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Sweet Biz Is Piece of Cake

Pastry chef Ben Borgognone remembers his first cake “as if it was yesterday.” He was 12 years old and had already put in four years at his father’s shop, Alba Bakery in Brooklyn, washing pots and doing whatever else dad asked him to do. It was the end of the day and Borgognone was alone in the shop when a customer came in wanting a specially decorated cake. He set about filling the cake with cannoli cream, icing and decorating it, and even making the roses.

Since then it’s been the bakery business for this energetic and personable pastry chef. He received a degree in hotel and restaurant management from NYIT and worked as an assistant pastry chef at the Plaza Hotel.

In 1995, when he was 29, he opened The Buttercooky Bakery in Floral Park, expanding a German mom and pop shop into a 1,400-square-foot premier bakery offering European-style pastries with a café area that seats 40 people. Nine years ago he opened what he calls his “boutique” Buttercooky Bakery in Manhasset. The Manhasset store has seating for eight people to enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry.

Borgognone takes pride in the quality of the ingredients, using fresh fruit, real whipped cream and Belgian chocolate for his pastries. At the Floral Park shop, 18 bakers turn out 60 different types of layer cakes that include chocolate tiramisu, blood orange with Bavarian cream, cappuccino mousse and a traditional Sacher Torte with raspberries. His best selling cakes are tres leche cake and “fruit salad” cake: a white chiffon sponge with vanilla custard and fresh fruit (pineapple, bananas, peaches and strawberries) covered with fresh whipped cream.

“It’s the epitome of what I do,” he says. “It’s light, refreshing and not too sweet.” There are three bakers at work at the Manhasset shop. Other pastries that are especially popular are individual cakes, French macaroons, lobster tails filled with Bavarian cream, tiramisu and fruit tarts.

Borgognone loves the creativity of coming up with new pastries, mixing and matching flavors and especially enjoys putting the finishing touches on cakes. To keep his ideas as fresh as his pastries, he does a lot of reading and is especially taken with the work of Pierre Herme, the French pastry chef renowned for his macaroons.

“I love to do my magic and make the customers happy,” says Borgognone.

There are plans underway to open half a dozen satellite Buttercooky bakeries in various communities throughout Long Island this year, perhaps Garden City, Great Neck and Rockville Centre for starters.

News

Community gathers together

for 16th annual Liz’s Day

When a young woman named Elizabeth McFarland died of breast cancer, a group of women gathered together for a small meeting and Liz’s Day was born.

On Sept. 27, the 16th annual Liz’s Day took place at the Floral Park Recreation Center. The event featured a used book sale, a Chinese style auction raffle, foods, drinks and music. All of the money raised from the event went to breast cancer research.

A Village of Stewart Manor Board of Trustees meeting turned into a lesson in the values of community engagement on Oct. 6. The regularly scheduled village meeting was attended by a group of Boy Scouts working toward a merit badge who witnessed new laws enacted and speeches from Fire Chief Tom Skinner and members of the Elmont School District Board of Education.  

Members of Troop 134 attended the meeting to gain an Eagle Scout-required merit badge for Citizenship within the Community. They were required to go to a town hall-style meeting and witness a little democracy in action.


Calendar

Firematic Awards Ceremony

Thursday, October 16

St. Elisabeth’s Craft Fair

Saturday, October 18

Floral Park Memorial High School Homecoming

Saturday, October 18



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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