Dining Out: Cake and cookies and pastry at Bay Ridge Bakery

March 5, 2014 Helen Klein
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Walk into the Bay Ridge Bakery, and all your senses are immediately engaged. Glistening glass cases display elegant cakes and rows of gorgeous pastries, cookies and numerous other sweet treats – an immediate call to the taste buds to be on high alert.

They will be immediately satisfied as you arrive at the cash register, where a bowl of cookies or other delights awaits, so that anyone stopping in can sample one of the bakery’s specialties.

As owner and pastry chef Nick Nikolopoulos stresses, you don’t have to buy a thing. Providing the samples is just one more thing this community-minded merchant – who is Bay Ridge-born-and-bred — does for his neighbors.

“To me, it’s not just a business; it’s my neighborhood,” he said.

But, as our sampling of Nikolopoulos’ engaging specialties makes clear, one bite and you will likely crave more. Everything we tried was fresh and rich, made in house with the best ingredients whose flavors sing through. And, whatever it is you want, Nikolopoulos – who was trained at the French Culinary Institute – is likely to offer it.

“We cater to a lot of different cultures,” he noted. “We have American layer cakes, French and Italian pastries, as well as Greek desserts.”

Among the specialties of this 42-year-old, family-run bakery are New York Cheesecake ($22 with strawberries) and French Cheesecake ($18), the latter a light-as air version of the former, with a bottom layer of chocolate cake. Both are incredibly satisfying, with the New York style cheesecake seeming to melt in the mouth, as the French cheesecake convinces you to take just one more bite, then another, and another…

The cakes were glorious, glistening confections. We sampled the German Chocolate Cake ($4 a slice), which was comprised of rich layers of chocolate cake, iced with dark chocolate and separated by a thick layer of chocolate butter cream.

The spicy Carrot Cake ($3.50 a slice)encapsulated the essence of carrot, with grace notes of spice, enhanced by cream cheese frosting. The Tiramisu ($4 a slice) was intensely coffee-flavored – as rich as it was addictive.

Also downright addictive were the bite-size European pastries ($18 a pound) that included such treats as chocolate covered cannoli and baklava, éclairs and rainbow cookies. Each morsel was a delight, and yes, we ate more than we should have, and enjoyed every bite.

And, speaking of addictive, Bay Ridge Bakery’s Greek pastries definitely fill the bill. We tried the Baklava, the Kataifi and the Galactoboureko ($3 a piece for each) and delighted in the honey-steeped confections, relishing the nuts, the crumbly filo and the light cinnamon inflection in the Baklava and the Kataifi (the latter topped with shredded filo) and the creamy custard filling of the Galactoboureko.

Besides what’s available to customers who stop by the bakery, Nikolopoulos also has an extensive custom cake business. While his most elaborate cake to date was one shaped like the U.S. Capitol that he created for the birthday of Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, Nikolopoulos loves creating gorgeous cakes for special occasions, and enjoys the challenge.

“We can do something that looks expensive without the cost,” he said, noting that, once you get past the dramatic appearance, quality is the key. That, he stressed, is “What people are going to be left with when they cut the cake.”


7805 Fifth Avenue

Brooklyn NY 11209



Open every day, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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