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Love Cake Boss? Carlo’s Bake Shop– an Easy Visit from NYC (with tasty souvenirs!)

The Cake Boss and Carlo’s Bake Shop: just my neighborhood bakery

Carlo’s Bake Shop– yes that bakery, the one featured on the wildly popular reality show, Cake Boss— was once my neighborhood bakery, back when I lived in a quaint Hoboken townhouse just a few blocks from Frank Sinatra’s birthplace.

I loved living in my Hoboken neighborhood, which seemed to me more traditionally Italian than even New York City’s Little Italy, its shops virtually unchanged over generations. Whenever out-of-town guests came to visit, I took the opportunity to visit my favorite shops and show off the local products of my adopted neighborhood.

I had my shopping routine down– first, I’d make an early morning trip to Antique Bakery for their freshly baked “sticks” (baguettes) and sausage bread.  Next, I’d swing by Fiore’s for the best fresh mozzarella anywhere on this planet. Then I’d finish up at Carlo’s Bake Shop and load up on flaky “lobster tail” pastries and cannolis, packed the old-fashioned way in cardboard boxes, tied up with a string.

Carlo’s Bake Shop, Before the Cake Boss

Cake Boss Carlo's Bake shop Carlo’s Bake Shop has always been a local landmark in Hoboken, having served the local community for over a hundred years. Head baker (and now “Cake Boss”) Buddy Valastro or one of his family members would usually be manning the counter, always providing friendly service and that old school Italian charm.

I eventually moved away from Hoboken back to Manhattan’s Upper East Side, but never forgot my old Hoboken haunts. So when family recently visited and requested a trip to Hoboken to visit the Cake Boss bakery, I was happy to play tour guide.

How to get from New York City to visit the Cake Boss– Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken

Most New York visitors (and even some residents) don’t realize how easy Hoboken is to get to from Manhattan– it’s a quick ride on the Path train (10 minutes from the World Trade Center site, 15 minutes from midtown).

Riding the Path train is similar to riding the New York City subway– they sometimes even share the same entrances (look for the blue Path signs). You don’t even need to buy a separate fare card– your New York City MetroCard also works on the Path, but is a quarter cheaper per ride ($2.50 as of this writing).


No matter which Path line you take (via 6th avenue or the World Trade Center), your stop is the same– Hoboken. The “Cake Boss” Bakery is a short walk from the train.

cake boss hoboken street

Hoboken is filled with charming historic brownstones and is worth a stroll on a nice day.

When we arrived at Carlo’s Bake Shop, we were relieved to see no line out front.  It didn’t take us long to realize why.

cake boss Carlos Bake shop sign lineThis sign redirected visitors to the actual line, shifted a block away to ease congestion in front of the bakery.

cake boss line for carlos bakery hoboken

The line for Carlo’s Bake Shop on a Saturday. To avoid long waits, come on a weekday or early morning on a weekend.

The line may be long, but moves quickly. Even with all the new fame, Carlo’s Bake Shop has not forgotten local residents, who are allowed to skip the line with proof of residency.

carlo's bakery cake boss, inside

My niece Liz is a superfan of Cake Boss and has seen every episode. My nephew Colin is a superfan of cookies and enjoys eating them.

On this Saturday, I visited the shop with my very excited niece and nephew, Liz and Colin. They browsed the display case and picked out their favorites treats.

What’s it like to shop at the home of the Cake Boss, Carlo’s Bake Shop?

crowd inside carlo's bake shop cake boss If you come on a weekend, it’s likely to be crowded.  Fortunately, the crowd was happy to be there and didn’t seem to mind the wait– everyone was polite and civilized.

What treats can you look forward to ogling in the display cases?

cake boss pastries lobster tails cannolisItalian pastries, my personal favorites. The bakery sometimes runs out, so get there early if you have your heart set on a lobster tail (the house specialty– a flaky puffed pastry filled with a decadent French cream and a touch of Bailey’s Irish Cream).

cake boss chocolate cakeFabulous looking cakes. It’s easy to see how Buddy earned the moniker “Cake Boss.”

Cake boss strawberry cheesecake carlo's bake shop

This strawberry cheesecake looked incredible.

Cookies and more cookies. If you’re coming in from out-of-town, an assortment of Italian butter cookies will be the easiest souvenir to bring home with you. DSC02655Jam sandwiches cookies, topped with powdered sugar.

