mini Melanie.

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It sounds like a covert operation for something so celebratory, but when we visited and spoke to Melanie Moss, founder and confectionary mind behind Mini Melanie, it made it feel more like a hidden gem.

“It’s brought us closer to our customers,” Moss said. “We’re able to hold tastings, meet clients, and it allows us to accommodate requests for larger orders— in business, you don’t want to say no to that, so that was a sign we needed a bigger space.”

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Take one bite of a truffle or a slice of cake, and there’s really no question as to why the business, which started in November 2014 in the famous Hot Bread Kitchen, has grown so fast, earning nods like a spot in the New York City 2016 Michelin Guide and a feature on NBC’s “New York Live.”

Everything’s made from scratch, even the graham crackers or Oreo cookies used in the recipes, and it all comes out in the cake, and the delectable truffles (you seriously can’t share these or people will take them all). The recipes are part of a real passion— celebratory and sweet, as Moss said.

“I wanted to create something different and new in New York.” she said.

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Like any small business starting off, Moss wears a lot of hats: fielding emails and appointments, testing recipes in the pub’s kitchen, doing her own social media and PR, and winding down the day at the open bar for a team powwow or even having a drink and a tasting with a client.

A lot of the business’ success comes from Moss and her team doing their own PR and social media— their Instagram has some delectably delicious shots of— but while her main experience is on the pastry side, Moss said that she’s sure to surround herself with the right people for legal or finance advice. But her best advice when it comes to owning your business?

“Never say no to anything. Whether it’s a job or whether you’re trying something new in marketing. Try new things— that’s the way you’re going to learn.”

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Speed Round Sweetist Questions

1) Coffe vs. tea? Make one in the morning at home that’s a capuccino and then I make iced coffees throughout the day. I don’t remember the last time I had tea.

2) Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate.

3) First food memory? Making plum tarts with my mom and my grandma.

4) Favorite childhood sweet? Hagen Dazs ice cream.

5) Dream food project: Life long goal to one day have my own cookbook. All of our recipes don’t have ingredients that you can’t find. It’s things you’ll have at home and that definitely comes across in our flavors— homemade. Ready for my cookbook.

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You can preorder a cake or truffle box from Mini Melanie through Sweetist.

A Look Inside BAKED Tribeca

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Walking inside BAKED in Tribeca is like walking straight into the famed Brooklyn bakers’ set of cookbooks. Everything looks delectable— like a hearty delectable I-could-replace-two-of-the-required-food-groups with their whoopie pies (verify that with a nutritionist)— and it feels like you’re walking into a bakery that your mom filled with her treats straight from your childhood. Oh and it smells so freaking good.

The baked treats are truly sink-your-teeth-into-this in nature, which lends to the down to earth, homey quality that makes us love the flavors, the texture, and the simple design. Founders Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito are seriously doing the world a service by spreading the word on dense desserts and coffees cookbook recipe or cookie at a time. 

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BAKED’s Tribeca location is an enormous evolution from their Red Hook location.

Not only do they have a cake pole (a lovely ode to the previous burlesque tenant) and not only do they have enough seating to encourage trying a slice of a decked-out sprinkles cake and a cupcake and The Brookster (half brownie, half cookie) but they have a larger kitchen in the basement and a large viewing wall along the seating area, where you can ogle the bakers decorate. They also have enough seating to offer breakfast, lunch, and brunch on the weekends, so you can ogle the bakers in real time while you sip your mimosa.

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During a walk through of the kitchens (we know, we know, we felt lucky too), the spaciousness was a testament to how many NYC fans love BAKED’s treats. Two large fridges were already stacked with prepared cakes, while two decorators put on the finishing touches to new orders. 

The basement kitchen had large work tables to spread out trays of cookie dough on sheets and to allow freshly made cake loaves to cool (seriously, best smell ever).

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We weren’t surprised when we heard that BAKED was looking into expanding into classes for decorating, baking, and for kids in this location (TBD of course, but we’re already antsy to see a sign-up list). And of course, they have tons of room to cater tastings on the weekends (and to build out recipes downstairs).

But in the mean time, while we wait, we’ll enjoy the Tribeca location (hope for a meet-cute run-in with Taylor Swift or Jay with Bey while we do so) and enjoy the treats as a spectator. Which is just fine by us and the pie, tarts, and cake we’ll use to solace ourselves.

But, seriously, as one sweet freak to another, good luck trying to figure out what you want from the cake pole. Just try.

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A Taste of Home at Billy’s Bakery

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Over the past few years, Manhattanites have become increasingly obsessed with modernism and minimalism. With its bright lighting, cheerful yellow brick walls, and 1940s style decor, Billy’s Bakery is a refreshing contrast. 

Founded in 2003 by a pair of business school graduates with a sweet tooth, Billy’s has quickly become a staple in the New York bakery scene. They now have three Manhattan bakeries located in Chelsea, Tribeca, and The Plaza Food Hall.

It’s not only the atmosphere that evokes nostalgia. The menu, filled with classics like banana pudding and chocolate cake, is charmingly reminiscent of sweeter, simpler times. The mission of Billy’s Bakery is to bring their customers “back to a time when a bite of something sweet could make the world a little brighter.” If you have a taste for desserts with a homemade taste and beautiful presentation, then Billy’s Bakery deserves a spot on the top of your list.

