A new cupcake boutique named *ndulge opened last week at 4373 Main street in Manayunk. Founder and owner Donn Selkowitz spent 25 years working in advertising before pursuing his dream of opening a bakery at Penn State, his alma mater. Selkowitz closed the operation after nearly two years to be closer to his family and because of low customer traffic. He decided to move *ndulge to the Philadelphia area after his executive pastry chef, Rebecca Altmann, agreed to relocate as well. The kosher dairy bakery opened in Bryn Mawr before kicking off its second location in Manayunk last Thursday.
Altmann studied linguistics and American Sign Language before enrolling in culinary school. She came to *ndulge after spending several years working in upstate New York country clubs. Donn Selkowitz praises Altmann’s “creativity in coming up with novel cupcake themes.”
The bakery sells its gourmet, filled cupcakes for $3.50. Featured among its daily “Signature Cupcakes” is the “Florida Key Lime” – a vanilla lime cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting, lime curd filling and a lime zest garnish — and “The Chocoholic,” with chocolate cream cheese frosting and chocolate cake crumbs atop a chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache. In addition to cupcakes, *ndulge also sells other baked goods, blintzes and gelato that it churns on site at its Bryn Mawr location.
One of Altmann’s more memorable clients was an 8-year-old boy who was allergic to gluten, dairy and eggs. “His mom said to me, ‘My kid has never had a birthday cake”, said Altmann.
She was happy to create the birthday cake and does not shy away from custom orders. With 48 hours notice Altman can bake almost any requested recipe – and she’ll even do it in the customer’s cookware. “Want to freak out your friends?” she laughed. “Drop off your pan and I’ll bake it in your own serving dish and not tell a soul.”
Owner Selkowitz says that it was one of his daughters who suggested Manayunk for his second *ndulge location. When asked if he was concerned about opening his bakery less than a block away from Sweet Elizabeth’s Cakes, he answered “No.” He paused before continuing, “I’ve always said we’re in competition with anybody that makes anything that people put in their mouth.”