What do you think of when you think of Harlem?  Jazz…Soul Food?  What about bakeries?  So many, in fact, that they even specialize.  There are bakeries devoted to cookies, to cupcakes, croissants and breads, rugelach, red velvet, carrot cake, muffins and on and on. Here’s a tour of Harlem’s best bakeries.

When I look at Make My Cake on 116th Street - this is what I see.
When I look at Make My Cake on 116th Street – this is what I see.

It’s hard to walk very many blocks without passing by a shop in Harlem that specializes in the ‘sugar arts’. Each one is colorful and creative, and each one with a distinction all its own.  Make My Cake on 116th Street is like a confectioner’s dream bathed in a background of pink accessories from mugs to lunch boxes.  Row after row of pastel colored cakes surrounded by all kinds of cookies and cupcakes, apple turnovers and brownies.  This family owned shop also has a bakery on Lenox Avenue at Striver’s Row.

The King of Rugelach
The King of Rugelach

Who would think that the King of Rugelach would be in Harlem – but he is.  Lee Lee’s Baked Goods  has customers from all over the world ordering online.  But we are lucky enough to have Alvin Lee Smalls right here on West 118th Street.  If you hit it just right, rugelach will be coming out of the oven when you walk in the door.  Take a seat in this small but cozy bakery and strike up a conversation with the constant stream of locals who love to chat.

In the mood for an almond croissant?
In the mood for an almond croissant?

Right around the corner from Lee Lee’s, on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, you will find the French-Senegalese café  Patisserie Des Ambassades, known for their wonderful breads and croissants.

Create your dream cupcake
Create your dream cupcake

Tonnie’s Minis on Lenox Avenue will let you create your dream cupcake by choosing your own cake, frosting and toppings or you can buy them ready to go if you can make up your mind from the Tower of Mini’s on display!  It’s no surprise that Tonnie’s Minis are now sold in Bloomingdales.

Levain Bakery, Hot Bread Kitchen in La Marqueta, the new Evelyn’s Kitchen, and  La Tropezienne Bakery  (one of Harlem’s best kept secrets) – too many to paint!

Even the local coffee shops and restaurants have gotten in on the act with specialty deserts from ice cream to peanut butter pie  to outrageous muffins.  These are just a few of the small businesses that make Harlem sweet.

What’s happening at all the Starbucks in Harlem?  Ahhhh – free wifi!

Pour a cup of coffee and follow my paintbrush at AFineLyne, Twitter or on Facebook at Harlem Sketches or Greenwich Village Sketches.  Pick up a treat at the Untapped Shop.

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