One of my favorite things to do is to explore the LIC Flea. It’s a good way to learn about new businesses and try unique food. If you have been following us on Instagram, then you’d know about CakeBox NYC. I don’t often use the word “obsession” when describing food; especially not for cakes but these Tres Leches cakes just might be my new obsession. In the vein of previous successful vendors (Dough, Ice and Vice, Wafels and Dinges), they have taken a simple product and developed a special level of variety. Their cakes come in a wide selection of flavors that seems to be increasing almost every weekend. I’ve yet to try their Carrot Cake Tres Leches but I’ve been lucky enough to catch their other offerings before they’ve sold out.
CakeBox NYC's greatness hasn’t only been noticed by me. They won “Best Food Vendor” at the LIC Flea and have a growing number of loyal customers. Naturally, the most logical reason for this sudden stream of achievement would be a great product. While that is still true, credit must be given to the wonderful staff and owner. These just may be the nicest people you’ll ever meet. They love to engage with customers and are eager for honest feedback. I’ve gotten familiar with the crew of CakeBox NYC so I felt it was fitting to conduct an interview with the owner.
EDG: What made you decide on Tres Leches? Was it always Tres Leches?
CAKEBOX NYC: This particular cake has a lot of history behind it. I had my first taste of Tres Leches when I was a child on vacation with my family in Aruba and I fell madly in love. After, I began my career as a chef I decided to bake one myself. I searched online and tried a few different recipes, but none reminded me of the very first Tres Leches that I encountered. It was a desire that was never quite satisfied until I decided to create my own recipe. My family and friends loved it so much that it became a tradition for me to bake Tres Leches on holidays and special events. Tres Leches also was the first dessert that I made for my fiancé before our engagement and between you and me; I think it sealed the deal! “Was it always Tres Leches?” I chose Tres Leches because it holds great memories, has versatility, history and culture. It just felt right. It had to be the first item that I presented to the public.
EDG: How long did you guys test with recipes before choosing the final products?
CAKEBOX NYC: The original Classic Tres Leches took me quite a few years to perfect. Once I had the base recipe mastered, I decided to experiment with multiple flavors. Such as the Chocolate Espresso, which amazingly came out right the first time I baked it. I made the Lemon Coconut Tres Leches a few times before I was confident enough to sell it. Each flavor took various amounts of time to complete, depending on the ingredients utilized.
EDG: Were there any flavors that didn't make the cut?
CAKEBOX NYC: We have not released anything that we do not have the utmost confidence in. There are a couple of new flavors that we are still working on and we are looking forward to having the public taste them.
EDG: What is your best seller?
CAKEBOX NYC: You would think it would be the Classic Vanilla Tres Leches because it is traditional but our top seller is the Lemon Coconut. Our next two upcoming contenders are the Carrot and Tiramisu Tres Leches.
EDG: What made the LIC Flea an ideal platform to introduce your brand?
CAKEBOX NYC: We love the fact that it is located in queens and it is a market that supports the creativity of their vendors. It felt like the right fit and if it were not for the LIC Flea we would not have the opportunity to meet all of the wonderful people we have come in contact with.
EDG: How has LIC Flea helped you as a start up? What benefits does it have for rookie vendors?
CAKEBOX NYC: The LIC Flea is a great place for start up vendors because they advertise their vendors in the local newspapers and social media. They give us the platform to showcase our product and build a solid customer base that will hopefully expand as we continue to grow.
EDG:How do you guys feel about the upcoming arrival of LIC Smorgasburg? Is it a threat or do you think the two events can coexist peacefully?
CAKEBOX NYC: We are passionate about food, queens and there is room in this world for everyone to thrive and be successful. Hopefully, the LIC Flea and the LIC Somorgasburg can work together to showcase what queens has to offer.
EDG:Have you guys tried food from the other vendors? Do you have a favorite?
CAKEBOX NYC: Of course we have but we play no favorites. There are a few vendors that we have grown close to over the last couple of months. To name a few, in no particular order, Bisska NYC, Rice and Chopsticks, Hanks Juicy Beef and Lumpia Merienda.
EDG: Which direction do you wish for CakeBox NYC to go in the future?
CAKEBOX NYC: Our mission is to open up a bakery. A location where we can cater with a variety of baked goods that are inspired by cultures from around the world.
EDG: As much as we don't want to think about it- summer will eventually end. Where can we find your tres leches after the season?
CAKEBOX NYC: Even though this season will come to an end, CakeBox NYC will still serve Tres Leches! As of right now, we have not joined any other markets for the winter but we are more than optimistic that our future is bright. We plan to still accommodate private orders and we are open to new business endeavors. If there are any changes we will certainly keep you posted.