Former advertising pros Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis opened their first bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn, in 2005, then looked south for an encore. Lewis has family in Charleston, so that explains the connection.
The space isn’t painfully kitschy or retro. In fact, the look is fairly modern, with cool tile-lined walls, globe lanterns and a La Marzocco espresso machine that brews Stumptown beans.
Baked sells a wide variety of cakes, cookies and cupcakes, but most of us gravitated toward dense bars featuring waves of flavor. The Baked Bar is a variation I’ve seen at a number of other bakeries, sometimes under the “magic bar,” moniker. At Baked, it wasn’t cloyingingly sweet even though it combined coconut, chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, pecans, butterscotch and Graham.
The Baked Key Lime Square helped show that even though we were devouring a series of squares, they were not confined by their shape. This square featured a completely different flavor and texture profile, with a creamy core, a citrus tang, and a thin-shaved lime slice suspended in pink jelly.
The Baked Cinnamon Bun won’t win a beauty pageant, but the buttery pastry coil was served warm and supple. It was also coated with a judicious amount of cinnamon and cream cheese frosting. Lewis and Poliafito clearly understand restraint.
We finished our tour of the pastry case with a Whoopie Pie, which didn’t quite inspire dreams of childhood like the version at SusieCakes, but still delivered some satisfaction with the rich chocolate cookies and vanilla cream filling.