Adrienne Braxton, proprietor of “The Bakery” located at 154 Vanderbilt Avenue, remembers filling her first real baking “order” as early as age eight: 4 cakes and 250 Christmas cookies for her family, something homemade to add to the warm holiday spirit. And the rest is history as they say.
Since then, she has served as baker, pastry chef, and manager at many restaurants and establishments between Chicago (where she’s from) and Brooklyn (where she’s been since 1979 via a classic case of little sister follows big sister). She has also hawked her famous peach cobblers and carrot cakes at many local vending events, including the annual BAM/Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership “Afro Punk” block party.
“My mom taught me how to bake straight out of her Meta Givens cookbooks and my dad taught me how to manage money so I guess you can say I merged the two in my mind by developing this strong passion for opening my own bakery while quite young,” shared Adrienne.
With a sparkle in her eye (and as she prepares a sheet of chocolate chip cookies for the oven), Adrienne describes how good it feels to now own her own retail space: “I want this to be a welcoming place for the neighborhood. I want people to come and instantly feel at home, like it is an extension of their own homes—like I have company over and I’m in the kitchen baking while hearing them laughing, and enjoying themselves. That’s what I want.”
You name it, Adrienne bakes it: muffins and fruit tarts, cookies, éclairs, scones, German chocolate cakes, carrot cakes, red velvet and chocolate layer cakes, birthday and special occasion cakes, rugelachs, kolakys, sweet potato pies, pecan pies, pound cakes, and when she has ingredients left over, she is known to create a completely new pastry which, um sometimes gets in her trouble: “I’ve had people come back and ask for it and then I have quite a time recalling the recipe for the new creation,” Adrienne laughs. Two that really fly off of the shelves: peach cobblers and banana chocolate mousse cakes. Large or special orders require a 2-day advance request. Sugar-, wheat-, and dairy- free items are available by request. The average cost per pastry is $2.50. Rugelach is 60 cents per and an individual portion of peach cobbler is $4.50.
And for the bread lovers—hold on, it’s coming. Adrienne is hoping for the special equipment needed to prepare the delicious fresh breads like French breads, dinner rolls, focaccias, whole grains, cinnamon swirls, and hot cross buns, at least by mid-spring or early summer. But in the meantime, there is absolutely no shortage of fresh assortments of pastries.
Be on the lookout for poetry readings, artist exhibits and other special events at “the Bakery.”
The Bakery is located at 154 Vanderbilt Avenue, directly off of Myrtle Avenue. Drop in or call 718.596.5999 for further information. Open Tues – Friday, 8a-8p; Sat-Sun, 10a-8p; closed Mondays.
Check out the Sector B (BCAT) broadcast about Adrienne's opening day preparations: BCAT (click on 'Cake and Ice Cream' link)