It’s a mystery to no one that Westchester County is teeming with terrific bakeries, yet as if we’re living in some kind of Groundhog Day loop, so many of our conversations — particularly around the holidays — begin with: Who makes the best…? Where can I find…? Where should I go for…? We toss those questions against the edit staff like hot apple pies into paper-lined boxes when curating guides like these. So, we’re pretty confident we’ve got you covered for where to find the freshest and tastiest cakes, pies, cookies, pastries, bread, and more — for the holidays or whenever that pesky tooth demands a sweet treat.
Piece of Cake
Delite Bake Shop
For nearly 90 years, this family-run bake shop has been delighting customers with all manner of Italian pastries and classic celebration cakes, and with their unforgettable strawberry shortcake, they simultaneously stay in their lane and hit it out of the park. Fresh and fluffy house-made whipped cream blankets a light-as-air vanilla sponge cake that shelters fresh strawberries and another layer of luscious whip; so light, so fresh, we like to think of it as health food.
For committed chocoholics that are tempted by this brilliant-white creation but remain wholly unfulfilled, the Molly Brown cake fills the bill with chocolate sponge cake, layers of fresh strawberries and bananas, and that addictive whipped cream. Still too amateur? Rich and decadent chocolate mousse should do the trick.
La Flor De Jalisco Bakery
Port Chester; 914.937.5305
Lovingly named for the vibrant pink flower that beautifies the Mexican state of Jalisco, owner/baker Lilia Rojas attracts tres leche lovers like bees to honey. Her signature caramel tres leche cake is born from a recipe handed down from her grandfather (who owned a bakery in Puebla in the 1920s), and every bite is scratch made, even the silky caramel.
Classic buttercream cakes are the rage in Mexico, so Rojas bakes up plenty, but she’s becoming increasingly known for her striking fondant cakes. “We like to stay current and give our customers what’s trending,” Rojas says. “And you can do so many artistic things with fondant that you can’t do with buttercream.” If a customer can dream it, Rojas says she can make it, thanks to a rock-solid team that includes her husband and kids.
Lulu Cake Boutique
When the intention is to impress or simply partake in next-level indulgence, you call on pro-baking partners, Jay Muse and Victor Gonzalez, who’s primary focus is cake, plain and simple — but with showstopping adornments and sinfully creative fillings. Spun from farm-fresh dairy, local fruits, faraway spices, and specialty chocolate, nuts, and liqueurs, these eminently edible works of art are the undeniable life of the party. Each one is customizable top to bottom, inside and out, though popular standbys like the aptly named Glazey River with praline crunch and bittersweet chocolate glaze, and Love Story (vanilla cake, elderflower syrup, yuzu marmalade, white chocolate buttercream) take the proverbial cake.
When a masterpiece of cake is not on your menu of the moment but the craving is real for a hit of the good stuff, order up a jumbo-sized black and white cookie or a too-cute twinkie.
Decorative, eye-catching flowers crafted from fresh, real-butter buttercream, adorn the masterwork cakes here, making them instantly recognizable (and undoubtedly visible from the Hubble), but when you cut them down to size, they make the most exquisite cupcakes. Lush chocolate mousse or whipped cream swirled with crushed Oreos atop a fluffy chocolate cupcake is a must-have, and it’s no surprise those to-die-for toppings find their way into the layers of signature cakes. (You heard it here first: The Tarrytown location is ramping up cupcake production for the new year; plan accordingly.)
If the goal, however, is to go big or go home, don’t miss the citrus cake (orange olive oil cake with lemon zest cream cheese layered in and lathered on top) which is also fashioned into readily available cupcakes for those dismal diet days.
Beyond the Cake
Martine’s Fine Bake Shoppe
They say if you know, you know, and it’s a safe bet that everyone in Westchester (and the surrounding borders) knows all about the babka — particularly the chocolate babka — that’s baked on the daily at this sweet brother and sister shop. Appearing from a distance as a dark, dense log, the traditional goodie here is featherlight when sliced; richly hued and warmly flavorful too.
If you’re in the market for more of a handheld, bakers Tal Campana and Yuval Golan are expert at highly munchable French macarons (in an array of tantalizing flavors), though their deeply indulgent kouign-amann, filled with house-made custard or banana-Nutella, is the new sweet score.
