The Joy of Baking

angie and ken

Angie Speranza and Ken Zuidema at the bake shop

Couple opens cafe in Cold Spring

After holing up in Vermont for four months early in the pandemic shutdown, Angie Speranza sought comfort and activity in a pastime that had always brought happiness: baking. She baked for friends and neighbors, to feel productive, and continued to bake after relocating to Carmel with her husband, Ken Zuidema. 

“We made friends in the Carmel area and started giving Angie’s baked goods away to them,” Zuidema recalls. “After trying them, they asked if we sold them anywhere. We got a few orders from a website we put together, then decided to look for a space. Everyone, everywhere wanted us to come to where they lived.”

After scoping out locations from Katonah to Fishkill, they honed in on Cold Spring and Beacon. Nothing fit the bill until someone mentioned to Bill Pugh of Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate a flyer at the Garden Cafe on Main Street that said the space soon would be available. Pugh passed that along to Angie and Ken, who went to have a look, and Angie’s Bake Shop and Cafe was born.

It was actually born decades earlier, when Speranza’s Italian grandmother shared her kitchen skills.

“What I learned most from my grandmother is that she didn’t bake for herself, she baked for everyone else,” Speranza says. “She had her recipes but didn’t follow them. She did it by feel, instinct, love. She just ‘knew,’ and that’s how I learned.

Morning muffins

Morning muffins

“Throughout my life, I’ve been drawn to making people happy through presenting them with a baked good, seeing someone smile taking a bite out of it, hoping that it might translate into making their day better,” she says. “I’ve been looking at recipes my whole life, but a lot of it is instinctual — I know exactly how that dough is supposed to feel and how the dough should look at every minute of baking.”

Speranza says she finds it therapeutic to get up in the middle of the night and bake, which is good, because she’s doing a lot of that now. The shop sells baked goods such as jumbo muffins, breakfast biscuits, cookies, cupcakes, lemon pound squares, deep-dish brownies, pies, strawberry shortcakes and bread (including sourdough, soft loaves and challah), as well as baguette sandwiches.

There’s Joe’s Coffee, chosen after much sampling, plus iced coffee, tea and lemonade, and perhaps espresso if the supply chain cooperates.

Speranza did not start her career as a baker: She worked in marketing and promotion at CNN and other networks, then cut and edited film trailers before joining Showtime. In 2017, she founded her own company, Girlband. She ran it until the pandemic forced her to reassess.

“That’s when the baking started,” she says with a laugh. “Business was OK, but it came to a point where living in New York City just wasn’t working for me.”

A breakfast biscuit at Angie's Bakery

A breakfast biscuit at Angie’s Bakery (Photos provided)

Zuidema had experience in the restaurant industry — starting from a job at age 12 washing dishes in a pizzeria and reselling fruit from Hunts Point Market to Manhattan sidewalk vendors. Among other positions, he managed a Sbarro’s and an Upper East Side cafe, and spent four years working in restaurants in Denmark. Eventually he returned to New York, got a degree in information technology and worked in that field for 15 years before returning to food.

The couple says that, before opening, they visited all the nearby food businesses to see what they sold. “We didn’t want to overlap and step on anyone’s toes,” Speranza says. 

“The community has been so nice,” Zuidema adds. “For two people who have spent 35 years in New York City, it’s fantastic. Our customers have been amazing: Many unload about their lives, loves, emotions. The tourist season is going to be great but we want to serve the locals. People are full of suggestions, which we love, and are already loyal. That’s been the best and the nicest surprise.”

Angie’s Bake Shop, at 116 Main St. in Cold Spring, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday to Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on holiday Mondays such as Memorial Day. See angiebakeshop.com.

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