Every few weeks or for a special event, I’ll take a trip to Yorkville to get some noms at Two Little Red Hens, a charming bakery on 86th and 2nd. For a place that has over 1,700 Yelp reviews, it doesn’t seem to have the name recognition it deserves compared to the Magnolia bakeries of the world. I’ll take Two Little Red Hens over the 'famous' bakeries any day.
First off, the winning item for me is Two Little Red Hens' Carrot Cake. Moist, flavorful, and honest-tasting with each ingredient standing out-- it's the only way I can describe it. Even the frosting has a subtle tart flavor rather than the usual overwhelming sweet overload. Their cheesecake and chocolate cakes are also standouts.
Two Little Red Hens' amazing cakes also come in cupcake form. Get the Brooklyn Blackout, Red Velvet, Chocolate, and Carrot Cake to get a comprehensive sampling, which conveniently comes in large or mini-size variants. I confess… I normally don’t really like cupcakes and never fully understood the craze, but I’ll lovingly carry a box of the ones from here back with me on the air-conditioned bus so the frosting doesn’t get ruined.
The scones, banana bread, and the pecan coffee cake are my personal favorites to take on the road, which sometimes get overlooked in favor of everything else here.
What I love about the food at Two Little Red Hens is that each flavor remains distinctive and complex rather than just a homogenizing sugary taste, as you often find in other local bakeries.
The high quality of Two Little Red Hens' food complements the the vibe, which feels like a bakery in Georgia magically teleported to New York City. A lot of work has gone into decorating the small space with a look that I can only describe as Southern interior decorating, a timeless, homey quality in a City that sometimes chases trends to obscene absurdity. This is the kind of place that could easily expand but keeps operations low key in order maintain that small batch quality.
Pro-tip, come on early Sunday mornings if you want some peaceful time with a pastry, a newspaper, and a cup of Irving Coffee Roasters brew. It’s really lovely in Two Little Red Hens, but it frequently gets packed to capacity. The bakery seems to have a specific baking schedule for everything, which regular customers do pay attention to, so call ahead to reserve something you really want.
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