FIELDSTON, The Bronx (PIX11) — It’s a New York culinary delight that manages to reach far beyond its Bronx home base to places around the world. That’s especially true during this festive week when Lloyd’s flagship product Carrot Cake is in greatest demand.
A long line stretches the length of the block from the small business of the store throughout the day, Monday through Wednesday before Thanksgiving. But, one look at the kitchen and behind the counter provides an idea of what all the fuss is about. Plus, a conversation with co-owner Lilka Adams, the daughter of founder Lloyd Adams, provides even more insight.
“Of all the cakes my dad could have made,” he said inside his small business bakery, “he made the highest maintenance cake of all time.”
He was half joking, saying that the right combination of ingredients, baking time, and experience turns a batch of root vegetables into something thousands of people wait in line for days during the holidays.
Another critical factor in making New York’s most popular carrot cake is someone who knows your business’s kitchen intimately.
“I’ll make it from scratch,” Ruth Bailey said in the middle of the business’s prep and oven area.
She has been the head baker at Lloyds for decades and every day combines flour, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, baking powder, raisins, nuts and of course carrots, in just the right amounts.
The amount of carrots, in particular, is unusually high: There are five cups of chopped and shredded carrots in each 10-inch cake.
“It really adds to the fluffiness, softness, moisture and consistency of the cake,” said Lilka Adams.
She also noted that her father’s recipe calls for an unorthodox frosting, which each cake is topped with: its base is cream cheese rather than a butter base, like the frosting on so many other carrot cakes.
Customers can opt for a cake with pecans and raisins on top, and there’s a wait for everything.
“About an hour and a half,” said Earline Brown, who was near the front of the line, which stretched more than a block long.
She said it was worth the wait.
“You can’t get carrot cake like this anywhere but the Bronx,” he said. “Delicious.”
Also near the front of the line on Tuesday afternoon was a customer who gave only his first name, Ramysh.
“Absolutely worth it,” he agreed, adding that it has always been rewarding for him. “I’ve been coming here five or six years,” she said.
At the end of the line was Fior Melecia, who said she was prepared for a long wait.
“For a good reason, right?” she said. “This is the best cake in town.”
The exact amount of flour, sugar, etc., that the recipe contains is a secret, as are the additional ingredients that founder Lloyd Andrews invented.
“My dad was watching Knicks games with his friends and he’d make them a cake,” Lilka Andrews explained, “and they’d say, ‘You’ve got something here.’”
Lloyd Adams founded the business in 1986 in his father-in-law’s basement in East Harlem. It became two locations: one in the Fieldston neighborhood, one in the Bronx, and one in East Harlem. It has also become an institution.
The founder passed away in 2005. His wife and business partner, Betty Campbell-Adams, passed away two years ago.
Now her daughter, Lilka, and son, Brandon, are co-owners of the business.
He partnered with a few other companies to promote his brand.
Lilka Adams wore limited-edition Vans by Lloyd’s shoes and a special-edition Lloyd’s T-shirt by clothing label Kith for her interview.
“We want to make sure that with the expansion,” he said, “the consistency of our recipe and our product remains the same.”
The demand for that product is a testament to its quality. One wall of the main bakery, on Broadway, facing Van Cortlandt Park, is lined with some of the many news articles written about the signature cake.
It’s been eaten by devotees all over the world, though Lloyd’s only delivers in the US. Lilka Adams said many customers come into the store, purchase the cake, and then have it shipped or delivered in person to a wide variety of destinations.
“Paris, Italy, China, Afghanistan, the entire Caribbean, Costa Rica,” he said.
Thanksgiving week is the busiest for the business, with Wednesday, the day before the holiday, being the busiest.
It is open for in-person pickup from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, excluding Thanksgiving or Sundays.
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