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Even New Yorkers can’t resist a tried and true family recipe, especially when it comes to sweets. No matter how many times you try the desserts at Billy’s Bakery, they always taste so delicious it’s like you’ve never had them before. 

Take, for example, their Banana Cupcakes. Delightfully moist and tasty, these cupcakes are like a sweeter version of banana bread. Simple, but surprisingly difficult to master, the banana cupcake is a classic American dessert, with the added benefit of being healthier than most cupcakes—although you wouldn’t know it from the taste.

The most impressive thing about the cupcakes at Billy’s Bakery is their cream cheese icing, which is infinitely smooth and melty. Paired with the banana cupcake, made with buttermilk and fresh bananas, the results are absolutely dreamy.

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Aside from cupcakes, the folks at Billy’s Bakery are masters of delicious desserts for bigger occasions. What American birthday party is complete without the perfect cake?

The ideal cake is an elusive thing. A cake in its truest form should be fluffy, yet rich. Sweet, yet flavorful. Perhaps the biggest challenge of finding the perfect cake is choosing something that will please everyone. Billy’s Bakery has found the solution in their Famous Icebox Cake (pictured above), a sumptuous treat with fresh whipped cream (chocolate, peppermint, or vanilla) layered between chocolate wafer cookies—also available in cake cup form. The whipped cream adds a light, creamy texture to the decadent chocolatey taste, achieving the perfect balance of flavor.

Aside from their amazing desserts, the best thing about Billy’s Bakery is their warmth, kindness, and hospitality, an attitude that goes right into everything they bake. Billy’s Bakery is a cozy, friendly establishment, where all the employees are deeply passionate about amazing sweets.

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Sweetist is thrilled to be partnering with Billy’s Bakery to offer their amazing selection of desserts and baked goods for delivery. See the full menu on our website here. Whether you choose their red velvet cupcakes, banana pudding cups, or blueberry cheesecake, there’s really no way of going wrong.

Best Places to Get Baked Goods Delivered in NYC


Sweetist is the only delivery service exclusively for baked goods and desserts. Our goal is to make it easier to celebrate any occasion with great food from local bakeries. We deliver to Manhattan, up to 125th St., and to some parts of Brooklyn. Check us out, our list of bakeries is growing rapidly!


When a sugar craving strikes, a go-to place for ordering baked goods is essential. Living in New York City means that there is an abundance of amazing bakeries nearby at all times. Thanks to online ordering, you can get fresh-baked delicacies delivered right to your door without getting out of your pajamas. We took a close look at all of your options, and these 7 places took the cake.

1. Insomnia Cookies

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Insomnia Cookies is famous for offering fresh, warm cookies until 3AM. They have a variety of locations around Manhattan (mostly near NYU). Popular offerings include Double Chocolate Chunk and S’more Jumbo Deluxe. In addition to cookies, they also deliver ice cream and cold milk. Deliveries cost $1.50 and usually take around 30-45 minutes.

2. Seamless/Grubhub

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Why stop at dinner? Despite the fact that Seamless (now partnered with Grubhub) is best known for quick dinners and appetizers, you can find a few bakeries under the Seamless “dessert” category. Most of these bakeries have delivery minimums, but Seamless is great for a last-minute treat for when you’re having guests over and you already ate all the cookie dough.

3. Postmates

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Postmates is one of the most well-known sites for ordering desserts in NYC, largely because of their partnerships with Momofuku Milk Bar and Dominique Ansel. Although they do charge a service fee and a delivery fee, Postmates is undoubtedly convenient when you need a sugary pick-me-up alongside your paper towels and diet soda from the Postmates General Store. The cronuts are calling.

4. Caviar

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With a focus on independent, high-end restaurants, Caviar is a nationwide service for food delivery. Their restaurants are required to have at least 4 stars on Yelp and a minimum of 1,000 reviews. At this time they only offer a handful of baked goods to NYC, but their list includes artisanal favorites like Prohibition Bakery (boozy cupcakes!) and Doughnuttery (adorable mini doughnuts!).

5. Delivery.com

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Delivery.com is an online delivery service that includes booze, groceries and even laundry. At this time, they only have a few bakery/cafe partners, including Seven Grams Caffe. Let’s hope they’ll add more soon. What goes better with fresh laundry than cupcakes?

6. Milk & Cookies Bakery

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Like Insomnia Cookies, the folks at Milk & Cookies Bakery do their own deliveries between 11AM and 5pm. Be aware that they charge a delivery fee for delivery locations outside of the West Village, and the minimum order is $25. Get ready to eat a lot of cookies.

7. UberEats

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Uber is slowly taking over New York City, one smartphone at a time. Their new service, UberEats, offers a fixed menu delivered by Uber drivers within the hours of 11AM and 2PM. In addition to the regular lunches, they occasionally offer dessert: like the Famous Banana Pudding from Magnolia Bakery, which was only $1 for the #FoodBankFriday charity fundraiser.

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If you’ve already tried all the other options without success, if you lie awake at night thinking about brownies, if you can’t think straight without a morning muffin or at least a scone in your system...

We’d love for you to check out Sweetist!