Pier Village’s first bakery celebrates its 10th year…and keeps getting sweeter
By Marisa Procopio • Photos by Eric Taylor
When Italian-born, Long Branch girl Nada Koenigsberg was growing up, family togetherness was a given. Times, by and large, have since changed, but when she saw Pier Village being constructed, she knew it would be the kind of a place that would attract families—and a positive step forward in the rejuvenation of the city.
“It was so nice to see they were doing something new. I just wanted to be involved. It’s a community thing,” she said. “And I have an emotional attachment to Long Branch.”
Koenigsberg (seen above) had opened a small chocolate shop to start, then opened Cake Bake & Roll in 2004.
“I used to work for a bakery in Long Branch…my first job,” she smiled.
Inside her cheerful, retro-meets-outre shop, pastries, cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and cannoli shimmer colorfully along one counter. Everything is made from scratch; customers can even order one slice of cake, which is unusual, and popular. (Koenigsberg said customers should be able to have a slice of cake, with ice cream or without. “If it’s not your birthday, we won’t tell,” is the expression she uses.) The rotating freezer full of gelato, an import from Europe, is kind of a show stopper. It’s not just kids who get mesmerized by this thing, either. Spinning gallons of ice cream has that effect on humans of every stripe.
The shop’s bar lights up as well, another very deliberate old world touch. (“I wanted the whole European experience,” the owner asserted.)
Further along those lines, crepes are made to order; and watching them be created is a good part of the fun. The caramelized apple crepe, crispy-soft-sweet, is filled with syrupy apples, expertly folded into a neat square, and topped with a squiggle of caramel and powdered sugar.
“People are looking for something different,” Koenigsberg said.
This something-different extends from the menu, too; Cake Bake & Roll is also available for private parties, meetings, cupcake decorating, and more, and offers custom cakes as well.
“Monmouth University parents are always calling because they forgot their kids’ birthdays or whatever,” she laughed. When asked the challenges of owning this type of shop, in this location and especially during off season, the owner replied, “Getting the word out, and getting local people coming in. I want it to be a destination for family—that was my whole goal. I’m trying to celebrate the family unit. I want a place that’s pretty, where you can just sit down and enjoy.” •
Cake, Bake & Roll
52 Laird St., Long Branch
732.483.6286 / cakebakeandroll.com