Seth Greenberg’s Just Desserts
Baked goods are inherently soul-soothing, but a done-right coffee cake takes comfort confections to the next-level cozy place. For this winner, a sour-cream-based yeast dough is rolled flat, washed with butter, then blanketed with brown sugar and cinnamon. The butter and brown-sugar glaze on the bottom and the cinnamon crumbs up top take this nosh over the, well, top.
Small-batch brownies are also not to be missed, and in the cake department, buckle up for six flavors of cheesecake and signature burst cake: sponge cake with a center of luscious lemon curd, chocolate mousse, or pumpkin for Thanksgiving. And the carrot cake? “We’re ready to take on Lloyd’s as the best carrot cake,” Greenberg says.
La Tulipe Desserts
Mount Kisco; latulipedesserts.com
Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not make it the best, most memorable one too? Early birds flock here for a mouthwatering array of oven-fresh breakfast pastries, particularly the flaky and buttery cousin-to-the-croissant: the kouign-amann. Conceived from caramelized dough, it sports a crunchy exterior and soft center. For committed connoisseurs of croissants, this is your spot for delicate arcs of almond, chocolate, and raspberry-swirls, plus the elusive everything iteration.
For something sweeter, delectable and adorable individual desserts, like mini lemon meringues and petite pear-almond tarts, prove to be especially pop-able.
Itty Bitty Bites
When the occasion calls for one of the finest cookies money can buy, many thoughts turn to the French macaron, and devotees make a beeline for this inviting sister and sister shop. An eye-popping rainbow of colors brings the display cases to life, making it nearly impossible to pick and choose without sampling each one.
Mariana and Maria Delgado Gambini hail from Argentina but they bake like they were bred in Paris, and this is also the case with their hot-selling breakfast pastries. Plain and almond croissants are soft and subtle morning pleasers, while bolder pan au chocolat (with Valrhona chocolate) refuses to go quietly into the night. In addition, Danish runs the gamut from sweet to savory, with pear-almond and bacon and egg seizing the day.
Los Andes Bakery
Sleepy Hollow; 914.631.3256
For a sweet immersion in South American culture that doesn’t require a passport, zip over to this busy Rivertown bakery that is bursting at the seams with traditional Chilean confections. Pick up a baker’s dozen of authentic alfajores, flour-based sandwich cookies filled with silken dulce de leche and rolled in coconut or dipped in chocolate; or consider the cachito manjar, a horn-shaped pastry that also includes a dulce de leche surprise inside. For the ultimate in cross-border indulgence, hojarasca, known also as thousand-layer cake, is a veritable mountain of sticky puffy pastry topped with meringue. Extra napkins are an essential.
Boleria Brazilian Bakery
Translated from Portuguese, Boleria means cakery, but it’s the traditional brigadeiro that steal the show. Best defined as a Brazilian chocolate truffle, these ultra-decadent nuggets are made with condensed milk and decorated with sprinkles and swirls by the hand of baker, Carolina Figueiredo, who was born in Brazil and reveals a window to her native home with every bite. Milk, dark, and white chocolate are the classic brigadeiro flavors with lemon, coconut, churro, pistachio, and walnut taking the experience up a notch.
In the savory section, authentic Brazilian cheese bread (pão de queijo), a popular snack in Rio, is just as warm and satisfying on this side of the equator.
Westchester’s one-stop shop for small-batch, sugar-high-inducing cookies and bars is this chummy little bakery founded by Lauren Gibaldi and Miranda Bucciero, a pair of BFF pastry chefs who clicked in the culinary lab. Chocolate chippers and colorful funfetti cookies are easy, cheery crowd pleasers, and over on the bar side, super chocolatey brownies, peanut butter pretzel blondies, and “sassy” brownies baked with Oreos beg to be savored over a carton of milk.
Tummy-warming biscuits and scones are a solid way to start to the day, swaying both sweet and savory, while muffins and mini loaves feature blueberries, chocolate paired with zucchini, and vegan and gluten-free varieties. Come Friday, make it a point to pick up a fresh-baked challah.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
By The Way Bakery
Like any bakery worth its salt, everything here is scratch- and house-made in small batches, with the added bonus of being dairy- and gluten-free and certified kosher. Chocolate chip cookies are the longstanding sweet score, but “our almond cookies outsell them by a small margin,” says baker/owner Helene Godin. With a crunchy exterior swaddling a moist center, we know why.
