Fireman Derek’s Bake Shop is an award winning, South Florida-based bakery specializing in handcrafted, one-of-a-kind desserts. With two locations in Wynwood and Coconut Grove, the independent bake shop helmed by former Miami firefighter, Derek Kaplan, continues to combine rich, decadent flavors in over 50 unique pies, cakes, cheesecakes, brownies, bars, bread puddings and cookies.
Signature pie flavors include Kaplan’s classic Key Lime made with condensed milk, egg yolks and freshly squeezed juice from nearly two pounds of local key limes; the Salty Monkey combining chocolate ganache, white chocolate peanut butter mousse, bananas and pretzels; and the Cookie Monster with chocolate chip crust, layer of crushed Oreo cookies, topped with plain cheesecake and finished off with pralines, whipped cream, chopped chocolate chip cookies, caramel and Ghirardelli chocolate sauce.
In addition to serving his signature lineup of sweets, the expansive menu also includes savory items, including a Buffalo Chicken Mac-and-Cheese Potpie, along with a variety of Empanadas. All Fireman Derek’s pies and cakes are crafted daily at Kaplan’s Little Haiti commissary – brownies, cookies, and other smaller items are baked daily onsite.
At 15 years old, Derek Kaplan was squeezing limes by hand in his father’s apartment, perfecting the earliest rendition of his wildly popular Key Lime Pie to make a little money on the side. Several years later, he sold his miniature – sized pies outside Coconut Grove’s now – defunct pizzeria, Slice-N-Ice, using the same recipe. Fast – forward to today Kaplan has turned his childhood passion for pie into two thriving storefronts in Miami’s Wynwood and Coconut Grove neighborhoods.
The 6-foot-2, former City of Miami firefighter is inked to the nines and a force to be reckoned with, in appearance and in the kitchen. He isn’t the person one would assume bakes pies for a living, yet that’s what Kaplan, a Division 1 college football player-turned-firefighter does; and arguably better than any independent, self-taught baker in the Magic City. With culinary nods from Food & Wine Magazine, Eater and The Miami Herald, Fireman Derek’s’ notoriously decadent desserts remain the gold standard for Miami treat seekers.
Kaplan, a Florida native with New York roots, grew up knowing there was nothing in this world that couldn’t be accomplished through hard work and determination – including maintaining an active, health-consciouslifestyle as a diabetic. Once diagnosed at 13, Kaplan lost 70 pounds over the course of six months to combat the harsh realities of his condition. However, diabetes never stopped Kaplan in his athletic pursuits. In his time at Palmetto High School, he played three Varsity sports and went on to play two years of NCAA football at grambling State University in Louisiana.
During his firefighting days at Station 1 in Downtown Miami, Kaplan worked backbreaking, 24-hour shifts with only two days off in between. Soon after joining the department, he started baking to supplement his income; he utilized his down time to bake 25 to 30 pies a week, first out of his father’s apartment and later in a number of Miami-based commissary kitchens. In 2013, Kaplan decided to take the plunge and started looking for places to build his first pie shop – he found 600 square feet of vacant space jammed in between the Electric Pickle, a popular dance club and a barbershop in Wynwood. The grand opening of Fireman Derek’s Bake Shop in Wynwood happened in July 2014 with much fanfare and overall success.
By 2016, after years of juggling two laborious careers, Kaplan retired from the fire department to pursue his baking career full time. In March 2019, Kaplan opened the Coconut Grove outpost of his original bake shop located right on Main Highway. The new 36-seat bake shop – twice the size of the Wynwood flagship store – puts Kaplan’s confections on