News! And Review: Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC (BabyCakes!) Opens in Disney Springs

Just last week we showed you the signs outside the new Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC in Downtown Disney…

Erin McKenna's NYC Bakery sign

Erin McKenna’s NYC Bakery sign

And NOW we are happy to report that as of yesterday, it’s open for business!

First things first: Why all the excitement over this bakery? Well, aside from being the latest addition on the scene as Downtown Disney transitions to Disney Springs, it’s also the new home to BabyCakes NYC gluten-free and vegan baked goods in Disney World!

Erin McKenna's Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna’s Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna is the founder of BabyCakes NYC. Almost one year ago, the BabyCakes location in Downtown Disney’s Marketplace closed (along with Pollo Campero and Bodie’s All-American) to accommodate construction in the area. The new Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC fills the void felt by many guests on restricted diets, either due to allergies, digestive intolerances or lifestyle choice when BabyCakes closed, so we’re here to offer it a hearty “Welcome Back!”

Atmosphere

Now, I just mentioned the Marketplace, so let’s not go too much further before we discuss the location of Erin McKenna’s. It finds its home in what is now called The Landing (formerly part of the Pleasure Island area). Depending on your most recent visit to Downtown Disney, things may look a LOT different! You’ll find Erin McKenna’s tucked right in among some brand new retails shops including Sanuk, Sound Lion, and Chapel Hats, facing what will be The Boathouse restaurant.

Erin Mckenna's NYC Bakery at The Landing

Erin Mckenna’s NYC Bakery at The Landing

Seeing this area with its exposed brick and aesthetically pleasing outdoor strolling area, you really do start to get a feel for how much

Downtown Disney has — and will continue — to change.

Disney Springs mural

Disney Springs mural

For a point of orientation that you might be more familiar with, Fulton’s Crab House will be directly behind you when facing the bakery coming from the Marketplace side.

Erin McKenna's is near Fulton's

Erin McKenna’s is near Fulton’s

So, that’s the general location… now, let’s step inside! For opening day, there was a long line of folks waiting to do exactly that.

Opening Day line

Opening Day line

“If you sell BabyCakes, they will come…” ;)

Once you get inside, the first thing I think you’ll notice is… all the PINK! From the walls to the Cast Member costumes, it all goes with the Valentine bakery theme.

Indoor Sign

Indoor Sign

Box displays upon entry are a good reminder that you can order full cakes from the bakery for special occasions.

Entry scene

Entry scene

Bakery boxes

Bakery boxes

The store is long and narrow, and you’ll see pretty much the entirety of it in these next few photos. Basically guests see the bakery cases full of items alongside the register counter.

View to the right upon entry

View to the right upon entry

Bakery case

Bakery case

Line in front of the ordering counter

Line in front of the ordering counter

Though you may be able to catch a glimpse of some kitchen fun going on to your left.

Kitchen

Kitchen

And who should be there greeting and helping guests on opening day but the founder of BabyCakes, Erin McKenna herself!

Erin McKenna

Erin McKenna

She was kind enough to sign autographs for those who asked for one. (Oh, and there’s the amazing Ms. Emily — the BabyCakes, and now THIS bakery’s — store manager and all-around awesome chick, behind Erin.)

Erin McKenna

Erin McKenna

Erin McKenna signature

Erin McKenna signature

Anyhoo, that about sums up the setting! It’s simply the bakery. Still, those who remember the previous location (tucked into a corner of shared space with Bodie’s and Pollo Campero), there is more room here to carry a larger assortment of products.

The bakery does not have it’s own dedicated seating, in or outside. With plenty of construction still going on in the area, there isn’t much seating to be had in the direct area at the moment, with the exception of this batch of benches right next to The Boathouse construction.

Seating area beside The Boathouse

Seating area beside The Boathouse

But since I had some photos to take, I went past Fulton’s and headed into the Marketplace area, where there are lots of tables and chairs available.

Tables in Marketplace

Tables in Marketplace

And with the seating dilemma solved, it’s onto our favorite topic…

Eats

In previously writing about BabyCakes, we’ve typically summed it up as gluten-free, vegan baked goods. It’s also certified kosher. But you can gain a fuller understanding of the offerings from this statement by Erin McKenna: “We focus on the underserved people with gluten, dairy, egg and soy sensitivities, the heath-minded, and, most importantly, allergic kids who are often unable to indulge. Our goal is to make eating vegan and gluten-free fun and delicious…”

Statement on printed menu

Statement on printed menu

Since the line was lengthy for opening day, a Cast Member kindly brought out menus for those of us waiting outside. You’ll notice the categories of items include cupcakes, donuts, cookies, cookie sandwiches, loaves, crumb cake, and brownies.

