Sugar high HobokenHudson County’s growing sweet tooth

With a number of candy and dessert shops opening recently – and with an upcoming reality show set to take place in a Hoboken bakery – it seems Hudson County’s sweet tooth is coming in. The Manhattan-based cupcake shop Crumbs plans to open its doors and give away 1,000 cupcakes in Hoboken later this month. In addition, the Candy Shoppe opened in Hoboken in January and the cupcake shop Sweet opened late last year. But the long-time Hoboken bakery Carlo’s might just take the cake with an all new TLC reality show called Cake Boss, slated to debut April 19.
“People are always going to celebrate birthdays, or weddings, or showers,” said Mary Valastro of Carlo’s City Hall Bakery last week. The bakery has been in the same building at 95 Washington St. for almost 100 years, and the Valastro family has operated the shop for over 40 years.
“It’s family owned and operated,” said Valastro. “That’s the keyword. One of us is always here.”


“I practically have icing in my blood.” – Buddy Valastro

In March, Carlo’s won the Food Network’s Battle of the Brides Wedding Cake Challenge and even presented Britney Spears with a huge circus-themed cake for her 27th birthday on Good Morning America. Now, Cake Boss will feature four generations of the Valastro clan running their booming bakery in the mile square city.
“I practically have icing in my blood,” said Buddy Valastro, master baker at Carlo’s. “Though my big family can sometimes drive me crazy, we are all working hard to make my father’s dream come true.” For more information, visit

The cupcakes are coming

Crumbs, the hugely popular chain of cupcake shops that originated on the Upper West Side in 2003, is finally coming to Hudson County. Crumbs, 409 Washington St. in Hoboken, postponed its grand opening from March 21 to “early April,” according to a release issued last week.
“I love watching people getting together to enjoy each other over a cupcake,” said cofounder and creative force behind Crumbs Mia Bauer. And she’s not kidding. In an effort to bring cupcakes to the masses, Crumbs will give away one free cupcake per person on opening day, up to 1,000. With over 75 flavors, the chain has stores from Los Angeles to the Hamptons.
“People really like their cupcakes,” said Angela, owner of the popular cupcake shop Sweet, 343 Garden St. in Hoboken. The store has offered their delicious, baked-on-premise cupcakes since August.
“People were curious about us in the beginning,” Angela said, “because there wasn’t a cupcake shop in town. We eventually gained their trust.”
Sweet’s most popular cupcake is the “red velvet” – a vanilla cake with a distinctive deep red color and a thick layer of cream cheese icing. According to Angela, the recipe is a traditional Southern delight.
“If you look online,” Angela said, “cupcakes aren’t just local, it’s a national trend. It’s a very creative outlet that has expanded and involved. I have seen some wild things done with cupcakes.”
Although Angela keeps her creations simple – priding herself on traditional ingredients – Sweet offers pies in the fall and tangy tarts depending on the season. According to Angela, Sweet is a perfect fit for a city with a small-town feel.
“Hoboken originated as an Italian community,” Angela said, “so it’s great for community bakeries. It’s a super-friendly community.”

Candy Shoppe

“Candy reminds people of being kids,” said Meg Rankin, owner of the Candy Shoppe in Hoboken. “And who doesn’t want to be a kid again?”
Rankin opened her business eight weeks ago after gutting the entire building at 59 Fourth St. in Hoboken to install new fire and electrical systems.
“If you look back at Hershey’s during the Great Depression,” Rankin said, “they were one of the only businesses that made any money. Candy is affordable and fun.”
One of Rankin’s best selling candy bars is the British Yorkie with “not for girls” printed right on the wrapper. But the bar isn’t a hit with young boys, Rankin said. “It’s actually the adult men.”
The Candy Shoppe even imports sweets from overseas like handmade candy olives from France made with nougatine – a French confectionary combining sugar, honey, and crushed nuts. The shop sells the sophisticated treat for $25 a pound, which makes them popular on candy tables at weddings and bar mitzvahs.
With children’s furniture and movies, the store has something for everyone, including a huge blackboard wall where students from different schools in the area leave notes for friends.
“It’s really sweet, actually,” Rankin said. “I just ask them to keep the board clean.”
For more information on the Candy Shoppe, please call (201) 222-6872.
Sean Allocca can be reached at


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