New downtown Berkeley bakery channels New York

Cakes and Purls is owned by Marie Sitaro, who grew up in Brooklyn, and bakes New York-style pastries. Photo: Cakes and Purls

Marie Sitaro, who opened Cakes and Purls bakery on Allston Way in downtown Berkeley on Saturday, would like everyone to slow down just a little. “We all need to get away from this fast-paced world sometimes,” says the baker who, with her new venture, is hoping to combine her passion for sweet treats with her love of knitting.

The new small-batch bakery offers the types of New York-style pastries Sitaro, who is of Italian heritage, remembers eating as a child growing up in Brooklyn: thick, luscious cheesecakes, seven-layer cookies, and pignoli made with pine nuts. ‘The types of things you don’t see so much here,” she says.

Sitaro worked as a pastry chef under the direction of Jean Georges and is a graduate of Women’s Initiative, which provides high-potential, low-income women with the training, funding and support to start their own businesses. She says she chanced upon the cute brick building in Trumpet Vine Court, around the corner from Jupiter and kitty-corner from Café Panini, and seized the opportunity to lease it when she saw it was for rent.

New York style cheesecake from Cake and Purls

Sitaro is buying all her ingredients locally when she can, and shopping at the Berkeley Farmers Market for fruit. She hopes to add crafting supplies to the store soon and to launch craft nights where people can gather to knit and eat desserts. The “Purls” in the bakery’s name is a clear nod to knitting.


She is unapologetic about being nostalgic for less frenetic times. “I guess I have a new concept with an old-fashioned feel,” she says.

Cakes and Purls is at 2115 Allston Way. Hours: Monday-Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; closed Sundays and Wednesdays. Follow Cakes and Purls on Facebook for updates.

This story is published on Berkeleyside and on Berkeleyside NOSH, our new food section covering Oakland and Berkeley. Bookmark Berkeleyside NOSH and follow Berkeleyside NOSH on Twitter, and on Facebook.