Meet Erin McKenna, creator of Babycakes NYC: “Serving up sweets free from wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and refined sugar.” I have been baking treats from her cookbooks for years. One of my favorites are the double chocolate chip cookies made with coconut oil. OMG! They are divine! My family devours them in one day. If you want a mouth-watering, finger-licking, scrumptious dessert, guilt free, you must buy her books, throw on your apron and get in the kitchen!
Erin:I had been diagnosed with sensitivity to dairy, wheat and soy and was motivated to heal my gut. I felt amazing after I started following this new diet so I felt passionately about it.
Nourishment: How did you get your start in the kitchen?
Erin: I have a sweet tooth and nothing out there satisfied it so I had to take it upon myself.
Nourishment: What spawned the creation of Babycakes?
Erin: The frustration of how low the bar had been set for vegan and gluten free products. I wanted to change how depressing the market was!
Nourishment: Who are your biggest inspirations?
Erin: In regards to hospitality, Danny Meyer. Business-wise, Steve Jobs. Food Wise, Brooks Headley of Del Posto.
Nourishment: What is your favorite ingredient to work with?
Erin: Coconut oil, hands down.
Nourishment: Was it difficult to find the right combination to make comfort foods healthy and guilt-free?
Erin: Definitely, but when you stay lazier focused you can barrel through all blocks.
Nourishment: Are you inspired to cook savory dishes at all?
Erin: I am! I am currently finishing my 3rd cookbook that is all about bread and savory dishes.
Erin: Always and forever the chocolate chip cookie sandwich.
Nourishment: What is your favorite restaurant?
Erin: Del Posto!
Nourishment: What are you most proud of in your career?
Erin: I’m proud of creating a place where people of all walks of life gather under one roof and find a common ground and celebrate together. It doesn’t get better than that.
Nourishment: How did you attract so many celebrities to your shop?
Erin: I don’t know? Jason Schwartzman came in about 2 weeks after I opened and was an instant fan–he has a big mouth and told all his friends maybe? It’s a word of mouth thing for sure.
Nourishment: What does “a day in the life” of Erin McKenna look like?
Erin: So glamorous. Wake at 5 am, get to the gym, home by 6:30 and spend time with my daughter. Take her to daycare, and come to the bakery to see what the day throws at me meanwhile testing recipes throughout. Meet my daughter and husband at the park, feed her dinner, get in the bath with her and get her into bed. Then I have 30 minutes to myself to eat something and then get back on my computer to answer emails and continue book writing until about 9pm. Read a bit and lights out at 9:30pm…
Nourishment: What is the best advice anyone gave you?
Erin: Don’t let others influence you. Stay focused on your vision and don’t bend to make others happy or comfortable. The best work happens when we are a little bit uncomfortable.
Nourishment: What’s next?
Erin: My bread book! And another location in 2013–can’t say where just yet!
All photos taken by Tara Donne