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Baked by Yael, D.C.’s first “cakepoppery,” opened Jan. 14 directly across from the National Zoo in Woodley Park. The modest storefront, wedged between a liquor store and a frozen yogurt shop, isn’t founder Yael Krigman’s first stab at the bite-sized desserts. She’s been selling the treats online for the past four years. Thanks to a Kickstarter bid that raised almost $75,000, she’s managed to transform a former dry cleaner into an airy, colorful space that could pass for a Pinkberry. The decor was created in part by Krigman’s father, an amateur millworker.
Krigman, who left a job at D.C. law firm White & Case to begin baking full-time, isn’t limiting herself to cakepops at her brick-and-mortar venture. Bagels, raspberry bars, rugelach, and black-and-white cookies all make appearances, though not all will be available every day. Coffee, tea, and bottled juices are also offered.
“The black and whites, they’re the favorite of everything I make,” says Krigman. The bagels, which she described as “not New York, not Montreal, just really good,” haven’t been advertised much by Krigman, who admits she’s not looking for competition.
“I’ve tried every other bagel in the area—well, not Bullfrog [Bagels]—and I prefer mine,” she says.
Cakepops, though, are the business’s decided focus, and Krigman’s not convinced that they’re a cronut-esque flash in the pan.
“I started selling cakepops two weeks before Starbucks did, and I was worried that it would be the end of my business,” she says. “But things have flourished since then… I think cakepops are here to stay. There’s something about seeing the colors and not seeing what’s inside, and they’re so much easier to eat than other desserts because there’s not as much guilt.”
The bakery is only offering five flavors of pops: chocolate, birthday cake, red velvet, cookies n’ cream, and lemon cakepops for $2.95 each (or $2.75 each with orders over a dozen).
“I really like doing things well, maybe it’s the lawyer side in me,” she says. “I don’t want to introduce a flavor without knowing for sure that it’s going to be a hit.”
As for why she’s focusing on cakepops instead of any of the other goods she’s baking up, Krigman was blunt.
“Profit,” she said. “As much as I love our bagels and our black-and-whites, I’ve found that the cakepops are our bread and butter.”
Baked by Yael, at 3000 Connecticut Avenue NW; (202) 480-9235; bakedbyyael.com