Taking the Cake for the Holidays

Bakers create edible versions of NYC landmarks for Christmas windows

| 06 Dec 2019 | 01:21

There’s a new twist this year on the holiday window displays that are a New York City specialty: Edible versions of the city’s iconic landmarks are literally taking the cake.

“New York City is known for Christmas window displays,” said Lisa Mansour, the co-owner of NY Cake, who a few months ago came up with the idea of decorating her Chelsea shop’s window with NY-themed confections. She texted some local baker friends: “What do you think if we did a cute little window?” They loved the idea.

The shop window at 118 West 22nd St. is the result. Since last Monday’s snowy night, it has been filled with sweet New York symbols, among them the Statue of Liberty; the Chrysler building; and two characters, including the Nutcracker, from the New York City Ballet’s annual performance.

“Are these really made of sweets? So cute!” said Rebecca Yoon, a law student who passed by the window on a recent morning. Could she buy one, she wondered as she took pictures of the sculptures. (No - they will be on display until January, by which time they will be too old to eat.)

Baking Community

Mansour says her holiday window project has allowed her to work with other local bakers, as she once did when she held the annual NY Cake Show on Pier 36. That competition for local cake artists ended in 2017, when Mansour was busy opening NY Cake’s two shops – one in Chelsea, and one in Yonkers.

Bakers from all over the city and beyond created her window display: Ashley Holt from Sugar Monster in Brooklyn; Kate Sullivan from Cake Power in Chelsea; Jean Schapowal from Cakes with Character in Hicksville, LI.; Melissa Alt from her eponymous Teaneck, NJ, shop and Vanessa Greeley from hers in Warwick, NY.

Cake Power’s Sullivan, who created the 42-inch Chrysler building, echoes the thought. “We usually meet at baking competitions, but it’s really great to see each other to do this together for the community,” she said.

Joan Cohen, an Upper East Side resident who is learning cake design at NY Cake, said she has had an incredible opportunity to see great bakers collaborating. “People definitely will not recognize that these are made of sweets,” she said. “This is edible art.”

Mansour says she looks forward to New Yorkers’ reactions to the sculptures.

“That’s what I love, watching people’s expressions, hearing people talking about our displays and saying “Oh, my god!” she said. “Do you want a small joy for the holiday? You should definitely come and see it!”