Printed menu

Printed menu

The Cast Member did note that flavors and choices can vary on any given day, but this is a fairly good rundown of what will typically be available.

Not every item was available on my visit, due to it being the first day (I’m going to have to get back to find out what that Thin Mint is all about!). But there was still a larger assortment of choices than what was listed on the menu upon arrival at the bakery case. First up? Cupcakes!

Cupcakes!

Cupcakes!

Vanilla, Banana, Agave-sweetened Chocolate, Vanilla with Lemon, French Toastie, and Blondie and Brownie Cupcakes were waiting to be snatched up during my visit.

Cupcake bakery case

Cupcake bakery case

Cupcake bakery case

Cupcake bakery case

And while I did get a French Toastie Cupcake, I was quite interested in the next case on display. Even though it’s a smaller case, it held more variety than what I can recall at the previous location.

Bakery case

Bakery case

Donuts, sweet breads, cinnamon rolls, scones, cookies, brownies and even a couple of bagels were all up for grabs.

Bakery case

Bakery case

Donuts

Donuts

Even having seen a menu outside, I wasn’t quite prepared for all the choices, and it was a little difficult to decide! From here, I ultimately went with the Samoa Donut and the Lemon Teacake.

Lastly, a couple of savory options were displayed on the end: Vegetable Biscuits and Focaccia Bread.

Vegetable Biscuits

Vegetable Biscuits

Focaccia Bread

Focaccia Bread

Having sampled BabyCakes sweet treats before, I was most intrigued by these, so I picked up some Focaccia.

In fact, why don’t we begin with that? I don’t think you can tell how large the portion is from the photo, but you may be able to see that — as expected for focaccia — the bread is full of herbs such as rosemary. It also has a nice parmesan-like flavor.

Focaccia Bread

Focaccia Bread

But the question with gluten-free baked goods often lies more with the texture. This version is certainly very dense; in fact, I’d equate it closer to the texture of a scone than a lighter focaccia. That said, it’s pleasantly filling and I found it to be pretty darn tasty.

Focaccia Bread

Focaccia Bread

I thought I more or less knew what to expect from the French Toastie cupcake since I’ve tried BabyCakes cupcakes previously. However, the fun flavor profile was a nice surprise: a spiced vanilla cake base with maple frosting.

French Toastie

French Toastie

Maple icing

Maple icing

The flavor combo here is great of you’re a fan of maple. And I was really happy with how moist it was — not a quality that stands out as much with previous BabyCakes Cupcakes I’ve tried.

Inside the French Toastie cupcake

Inside the French Toastie cupcake

Due to the small size, I think you get more bang for your buck with some of the other treats. But more than anything I like the thought of a kid who can’t enjoy a cupcake in most of the park locations being able to have one here, so I’m all for it.

Now, the Samoa Donut looked like a winner from the get-go. You just can’t argue with chocolate and caramel stripes on top of big ol’ flakes of coconut.

Samoa Donut

Samoa Donut

Fortunately, my first-sight assessment was correct. I’ll admit, I wasn’t thinking the word “decadent” would come up in a review of gluten-free, vegan treats, but it’s completely appropriate here. I already knew I liked BabyCakes cake donuts (I’d say just a bit more dense than a traditional), but with such terrific toppings oozing over it, this exceeded my expectations.

Cross section of Samoa Donut

Cross section of Samoa Donut

Of everything I tried, I’d give an “I’d never know it was made of anything different than all the regular ingredients I have in my pantry” award to the Lemon Teacake. (Though I might try to think of a catchier name for the award first.)

Lemon Teacake

Lemon Teacake

This was just a terrific, rich poundcake with a burst of citrusy lemon coming from the icing on top. I love that “crinkly” icing texture!

Icing

Icing

I think the only thing I might change is giving it a little thicker layer of icing, but really, no complaints here.

I’d say the best takeaway I can offer is that, specifically in regards to the Lemon Teacake and the Samoa Donut, I really didn’t feel like I was missing anything that I love in a sweet treat. And regardless of it being gluten-free or vegan, I’d be back for the Lemon Teacake in a New York minute, just ‘cuz it’s good!

