Open since February 1, 2014, Buttermilk Bakeshop is the creation of Chef Katie Rosenhouse. She has graced the kitchens of Bouley Bakery and Le Cirque as a pastry assistant, The Russian Tea Room as a pastry sous chef, Country and Olana as executive pastry chef, and the David Burke Restaurant Group as head pastry chef. You may also recognize her as the winner of “Sweet Genius” (Season 1). Now, you can step inside her quaint bakery, with its allure of freshly baked goods. Everything sweet that rises in the oven is on display here: cookies, cupcakes, scones, croissants, biscotti, quiche, granola, and pound cake to name a few. Recently, Battman stopped by her shop to photograph one of her sweet creations (Monkey Buns, if you must know!) for his upcoming book, “Crossing Borders.” Kara Chin was also there to get the scoop on Buttermilk Bakeshop, Rosenhouse’s addition to the Brooklyn block.
CC: When did you know you wanted to open a shop?
“Since I was a kid, actually. I wanted an ice cream store. I started working as a pastry chef and then [I thought] it would be nice to have a bakery. And we [sell] ice cream, so I got that in there.
“My parents always used to bring us to Serendipity. When I was a kid, we were living in New Jersey. So to come into the city and go to Serendipity, I [thought] ‘This is the greatest thing!’ I think that’s why.
“And my mother and my grandmother were big bakers. The apricot bar is from my grandmother, and the raisin crumb cake and the carrot cake are from my mother.”
CC: So are most of your recipes from your family?
“Some of them are definitely passed down. Some of them are from working in restaurants – an accumulation of my favorite recipes over the last eight years. Some of them are just really good. This was in Food and Wine in 2000-something and a couple other ones. My favorite, best recipes are what’s left here.”
CC: Where do you find inspiration for new recipes?
“I have a list of stuff that I eventually want to phase in. So right now, we’re just working our way through the rest. Soon, we’re going to change over. We were doing an apple tart for a while; we nixed that and started doing the lemon poppy seed cake. Then we’ll nix that and start doing something else, like pies, when the season changes. [It’ll] definitely [be] home-style, definitely comforting. Just really good desserts, hopefully.
“In life, you just try so many things. It’s a lot of from what I remember being a kid and really loving, like the sprinkle cookies. There was an Italian bakery by my house that had sprinkle cookies, so [I said] we have to have sprinkle cookies.”
CC: What are your best-selling items?
“Monkey Buns – a cinnamon and sticky bun with pecans, banana, and caramel. Also, Nutella Lovebites and Purple Velvet Whoopie Pies. It’s purple, because purple is like royalty.”
CC: Do you have a favorite item here?
“I would say the Sunflower Cookie.”
CC: Almost everything is made in-house. Is there anything you don’t make?
“The ice cream cones. And the baguettes.”
CC: What’s next for Buttermilk Bakeshop?
“To do this [holds hand steady] and maybe a little of this [hand motion going up]. We’ve been doing really well and I’d like to just stay this way. We do a lot of birthday cakes, so if we could grow that … That’s all this shop can handle. Eventually, it would be great to do cooking classes. And kids’ parties would be fun. I mean, obviously, we have a limit at maybe eight kids.
“Sometimes because we’re baking here and people like to watch, they don’t get the opportunity to sit and watch like they should. It would be nice to have that, to have [more] seating. But we’re a new business. We’re small. The rent is a little lower than it would be in a place with seating. To me, that was the smarter way to go: let me see how busy we’ll be. So some sacrifices have to be made. Someone said, ‘It’s like going into someone’s home kitchen and then getting to buy something.’ And I think that’s what it’s supposed to be. So it kinda worked out.”
Interview and photos by Kara Chin
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