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Rockaway accountants moonlight as bakers

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Jacqueline Binder-Lopez and her husband Edgar Lopez work as accountants at CUNY colleges, but their new business, Dolly’s Sweet Shop, showcases a talent once only known to Binder-Lopez’s family.

“We’ve always baked,” Binder-Lopez said. “I’ve always been a good baker.”

Dolly’s Sweet Shop, named for Binder-Lopez’s mother Dolly Binder, is not an actual shop yet, but Lopez said the business already has fans and happy customers. From their home in Rockaway Park and at street festivals in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn, the pair have been selling homemade cupcakes, single-layer cakes, cheesecakes and more since late May.

“Hopefully, in a few years we can open our own bakery,” Binder-Lopez said.

Lopez said that while he and his wife work as accountants for CUNY schools — Binder-Lopez at Brooklyn College and Lopez at York College — they were inspired by Lopez’s brother-in-law, who owns a hot dog wagon, to create a business of their own. Lopez’s brother-in-law suggested they sell candy apples at festivals.

Binder said the family has a passion for food. She said that in addition to Binder-Lopez, whose cheesecakes were a favorite at family get-togethers, and her son, one of her daughters sells milkshakes in Breezy Point.

For their first festival, the pair started with candy apples, but when Lopez tried another stand’s cupcakes, he suggested Binder-Lopez make her own.

“I’m sure that you can do much better than this,” Lopez said he told his wife at the time.

Some flavors of cupcakes Dolly’s Sweet Shop offers include chocolate strawberry, chocolate with chocolate chips, coconut, red velvet, cappuccino blast and Sunkist meringue. While on the festival circuit, cupcakes cost $2 each. When ordering online or by phone, an average single layer cake costs $25 and a batch of cupcakes costs around $45. These prices are negotiable and Binder-Lopez said she will work to the client’s needs.

“I’m versatile,” Binder-Lopez said.

While there are no light or sugar-free options as of yet, Binder-Lopez said the Sunkist cupcakes are made with honey and she is working on additional diet options. She said the desserts are made from scratch, with no pre-made cakes or pre-made icing.

“I want to know what’s in our cakes,” Binder-Lopez said.

She said she is also preparing to take a decorating class and working on creating cakes and cupcakes with fondant icing.

“I’m excited about the business,” Binder-Lopez said. “I look forward to pleasing people.”

Cupcakes can be ordered by calling 347-631-5508 or going online to dollysweetshop.com.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 7:09 pm, September 14, 2011
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