A few notes: Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC accepts snack credits on the Disney Dining Plan. Also, while the bakery opened just after 1 pm for opening day, typical opening time will be 10 am.

Overall

It’s great to have Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC in Downtown Disney. I’m fortunate in that I don’t have any food intolerances, but I have friends and family members who do, and knowing there is a place with a large selection of treats that are truly tasty and enjoyable makes me glad for them when they come to visit. Knowing that I can grab something alongside them and be equally as happy is a big bonus, too. With the name of Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC, I don’t really know whether I should say “Welcome” or Welcome Back,” but either way, we’re glad you’re here!

What sweet or savory treat would you choose from the menu? Let us know in the comments below!

Comments

  1. Sheri says

    One of our best family memories was taking our daughter to the old babycakes. We let her take in all the beautiful items inside the glass cases and then told her she could eat anything she wanted here. For a child with anaphylactic dairy and egg allergeies she had never in her life been to a bakery where she could just pick out and item and eat it. Not only did she eat a cupcake that was not baked by mom but she also got her first doughnut. I mean her very first doughnut ever. If you ever walk by this bakery and see parents taking dozens of pictures of thier kid eating a cupcake, now you know why. The items may seem expensive compared to a “regular” baked good but knowing I don’t have to bake cupcakes and pack them in my luggage (yes I have had to do this), as well as offering my daughter the chance to walk into a store and have her pick of whatever she wants is true disney Magic.

  2. Melissa says

    Two of our daughters are celiac and we were so happy to hear of the old place. We bought cupcakes and took them with us to a birthday celebration at one of the Disney restaurants. Sadly, none of us like these cupcakes. I just don’t understand how they sell so many? I make much better cupcakes from scratch at home. Plus they are very pricey.

  3. Heather says

    Hmm…I’m glad there is an option available for people with food intolerances, but all I can think when I see that cupcake is, “Not enough frosting!” I mean, at $5 for a teeny tiny cupcake they could at least pile on the good stuff.

  4. DebC says

    Heather, I’m with you. $5 for a cupcake that is tiny is crazy. Even crazier is that they offer a discount on a dozen. Only $55. Cupcakes. Crazy. And $4 for a donut? I know not everyone can eat Krispy Kreme, but you can almost get a dozen original glazed for that price.

  5. adam walker says

    Am i the only one who thinks $55 for a dozen small cupcakes is ridiculous even by Disney standards? Its almost insulting

  6. Sara says

    Our local gluten free, vegan bakery charges $3.75 for a cupcake, so I don’t think these prices are bad at all. If you cook gluten free all the time, you know these ingredients are very expensive. Looking forward to having a treat in June!

  7. Mary says

    does anyone know if the baked goods have food dyes in them? I’m allergic to red dye #40 and things like the lemon tea cake could possibly have red dye in the pink icing. Along with a gluten and dairy allergy, the food dye is the only thing I’m not sure of in these sweet treats. If they are dye free I’ll have to stop here multiple times on my next trip! Finding gluten/dairy/dye free treats at Disney could be a hassle sometimes, so this bakery sounds amazing to me!

  8. Keith says

    Their clientele (those with a restricted diet) must be a pretty small subset of consumer…I wonder how sustainable this business will be. The prices are probably a reflection of the limited demand.

  9. Essie says

    I think it is wonderful that people with allergies have an option to enjoy sweet treats, especially children who have a hard time understanding why they have to constantly miss out on the fun enjoyed by “all of the other children”. That said, as a medical nurse, I think it is one of the worst and most unconscionable crimes occurring in the US that so many things deemed “medically necessary” are so outrageously over priced. I know from experience, for example, that the $85.00 wheelchair inner tubes are nothing more than a $9.00 bicycle inner tube. A donut for $4.00? And $5.00 for a small cupcake? How sad that a parent has to pay so much for the joy of seeing their child enjoy a common treat.

  10. Emilie says

    The cupcakes really aren’t that small. Sara is right, allergen free ingredients aren’t cheap. Price out agave nectar, coconut oil, garbanzo flour, and the other ingredients in the Babycakes cookbook, I will gladly pay $5! Standard cupcakes at Disney are what, $4? The Star Wars cupcakes at Hollywood Studios were piled high with mounds of what tasted like Crisco.
    I had a banana cupcake on Sunday and the frosting was more than enough. Well, I may have also tried a Samoa doughnut. Yum!!!

