Christine Burns and Mario Frascarella are hoping to find the recipe to success as they launch their company, New Amsterdam Bakery, from a Sunset Park industrial kitchen.
The pair works in finance on Wall Street during the week. On Saturdays, they bake up “simple and rustic” cakes and cookies out of Hana Kitchens and on Sundays, they sell their delicious treats alternately out of the LIC Flea and the market at Pier Six at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Burns said that the idea was sparked last year, after getting encouraging feedback from co-workers who had sampled their confections.
“I took business and pastry classes at the Institute of Culinary Education,” Burns recalled. “We thought, ‘What if we form a company and go to markets to see if there is an appetite literally and financially before we jump in?’”
That’s how New Amsterdam Bakery was born. Named after our fair city’s original name, Burns said that everything about their logo and company is “well thought out and deliberate,” from the Dutch windmill, to the wheat sheaths, to the apple blossoms.
“Everything we do is uncomplicated,” Burns said. “We thought with the founding of New Amsterdam, which inspired so much entrepreneurship, there is no better place to be inspired and go forth.
“We do our best to use locally sourced ingredients, including New York flour and apple cider,” she went on. “It’s important to us to be regional and local, and give back when we can.”
Frascarella added, “The learning curve has been painful, but the good news is that every week we streamline a little bit more and forget less.”
One September Saturday, Burns and Frascarella were busy making buttermilk bourbon icing, as well as hummingbird cake.
“It’s a southern type of cake. We love it because it’s a bit rustic,” Burns said.
New Amsterdam also bakes up a chocolate pretzel cake, chocolate cardamom cake and the Breukelen cookie, which was born by accident.
“A cookie didn’t bake very well, so we fused the pieces together with peanut butter and Nutella and then rolled it in sea salt and pretzels,” Burns explained. “The Breukelen cookie sells out every single weekend.”
But the cake that started it all is the apple cinnamon cake, made with local, organic apples.
“It’s very popular going into fall,” Burns said. “I was playing with the caramel sauce. I used locally sourced apple cider mulled with spices, made caramel sauce and fused the two.”
Another recipe dates back to Colonial times – the Joe Frogger cookie.
“It uses molasses and spices,” Burns said, noting that it sort of resembles a ginger snap. “It traveled well and kept well. I love a story and being able to tell you where this cookie came from.”
Find more information about Burns and Frascarella visit www.newambakingco.com.