Monday, 3 September 2007


Mecca and Lourdes are the usual destinations for a pilgrimage but I recently went on a religious visit to that holy centre of all things gluten and dairy-free, Babycakes. I sought out Babycakes when I went to New York for the first time last summer. On a hot June afternoon my boyfriend and I trekked across from Greenwich to the shabby heart of the East Village to seek out my cake nirvana. After walking down a particularly unpleasant and seemingly unending street (steaming garbage cans, dodgy doorways on all sides) we finally found Babycakes, the ultimate oasis for cake-starved food intolerant.

The shop itself is small and slightly rundown, with a nod to retro kitsch. The girl serving us wore a pink 1950s pinafore, as did Babycake's owner Erin, who was busy knocking up some cakes in the shop's open kitchen. On my first visit last summer we bought cakes, lots of dreamy cakes, and left. This time, on my honeymoon in July, we went, we saw, we ate and we bought some more. My usual discipline, which has probably grown out of the knowledge that lots of foods must be avoided, went out the window. We settled in at the small counter and had brownies, followed by apple cake, followed by chocolate and banana cake, followed by double chocolate cake. And then we bought some more apple cake and chocolate cake to take home. The cakes were, without exception, moist, delicious and decidedly moreish. To say I left with a big smile and a heavy take-out bag would be to underestimate Babycakes' importance for any dairy or gluten intolerant. The cakes are not a mealy, flavourless substitute for the real thing. Babycakes is the real thing.

Babycakes, 248 Broome Street, New York

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