An attorney who worked in a variety of positions, including several years as legislative counsel for a prominent New York City politician, Bauer’s love of baking inspired her to change direction and open CRUMBS Bake Shop. An avid baker, she first discovered her fierce sweet tooth as a child while helping her mother bake on their farm in Israel. Owning a bakery is the culmination of a life-long quest to combine her passion for baking with building a successful business that is both a neighborhood-meeting place and a destination spot for all New Yorkers. Bauer talks with Chefs.com about her passion for baking.
Chefs.com: Who or what inspired you to become a chef?
MB: I don’t know that there was any one person that inspired me, however a few people did influence me, in particular my mother who is a great baker and my grandmother who literally fed my sweet tooth. More recently, about 11 years ago, I started going to Ina Gaarten’s market in East Hampton, NY. The simplicity yet perfection of her desserts changed the direction of my own baking.
Chefs.com: What was your most embarrassing moment?
MB: I was at a party with my husband (and business partner) and we brought CRUMBS cupcakes at the host’s request. It was getting late and the dessert was not put out yet and we had to leave. I really, really love my cupcakes even after all these years and we both really wanted some before we left. So we snuck into the kitchen to help ourselves. About half way through I overheard two people whispering incredulously outside the door, “Don’t they own CRUMBS? Can’t they get cupcakes whenever they want? Why are they stuffing their faces like that?” Obviously we couldn’t help ourselves!
Chefs.com: What’s your favorite “trick of the trade” – the one thing that saves you the most time or adds the greatest value to your work?
MB: It’s not a baking trick per se but I find that keeping a youthful perspective and wonderment for all things sweet helps tremendously. I really love to experiment and try all desserts just like a kid would. My creations definitely reflect a kid’s imagination for all things possible and indulgence.
Chefs.com: At what age did you first start cooking?
MB: I can barely remember because as soon as I had some dexterity my mom had me rolling out dough for her cookies. But I do remember baking my parents an anniversary cake when I was 8. It was a big project because I wanted to surprise them. It was my dad’s favorite, carrot cake, which is not so simple to get right. To this day I am not sure it came out right, but they loved it!
Chefs.com: What’s your favorite cupcake or cake to prepare for your customers?
MB: I am a purist. I have always liked our vanilla cupcakes and when I am feeling like I need something a little extra I will have a raspberry swirl or caramel apple. I really do love red velvet also. In the chocolate family I would have to say my current favorite is the Oreo.
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