Carlos bake shop cake boss

Cookies platters to go, wrapped in Carlo’s Bake shop printed cellophane,

You’ll find other souvenirs too, like these Carlos Bake Shop mugs, chef jackets and Cake Boss-signed water bottles.cake boss staff works carlo's bake shopFrom what I hear it’s rare to find Buddy the Cake Boss minding the shop these days, as he is off working on other projects. Fortunately, the current employees here maintain the same friendliness and neighborhood vibe that I remembered.

Heading back to Manhattan from Hoboken

The trip back to Manhattan on the Path train is just as easy as the way in, just walk a few short blocks to the station.

hoboken shops

Liz tries to pose with her treats from Carlo’s Bake Shop but is photobombed by her little brother.

hoboken riverfront walk

On your walk back, stop by the riverfront to catch dramatic views of New York City.

hoboken path train entrance by river

Don’t worry if you stay after dark– Hoboken (and the Path train) are very safe, even late at night.

Liz and Colin rated the cannolis and lobster tails as top-notch souvenirs. They stored them in my fridge overnight and then brought them on a four-hour car ride home the next day.

carlo's bake shop sweets cake bossLiz and Colin also recommend the colorful Italian butter cookies, which along with certain cakes, might make a more durable souvenir if you’re traveling farther than a few hours away.

Have you been to Carlo’s Bake Shop, or do you have your own favorite neighborhood Italian bakery? Share in the comments below!

Souvenir Shopping Details:
Carlo’s Bake Shop (home of the “Cake Boss”)
95 Washington St. Hoboken NJ
From Manhattan, take the Path train and walk three blocks.

All photos by Souvenir Finder, Copyright 2014.

Special thanks to junior editors Liz and Colin for assistance with this post.

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16 Responses to Love Cake Boss? Carlo’s Bake Shop– an Easy Visit from NYC (with tasty souvenirs!)

  1. whywasteannualleave 02/25/2014 at 11:07 am #

    I’m over in England but have seen his programme a couple of times and am always so impressed with the cakes! Can’t believe this was once your neighbourhood bakery – amazing!

    • Kristin Francis 03/01/2014 at 8:06 am #

      Thanks for commenting! I haven’t ever seen the program actually but it is huge over here. My niece loves the show.

  2. sueslaght 02/25/2014 at 3:17 pm #

    Truly a good thing I don’t live near the bakery. Likely would have to sign up for another bloody marathon! I really enjoyed this post Kristin and of course seeing your niece and nephew again. Cuties.

    • Kristin Francis 03/01/2014 at 8:04 am #

      Thanks Sue! Yes it was dangerous when I lived there which is why I tried to only go when company was coming– it was my excuse to binge. But it seemed like I had lots of visitors back then!

  3. Just Add Attitude 02/28/2014 at 3:25 am #

    What an amazing array of cakes and other sweet treats, I can understand why people would stand in line to buy them. It’s a long time since I was in New York and would love to go back one day. 😉

    • Kristin Francis 03/01/2014 at 8:03 am #

      Come over! I’ll be writing a lot more about NYC once this polar vortex breaks…

  4. fingknitcoolgal 02/28/2014 at 5:32 am #

    The kids look adorable and so do the cakes! I wish if I were near NYC (or Hoboken) so I could sample their delicious offerings… (^-^)

    • Kristin Francis 03/01/2014 at 8:02 am #

      Aww thanks! It’s fun to have some cute models! Yes you have to try cannolis if you ever make it here!

  5. PurpleTravelKate 03/12/2014 at 5:18 am #

    I would never be able to leave that shop – the colours, the selection, even the little butter cookies, it all looks amazing!

  6. Michael Tinlin 05/22/2014 at 5:47 am #

    Hi where can I get some of the clothes saying Carlo’s bakery

    • Kristin Francis 05/22/2014 at 11:08 am #

      They do have tees and other clothing items in the bakery’s Hoboken location.

  7. Carolyn 08/10/2014 at 6:42 am #

    This is really helpful for the transport info especially, thanks so much! Looking forward to our trip in a couple of weeks from the UK, we love watching Cake Boss

    • Kristin Francis 08/11/2014 at 11:08 pm #

      Thanks! Hoboken is fun too, take some time to explore! : )

  8. mark 01/10/2015 at 9:00 am #

    how do you go about actually buying tickets to visit the bakery..I have a trip planned to go to the bakery next week.

    • Kristin Francis 01/10/2015 at 11:58 am #

      Hi Mark, there are no tickets to buy to enter Carlos Bakery, it’s free. The post above has details.

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