City Hall Bake Shop: Home of “Cake Boss”

Cannolis at Carlos' Bakery 

Many visitors to Manhattan miss out on the great opportunity to visit nearby Hoboken, NJ.  I have done the same on past trips to The Big Apple, but my most recent trip afforded me the great pleasure and impetus to try visiting the bustling bakery of Buddy Valastro (a.k.a. “Cake Boss”) and his family.

Cake Boss is a reality television show on TLC that follows the life and talent of cake artist Buddy Valastro and the operations of Carlos’ Bake Shop. Sounds cliché to want to see the real deal in action, but I like Italian pastries, and this place has been here a long time. They know what they’re doing.

I had only seen Cake Boss a few times, but was really intrigued by the inner workings of an Italian family that operates a business together, coupled by my fascination with how a person can decorate cakes, teach classes and still remain as creative as he is. Although Buddy has a team of talented artists (you can see that quite nicely on his show), he is the genius behind the cake creations that will leave you baffled by the fact that they are completely edible pieces of artwork.

Carlos’ bakery is so busy that as of November 2009, they weren’t even taking cake orders until February 2010 (now).  Lucky for us, at the time we were only looking for some cannolis…

We made it out of Manhattan just in time to get to the bakery before closing. They were cleaning up and getting ready to lock the doors when I was able to grab some of my most favorite Sicilian goodies: chocolate cannolis ($12.95/lb. for small ones and $3.50 each for large ones), crescent almond cookies and Italian Flag Cookies ($18.95/lb.) (made of three colored dough layers (red and green  like the Italian flag) and topped with a chocolate. They’re quite hard to find, actually.

Carlos' Italian Flag Cookies  The cannolis were freshly stuffed with their cream as we ordered them and I didn’t make it out the door before almost finishing the crescent cookies. I saved the flag cookies to look at just a bit longer- did I mention they’re quite hard to find?

Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, was nowhere to be found. Maybe he was upstairs working on his next amazing cake creation, but one of his sisters who I’d seen on the show was actually taking our order at the cash register. 

Italian cookies are a bit hard to come by, but you can make them yourself with a bit of preparation and patience. They’ll be especially appreciated at a large gathering like a wedding or an‘Eid’ party.

Avoiding non-Halal Ingredients in Italian Baked Goods

  • Baked goods are sometimes prepared using liquor such as brandy, rum and amaretto. Most common among them is amaretti, or amaretto-flavored cookies.
  • Be sure to ask about all of the components of your desserts before ordering. Sometimes even cherries served atop the traditional Spumoni ice cream may be soaked in rum or amaretto.

For more details about what to watch out for when eating out Italian, check out the Eating Out page.

City Hall Bake Shop

95 Washington St., Hoboken, NJ 07030
(201) 659 – 3671

Disclaimer: I do not receive complimentary food nor am I paid or persuaded in any format to review the restaurant or location in a positive or negative way; the purpose of the review is to inform readers and potential restaurant goers of the types of food they could potentially order with accordance to a halal diet. If you would me to taste a menu at your restaurant, please contact me.

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  1. Hi, Canolli’s at Carlos Bakery are Haram as its fried in Lard. people should ask the staff the exact ingredients, methods used, and how food is cooked in to ensure food is halal.

  2. Also Marsala wine is used in the ingedients of the casing. I discovered this when I looked up the ingredients after buying them from an Italian bakery. As a half Italian I am sad to say I can no longer indulge in my beloved cannollis lol ;( oh well. My non Muslim family enjoyed them though haha!

  3. Hey, just so you know, the cannolis are fried in lard and are haram. The girl behind the counter informed me when she saw that my friend was wearing a hijab.

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