  11. Cindi says

    Obviously people who are commenting on this blog have never experienced life with a food allergy. The prices are not unreasonable. The ingredients are more expensive than typical cheap wheat flour, and the certification process for gluten-free ingredients in itself adds to the price.

    I don’t think it’s fair for people who can eat their way through Disney World to throw stones at a place that is offering products for people who can’t enjoy your same experience.

    Furthermore, I’m surprised that a person who admittedly does not have food allergies would critique the texture of gluten-free products. Clearly you’ve never eaten anything gluten/allergen free. People with allergies are used to paying $10 for a cake mix, making it and then throwing it away because it was disgusting (because like “regular people,” we don’t have the luxury of purchasing one at the store). Erin McKenna’s bakery is a godsend for people who have serious food allergies.

  12. Sara says

    Jean,

    My daughter is allergic to gluten, egg, soy, corn, and cinnamon, and there were several options available to her at the former location. I can’t remember if everything was corn free and it was just the products containing cinnamon we had to avoid? It’s been a while, I’m definitely going to call before our next trip to find out.

  13. Dana says

    I have a gluten-allergy, and I don’t think $5 for a cupcake is ridiculous at all. I pay $4 for a gluten-free cupcake at my local bakery, so considering this is Disney, I’d have no issue paying that. Gluten-free ingredients are crazy expensive, and buying mixes isn’t any better. Gluten-free mixes can cost $6-$10 a pop, and there’s never a guarantee that it will actually taste good. I’ll absolutely be stopping in here my next visit!

  14. Rach says

    And it’s not a small portion of the population that needs a bakery like this. On our last trip my friend & I had to consult with a chef with every sit-down meal due to our different food allergies/intolerances. While we ate we would see the same chef consulting with at least 3 more tables. Food issues are very prevalent, so it’s good to have places that cater to things that are medically necessary.

  15. CJ says

    I agree with Adam, the prices are too high. I am aware of how much the ingredients cost, but this is insulting. Why have the prices increased so drastically from what they were at the old location?

  16. Vianca lee says

    Wait their making a big deal about this bakery because its allergy free but then I went to their website and the flor that they use is processed in a factory that uses peanuts and tree nuts and soy hello!!! This is not Good!!! Not good for people to have allergies. Just when I think I will have a cupcake totally disappointed

  17. Destinie says

    I was at DD just Friday and I spent almost all my snack points here!!!! IT IS AMAZING. I had the lemon teacake and the the French Toastie. I was so excited. They tasted so good (probably due to the large amount of sugar but oh well I was on vacation) and would definitely recommend if you have some extra snack points to use. I was planning to use my points on the allergy-free truck in Animal Kingdom but they were closed. :( This place is wonderful and I’m so glad there’s a bakery there that is working hard to include people who have restricted diets. ♥

    @Jean I can’t remember exactly but I know they use Brown Rice Flour and Garbanzo flour. They have tags on each of their products that show what is in them. They also have a website where you can order their mixes so you could probably get that information directly from them?

  18. Debra Robinson says

    I can’t wait to return to this store. Went there a year ago when it was just called Babycakes and could not leave.
    So obsessed with these gorgeous cakes

  19. Livy says

    Hi,
    Anyone know how late they are open? I can’t seem to find their hours anywhere. Thanks!

  20. Richard Mercer says

    I have no allergies or restrictions, and I LOVE this place! I I prefer their cupcakes etc to standard ones. They will do fine if they can get a small fraction of the general public to try their goods.

  21. Tracey Uphoff says

    I absolutely love this bakery! I am so happy that I found it but am now very sad that I must return home. I plan to take things home with me on the plane! I have tried several of the goodies and can honestly say that I have enjoyed each one! I am forever trying new goodies from other bakeries as I have no allergies and always end up throwing it away as I am very picky about what I do eat. This has been a wonderful find! Will come as often as I can when visiting my parents in Florida.

  22. Ryan's mom says

    If you had the food issues you learn to loving eating gluten free. Gluten free food is very expensive. Then add store rent electric and she needs to make profit. I am very grateful that on vacation we can find treats. To have a donut is incredible. Thanks

  23. rachael park says

    My daughter and I will be coming here for our trip in September. I’d like to see her face when she can have any goodie or treat in this bakery without worrying about any allergic reactions. It’s work the price for a few cupcakes that can last our entire stay. A box of gluten free cookies is $6.00 at our local grocer. It’s worth the price.

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