Passing in front of CeciBakery (Viriato, 57) and not having your eyes (and nose) go inside the tiny establishment is a challenge. The beautiful and colorful cakes that are seen from the street invite the passer-by to enter and, in most cases, to fall into temptation. Located in a strategic place, between the Hospital La Milagrosa, the Amaya theater, the Chamberí market and several schools, the place, which has no more than 47 square meters, but still fits five tables to taste the product in situ with a coffee, has become in just two years one of the most requested cake shops in the neighborhood. The reason for the continuous coming and going of customers, especially at snack time, is mainly the specialty of the house: cheesecake.
Up to 23 different flavors of cheesecakes are written on a large blackboard behind the counter, but the options increase to more than 30 if ordered in advance. Cheesecake of conguitos, passion fruit with natural raspberries, violet caramel, green tea, Jijona nougat, salted caramel, lemon, chocolate and baileys ... are just some of the varieties that Cecilio Romero makes every day, owner, along with her husband Carlos Tovar, of CeciBakery. To the cheesecakes are added another 40 varieties of cakes (chocolate with oreo, piña colada, red velvet, dark beer ...), six different types of brownies, sweet and savory pastries and cookies.
"I do everything and my husband sells everything," says smiling Ceci, a Valencian chef who, after 20 years in the kitchens of several restaurants in Valencia and Madrid (he managed five), decided to turn his life around and dedicate himself to baking, his great passion. Every day, he makes sure that the showcases are filled with the cakes he makes in the small workshop in the back room. The three classics are always available: the carrot cake, the chocolate cake and the New York Cheesecake, which can be purchased whole (from 28 euros) or by portions (between 5 and 6 euros). "And then I take out two more cakes and three other cheesecakes of different flavors that I rotate." On weekends, the offer increases to six or seven more cheesecakes, in addition to the New York. Lotus biscuit cream and passion fruit are usually indisputable... and fly.
All natural and low in sugar
One of the keys to the success of CeciBakery is that the products, in addition to being handmade, are made with good quality ingredients and controlling sugar a lot, "so that they are not cloying". The pastry chef does not use dyes, fondant or buttercream (buttercream with sugar), which affects the appearance of the cakes. "People think they are a lie, to decorate, but in reality everything is natural, it is the color of the fruits I use," says Ceci.
Lotus cookie cream cheesecake,.
He assures that what sells best is the traditional, although he always puts a more creative personal point. "For example, to the cake of the grandmother of a lifetime, I incorporate a chocolate mousse inside and then I cover it with milk chocolate ganache." Another thing that triumphs at CeciBakery is tiramisu, which has a waiting list of about 25 people. "I do it when I have time, and we have a list of people who want us to let them know when it's available."
In the establishment, in addition to five tables, a couple of refrigerators and the counter with display cases, there is a small library with some pastry books that, according to Ceci, are available to customers while they have a coffee. Among his favorites are that of the American Martha Stewart, that of the pastry chef Paco Torreblanca and that of the master Oriol Balaguer. "I have a lot of cookbooks, at home too and I read them constantly."
Both books, networks, Internet, etc ... They serve as a source of inspiration to make his creations. "I take a look at them and try different things. In order not to bore myself and not bore the public, I take risks with different recipes. A lot of people come every week to discover the new things I do."
Ceci (left) and Carlos, the owners of CecyBakery.
In recent months, the influx of public has increased considerably thanks to word of mouth, their social networks and those of some famous people who recommend the cakes of the workshop. "Some actors from the Amaya Theater across the street, others from La Casa de Papel and Lorena Castell, the singer and presenter who won the last MasterChef Celebrity, have come here more than once," says Carlos. Another major source of customers is Google. "We have almost 300 reviews with five stars and more and more people from outside Madrid and foreigners come to the store for the recommendations they see in the search engine." They include carrot cake and cheesecakes, especially.
But business didn't always go well. The germ of CeciBakery is in the New York bakery chain Magnolia Bakery, famous for appearing in the series Sex and the City. On a trip to the American city in 2017, Ceci and Carlos fell in love with the place and took ideas. From that visit, his shop was born.
It was three years later. Ready to take a turn in her professional life, in 2020, a month and a half before the confinement due to the pandemic, Ceci opened her business. "Imagine the stick. I had to close and go home to wait for us to reopen." The strategic location of the premises, in the neighborhood of Almagro, in Chamberí, helped him to move forward. "Since people could only walk around their neighborhood, they would walk past the store, see that it was something new and stop to try."
At first he was alone. I made the cakes, put them on the counter, sold them, cashed in... "There was a time when business went on and I needed help." Her husband Carlos left his job and now between the two "they manage with everything".
What they are most proud of, they say, is the closeness to the public. "We love being a neighborhood store and getting to know the customer. At the entrance it says 'Everyone Is Welcome Here' and I think people feel very comfortable." Also the dogs, which always await the occasional treat.
Place: Viriathus, 57. Madrid
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 12 to 21 h.; Sundays, from 12 to 20 h. Closed on Mondays.
Telephone: 912 60 47 14
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