At a classic Italian bakery (named for the town from which the Colalillo family of bakers emigrated), you’d expect to find traditional treats like cannoli, even an éclair or a Napoleon in the mix, but the sweet surprise is the menu of mini pastries they regularly whip up. Decorated with brightly-colored buttercream flowers or chocolate-drizzled whipped cream, these are the pastries you’ll want to present to the host who asked you to please bring dessert. Totally cute and completely customizable, order a batch with chocolate mousse in place of custard or add in a splash of fruit and call these diminutive desserts healthy.
Less sugary and just as sensational are the biscotti, which you can’t miss — they’re stocked on the well-labeled Old World Biscotti Wall and come in traditional-hard and also soft for palates that prefer less of a wake-the-dead crunch.
Fleetwood Bakery Shop
Mount Vernon; westchestercakes.com
If something called a lobster tail…from a butter, flour, and sugar shop…can be considered legendary, this is it. Those in the know also view it as dangerous because, despite the considerable size that’s crafted at this family-run neighborhood spot, the urge to consume more than one tugs strongly. Owner Enzo Cutaia partly attributes this to the filling: “Our house-made, one-of-a-kind Bavarian cream.” Mixed with custard and whipped cream, it’s brilliantly white with just the right level of sweetness. Layers of crunchy pastry keep it a secret until that first bite.
Also filled with that Bavarian cream, the strawberry shortcake bombolini boasts fresh strawberries, a dusting of powdered sugar, and near legendary status.
L’anjou Pâtisserie Française
Mount Kisco; lanjoupatisserie.com
Named for the region in which owner/ baker Patrice Yvon grew up, this classic patisserie may be humbly tucked away at the back of a tiny, nondescript shopping strip, but it beckons with big city cred. Inside its gleaming display case, alongside expertly crafted cakes, breakfast pastries, and pies, lies a creation akin to a hotdog playing dress up: the ubiquitous éclair. This delicate custard-filled tube d’heaven comes in three flavors: traditional (vanilla custard, chocolate icing), chocolate, and coffee. Each is effervescently light and just sweet enough to remind you that is indeed a dessert and it’s possible to overdo it.
Similarly, Yvon’s Napoleon sways airy and sweet, but not cloyingly so, and can be enjoyed as an indulgent personal treat or a sharable cake.
Break bread at these bakeries and discover that indeed one can live on bread alone.
What began as a bustling home-based bread-baking business has blossomed into a charm-filled, bistro-style café where bread baker extraordinaire, Anne Mayhew, crafts bread on the daily from regionally sourced, freshly milled organic flour. A hearty handful of varietals grace the house-made reclaimed walnut shelves, but the basis of all her breads is classic sourdough — which is not sour at all, but simply refers to the oldest method of making bread “where you rely on natural leavening present on the grain and in the air, instead of adding yeast,” Mayhew says.
Classic Bedford Sourdough (whole wheat, rye, water, sea salt) is the top seller, along with baguettes and monkey bread (croissant dough layered with cinnamon and sugar). But for Mayhew, the two-kilo miche, fashioned from wheat, rye, spelt, water, and salt, is where it’s at. “It’s a world and ecosystem of flavor and personality.”
The Kneaded Bread
181 N Main St, Port Chester; kneadedbread.com
Although soup is a hot draw at this perpetually hopping shop, when Jennifer and Jeffrey Kohn opened for business a quarter century ago it was to bring artisan bread to the community. That foundation stands strong today with 17 varieties of bread baked daily; and a hearty roll (sourdough, multigrain, potato rosemary, or the one studded with sunflower seeds) on the house with each cup of soup.
Simple seeded Italian bread is a standout here, as it’s actually a sourdough, made without yeast. A generous smattering of sesame seeds receives a perfect toasting in the oven. “We bake this more well-done,” says Jennifer. She calls this her top pick, citing the mini multigrain — which enjoys more seeds and grain than it’s larger pullman and boule brothers — as second runner up.
Chocolate lovers swoon over the specialty chocolate bread, but for Jennifer, it’s all about the chocolate challah. “We cover it with standard sugar which is crunchy, and the semi-sweet chocolate chunks are so good.” Heaven, after a hot cup of soup.
La Parisienne French Bakery and Café
Traditional French bread — toasty on the outside, airy on the inside — is baked fresh daily here with baguettes and batards sharing counter space with sourdough rounds, multigrain and Nordic loafs, and rustic whole wheat baguettes. The cranberry walnut loaf is surely the baker’s kiss, and while some argue that a croissant is actually a pastry, the lusty multigrain croissant is the quintessential breakfast bread in our book.
Grab a sweet and sit for a spell at these cozy bakery cafés.
