Since removing the McDonalds restaurant from Downtown Disney Marketplace in Lake Buena Vista, FL, Disney has brought in some healthier "fast food" fare in the form of Pollo Campero, Fresh Apeel and NYCs BabyCakes vegan bakery (as seen on The Food Network) in its place. This project was headed by the Spiaggia restaurant group helmed by Chef Tony Mantuano (of Top Chef Masters) who wanted to put healthier fare in the parks.
Disney and foodie blogs have been atwitter about BabyCakes Bakery being a part of this project for a few months, and now fans of the specialty bakery can enjoy their gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan, etc., options at the spot they share with Pollo and Apeel.
After hearing the buzz about BabyCakes being installed in Downtown Disney, I was curious see what all the fuss was about. And luckily, I recently had a great excuse to drive the hour and a half to try out some of BabyCakes' treats for myself.
I was enthusiastically greeted by the BabyCakes staff who were more than happy to guide me through their array of colorful cupcakes, brownies, cookies and doughnuts in the display cases. I finally settled on a chocolate-mint brownie cupcake ($3.50) and one of their new doughnuts: chocolate-dipped with streusel topping ($3.50).
[image-3]The cupcake was moist, chocolaty and had just a hint of mint flavoring. I was pleasantly surprised that the frosting wasn't overly sweet -- it was light, fluffy and had just the right amount of sweetness, followed by a refreshing touch of mint. Honestly, if you hadn't told me it was vegan, I would never have guessed. If you're more a fan of frosting than cake, or don't feel like having a whole cupcake, try their cupcake tops ($2).
Doughnuts are a new item the bakery is offering in a variety of flavors, such as maple-glazed, raspberry-glazed, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar and lemon-coconut, as well as a chocolate-dipped ones. They've also alleviated some of the guilt of indulging in them because they're baked (not fried) and, like the other treats in the store, are gluten-free, soy-free and agave-sweetened. They have a rich, cake-like consistency, but aren't greasy like regular doughnuts, and surely give Dunkin' Donuts a run for their money. Even New York Magazine has been raving about them: BabyCakes NYC was given the award for Best Vegan Treat in New York for their doughnuts in 2010.
I'll admit, the offerings at BabyCakes aren't exactly cheap, but that's the price to pay for quality ingredients and cupcake craftsmanship (and also probably due to the fact that they're on Disney property). And how often do you get to have gourmet desserts like these? Plus, it must be nice for those with dietary restrictions and food allergies to be able to indulge in a treat that's normally off-limits for them.
If you get the chance the next time you're in the Orlando/Kissimmee area, head over to BabyCakes, give them a try and let your taste buds be the judge.
According to BabyCakes blog, you can order a birthday cake, donuts, cookies, brownies and cupcakes at this location. Their hours of operation are 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily.
Information via BabyCakes NYC.