When it comes to bakeries in New York City, you may find that they come a dime a baker’s dozen. There are so many to choose from, including well known national brands and more localized ones that have grown in notoriety due to a variety of facets, and then there are ones you should go to simply because they are the best. I can firmly say that the best bake shop that I have been in New York City so far (and probably will) is H Bake Shop located in Hell’s Kitchen on 57th between 11th and 12th. Now some might say that as New Yorkers we may get lazy in going out of our normal route to experience something different, including geographically, however the taste and experience at this place is worth rowing, sailing, swimming or doing whatever physical activity you have to in order to experience the expert deliciousness that chef Huascar Aquino has to put out for his customers.
I hadn’t heard of H Bake Shop until last month, when a friend of mine recommended that I try this place after a recent review of another fab bakery which is close by. After seeing the variety of very positive reviews posted on Yelp, Seamless, Facebook and so much more, I knew this was something that I had to try. So I took my good friend Erick to experience H Bake Shop first hand and boy was I in for a treat. I sat down with the handsome Huascar and understand how he got to where he is today, which is quite impressive if I may say so myself.
Getting to know Huascar really makes you understand that if you have the passion for something it is worth taking every risk to get to where you need to be. Born in the Dominican Republic, he moved to the United States a number of years ago where he developed a love for pastries by learning at the Internationally renowned French Culinary Institute Of New York City. Just a heads up this is the same place that LEGENDS in the culinary industry such as Bobby Flay, David Chang & Dan Barber have gone to and where deans include just the run of the mill dynasties in their own rights like Jacques Pepin, Jose Andrews and Jacques Torres are deans there. You know, no big deal whatsoever. After his time at the FCI, he honed his abundance of talent at historic NYC locations like The Four Seasons and Landmarc which then led to him opening up his own location two years ago. Oh, and one more thing. Huascar won on the Food Network hit show “Cupcake Wars”, in which the theme was Jessica Alba’s “The Honest Company”. The win came with a sweet $10,000 dollars and national recognition, which is great for anyone regardless of what their field is. You can watch that episode here.
Now of course, as awesome as he is I have to describe just how amazing his treats are. To say heavenly is beyond at this point, they are just incredible. Take something as classic and simple as a chocolate chip cookie with a twist (Or as he calls it- Chocotella Cookie). I have had many of these in my life (which attest to my ever increasing waistline) and can say that these tasted better than any others that i have had in the past. And that goes for his variety of cookies as well, not just the chocolate chip. A good cookie essentially has a great bite on the outside, but is warm on the inside. You also want to be able to taste as many ingredients as possible outside of the norm. You get that in his cookies.
Same goes for his line of cupcakes. They are moist, flavorful and unique in taste, creativity and texture which is important when making your own creations like this. When going, I would highly recommend the PB&J, The Scarlet Velvet (his take on the classic Red Velvet), and the Vanilla Introvert Cupcake (Vanilla Bean Cake with dulce de leche filling, sprinkles and frosting.) They all are an incredible experience that you must try.
What is even better is the specialty services that H Bake Shop provides. They make wedding cakes as well as specialty themed cakes for birthdays, graduations or whatever event you are particularly throwing. They also have a great line of other products from cheesecakes, macaroons and brownies that are to die for. Something incredibly special that Huascar and his team did today was make this OUT OF THIS WORLD Monsters Inc. themed cake for my 3 year old nephew Eddie. The look on everyone’s faces when they saw it in person as well as the reaction on social media was insane as so many people have never seen anything made like this. We were even debating not cutting into it as it looked beyond incredible. Take a look at the above picture for jaw dropping status.
I beyond recommend going to H Bake Shop the next time you are in Hell’s Kitchen, or have an event, or want something sweet. Just go. You won’t regret it. For more information log on to their official site. Oh, and this is a photo of my nephew devouring the cake today. Totally worth it.
H Bake Shop
601 West 57th Street (Between 11th and 12th Avenue)