Susan Lawrence Gourmet Foods
Always busy, yet somehow serene and exceptionally civilized, this downtown mainstay is a go-to for ladies who lunch and anyone who has the urge to steal away at breakfast time for a fresh-baked buttermilk or chocolate chip scone, croissant, or a raspberry-jam-filled cinnamon doughnut muffin. Don’t leave without a hot-ticket cinnamon or chocolate babka (or both), and if cake is in order, make it Black Forest, and celebrate over the absence of a goopy cherry filling. “A truly authentic Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte,” says owner/baker Mark Kramer, “is a dreamy creation with rich chocolate cake layers infused with Kirschwasser, dark cherries, fresh whipped cream, and curls of dark chocolate.”
Red Barn Bakery
Rough-hewn tables and exposed red brick make for a warm, rustically refined setting, one that seems designed for leisurely lingering over a signature jelly doughnut muffin, an apple pie roll-up, or nourishing breakfast cookie. For the road, consider a flourless chocolate cake made with Italian dark chocolate or an apple salted-caramel crumb pie. At holiday time, brownie-bottom cheesecake topped with raspberry preserves makes an anticipated appearance, while typically seasonal rugelach and hamantachen have become yearlong standbys. “They’ve taken on a life of their own,” says owner/baker Randell Dodge. “My father was Hungarian so I think that’s channeling through.”
Pies and Tarts
Baked By Susan
Baking since she was eight, Susan O’Keefe is today known far and wide for her pies — partly due to her ethereal all-butter crusts. With no shortening in site, O’Keefe’s crusts comprise just flour, water, salt, and unsalted butter. Made by hand daily, hearty apple pie is a consistent top seller with fresh, gooey cherry pie a sweet second (and the baker’s personal fav). Fruit is local when in season, and custard and cream pies get equal exposure on the daily menu.
Utilizing the same standout crust, hand-made empanadas have become a consistent crave. Stuffed with savory fillings from chicken to black beans, it’s like dinner and dessert in one scrumptious bite.
La Renaissance Pâtisserie Française
Following your nose along a curved, narrow side street just off the village main drag, you won’t be alone in imagining you’ve been whisked away to a petite European city — one foot across the threshold and the feeling is confirmed. In keeping with the transporting aura, the humble apple pie here is turned on its head (literally), conjuring the most exquisite apple tarte Tatin this side of the Seine. Peach, pear, plum, and other fruit tarts prove just as devour-able, and baked-daily breakfast pastries make for a magnifique morning.
For a loftier bite, La Renaissance Cake is a riff on the classic dacquoise sans the buttery biscuit base. It’s assembled from layers of almond meringue, whipped cream, chocolate cream, mocha buttercream, and toasted almonds, and it’s 100% gluten free and gorgeous.
Enrico’s Pastry Shop
Creativity in the kitchen is a given for a baker and very few do it quite like Joseph Floriano, master of the illustrious cronut. It’s the perfect hybrid, when you stop to chew on it: Buttery croissant dough shaped into an orb, glitzed up with a caramelized glaze, and topped off with a swirl of cream infused with berries, pistachios, Nutella, you name it. “He’s creative and he wanted something different,” says son Nick, who helps run the family business. And why stop there? Floriano takes that same trusty croissant dough, marries it with the stuff that bagel dreams are made of, and voilà: the cragel. Order a cinnamon raisin one, slather it with apple-strudel cream cheese, and embrace your own creative side.
Pretty as a picture and soft as a feather pillow, these uber-fresh, generously frosted plain and filled doughnuts and mini doughnuts are as light as they are decorative. Whisper soft pastels or dazzling designs make them ideal for special occasions, with customizable color schemes pairing with any party theme.
For a heartier bite, the crispy-outside, chewy-inside chocolate chip cookies are among the best in the county.
Since 1956, the Galloway family has been perfecting the simple art of old-fashioned, American-style baked goods, and their sublime, sought-after jelly doughnut drives that ethos home faster than a hand mixer set to turbo. Sweet luscious goo is hand-piped into these super-soft pockets of melt-in-the mouth bliss, and each is appropriately coated in powdered sugar. Precious doughnut holes can be enjoyed in a single bite, though the standard-size bad boys go down just as easy.
This weekend-only institution is equally revered for its pies, and the line goes up block and around the corner at Thanksgiving time. Teresa Welsh of Yonkers has joined the queue before 7 a.m. for the apple pie she grew up enjoying. “When I started hosting Thanksgiving, I added banana cream pie to the menu and never looked back.”