Baked by Yael was founded in 2010 by recovering attorney Yael Krigman. After operating Baked by Yael as an online business for several years, Yael finally opened DC’s very first Cake-poppery® in 2015. Today, Baked by Yael has claimed the illustrious distinction of having cake pops that Washingtonian Magazine called “Best of Washington.” Side note – her bagels are truly a hidden gem of DC, and you must try them.
Now, bite into this exclusive interview with Yael as she digs into the trials and tribulations of running her very own cake pop shop in our nation’s capital.
Allie: I heard you used to be a lawyer. So…how did you wind up opening Baked by Yael?
Yael: When I worked at a big law firm, I used to bake for fun and I’d bring in my baked goods to share with coworkers each week. People would crowd in my office to try the latest “Monday Treat.” They would tell me I was a fine attorney… but that if it didn’t work out, I should start a bakery. I figured there was no reason to wait, so I started Baked by Yael. A part-time side gig eventually turned into a full-time passion.
Allie: When did you first start baking? Who taught you?
Yael: I remember making cookies with my family when I was little, but I started baking regularly when I was in law school. It’s amazing the skills you can develop when you’re trying to avoid studying for the bar exam!
My baking as an adult began with bagels. It was so hard to find a good bagel in DC. I finally gave up and decided to make my own. From there, I branched out to black & white cookies and rugelach, and then of course to cake pops!
Allie: How did you find the courage to take a risk and start your own business?
Yael: It wasn’t easy. I had a stable, well-paying job in the legal field. After a while, I started to realize that I had one job I worked because of the money and another job I worked because of the joy it gave me.
It was an email from the then-popular Daily Candy that really gave me the push I needed to leave my day job. They sent an email to all of their subscribers with the subject “The best bagel we’ve ever eaten.” That really put Baked by Yael on the map. The rest, as they say, is history!
Allie: Any new treats coming out this season that you’re particularly excited about?
Yael: We had our honey cake pops for Rosh Hashanah, and we’ll be rolling out some more seasonal flavors in the coming weeks. We’re also thinking of doing a spin on “Christmas in July” with hamantaschen in November. Stay tuned 🙂
Allie: What advice do you have for someone dreaming of opening up their own business?
Yael: Keep your eye on the prize and be prepared to develop thick skin! The journey of a small business owner is quite the emotional rollercoaster. You need a solid plan, a great product, and a strong support network of family, friends, and customers.
Allie: What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
Yael: I try to find time throughout the year for short trips or visits to the symphony. The highlight of my week is mentoring a middle school student. This is my fifth year with her. It brings me such joy to watch her grow and to know that I’m playing a small role in the life of an extraordinary young girl.
Allie: How are are you involved in DC’s local Jewish community?
Yael: I’m a member of Adas Israel, which is only a few blocks from Baked by Yael, and I’ve helped support the Edlavitch DCJCC by catering several fundraising events. I’m proud to provide one of the only options for fresh kosher food in DC.
Allie: What is your favorite Jewish food?
Yael: Oh man, that’s like asking a mother to choose between her children. If I had to pick one, I would probably say the black & white cookie. I used to only like the chocolate side, then I switched to preferring vanilla, and now I love both sides.
Baked by Yael is located at 3000 Connecticut Avenue (directly across from the National Zoo) or online at bestcakepopever.com. Baked by Yael offers curbside pickup at their bakery, as well as local delivery and nationwide shipping. You can also find Baked by Yael on weekends at the Cleveland Park and Palisades farmers’ markets in DC and the Old Town and Del Ray farmers’ markets in Alexandria. Baked by Yael’s products are nut-free and kosher, and have lots of gluten-free and vegan options as well. Kids and kids at heart can hold cake pop parties in Baked by Yael’s kitchen, offering all the fun of rolling, dipping, and decorating without the usual mess.