Allison Malec is a Marketing Manager at Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, and is an editor at The Recipe Club. She lives in New York City, and loves to cook, bake and eat. She loves anything sweet, especially Momofuku Milk Bar’s Compost Cookies, Ben and Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Crunch Ice Cream, and Vanilla Mr. Softee cones with rainbow sprinkles.
On a recent Friday, my colleague Anna and I met up at Grand Central Station and took the train to Ardsley, New York to visit the Riviera Bakehouse. Our authors of The Whimsical Bakehouse cookbooks, Kaye and Liv Hansen, were the most gracious hosts! They hosted us for the day, took us behind the scenes, and really showed us what it was like to run a bakery.
So here’s the scoop. Kaye Hansen always dreamed of opening a bakery. She and a friend decided to follow their dreams, and on a whim, bought the original Riviera Bakehouse. After some time, Kaye and her husband took over the bakery and have been running it full-time until last year, when Kaye’s daughter Liv took over the operations. However, Kaye is still very much involved in all of the bakery’s activity.
When we walked into the bakery, we knew we were in for a treat.
Sandwiches, Quiches, Cookies, Cakes, Muffins and more lined the shelves. Our eyes immediately turned to the stunning cakes, which came in styles so unique, they are signature to the Riviera Bakehouse. The hot-pink and purple frosting with bright neon piping and a tilted top layer would make any child’s birthday party (or really, any adult) a huge hit!
Kaye and Liv then took us downstairs to see where all of the goodies are made. Their staff of about eight bakers was hard at work, frosting cakes, making decorations for the tops of the cakes, and packaging the finished products. After the cakes are packaged, they are labeled and stored in a huge walk-in refrigerator, where they stay until they get picked up. Kaye and Liv do custom cakes to suit any occasion, so while we were there, we saw a Minnie Mouse cake, a sunflower cake, and one very adorable Justin Beiber cake for a teenage girl’s birthday.
Our final stop was upstairs, where we were able to see the cookie, pie, bread and other baked goods production. The massive ovens were on and the multi-tiered baker’s racks lined the kitchens. The smell was just incredible! Kaye and Liv sent us on our merry way with a bag full of red velvet cookies, s’mores cookies and lemon shortbread. The only word to describe the experience was whimsical!
Get a recipe from Kaye and Liv Hansen’s cookbook, Kids Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse on Scribd:
Banana Bear Pancake Recipe from Kids’ Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse by Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen
See the rest of our photos below!