The Sugarplum Cake Shop Paris opened in the spring of 2010 and as it approaches its third birthday it has become cake paradise for its many fans.
Run by two of the owners – Canadian Taylor McLoughlin and American Krista Juracek, the fabulously named Sugarplum Cake Shop is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best non-French cake shop in Paris. The cakes very much marry the style of Paris with the quirkiness and finesse of North American styled cakes. They are best known for their amazingly artistic, sculpted birthday cakes and gorgeous stacked wedding cakes which are not a tradition in France but are growing ever more popular with French brides. Check out the top wedding guides for Paris and the name Sugarplum Cake Shop will come up time and time again as the wedding cakes of choice.
Taylor is the head chef and Krista is the head decorator. Taylor hails from Vancouver, Canada where she graduated from pastry school. She came to Paris in the winter of 2008 for a year of adventure and to learn more about French pastry. Krista arrived a few months later from the island of St. Thomas, but is originally from Nebraska. She was drawn to Paris’ food culture as well as wanting to “photograph this beautiful city”.
The girls met whilst working in a large bakery production just outside of Paris. Krista says “we spent a long time in front of the ovens and at the decorating tables” and they realised that they shared the same dream. They wanted to have their own cake shop in Paris – but with American style, and they wanted somewhere they could get real American coffee. They both missed a taste of the “real deal” coffee shop atmosphere and goodies from home. There was nowhere in Paris that made American coffee the “way it should be”.
Krista and Taylor hunted for shop premises and say that when they found the building at 68 Rue Cardinal Lemoine in a smart part of Paris, they both had the same reaction – Sugarplum Cake Shop was born. Both smile as Krista says “We fell in love with the space immediately. The front room used to be an art gallery and we were drawn by the beautiful stone walls and huge windows. Across the courtyard is the kitchen and the glass doors between the two buildings offer people a little peek at the cake decorating stations.” Perhaps that should be listed on tourist sites!
Their cakes, and the coffee shop, are much loved by Parisians, expats in France and visitors from overseas. The shop is always busy with orders for fantastic birthday, wedding, anniversary and other celebration cakes. Some clients leave the design to Taylor and Krista, but many clients will often get involved and help to design the cakes. Ideas are sent by email or discussed over the phone and Taylor, Krista and head of the kitchen Amandine Brasseur then take the concepts and transform them into the most beautiful cakes. Some intricate designs take hours to complete, hundreds of tiny rose petals for instance, each individually crafted, beautiful and often complicated figurines, faultless sponge and fruit cake – every detail is perfect.
When they’re asked which celebrities they’ve made cakes for, they are both a little coy and refuse to name names but say “We’ve made cakes for many special people and have even had to turn down a few high profile orders in the past few years. Here at Sugarplum Cake Shop we are a small team, and we are passionate about the quality of our cakes. Our schedule is sometimes full months in advance. So even if the president wants a cake for this weekend, there just might not be time to make it” and then Krista winks and they both laugh out loud.
In a city and country that prides itself on its bakery and patisserie skills it is hard to stand out but Sugarplum Cake Shop does – and big style. Not by copying but by being original and true to the philosophy of “good old fashioned, unpretentious American sweets” but with a tweak – a very Parisian one. Taylor and Krista say “We’ve adapted some of our recipes to suit the French palette. We’ve added violet, rose and pistachio for example. Changing the French misconception that all American pastry as overly-sweet and artificially flavoured is an uphill battle. We use all-natural ingredients, and nothing comes out of a box or carton…except the milk, of course!”
It’s absolutely clear that they love their work and Krista says that “The most fun and challenging projects are the sculpted cakes. We especially enjoy making carved cakes that look like other types of food. The double cheeseburger and French fries was really fun.”
Sugarplum Cake Shop also has a genuine all-American coffee shop and the girls like nothing better than to watch Parisians be introduced to New York style cheese cake or to Taylor’s signature carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! In Paris it is rare if not impossible to get pitchers of home-made lemonade clinking with ice, truly authentic American brownies and free refills for your organic coffee like you can here!
When asked about the future for them and for Sugarplum Cake shop they smile and say “We have a few exciting ideas in the works, but you’re just going to have to wait and see!”