Sugarplum Cake Shop

sugarplum bakery in paris

There are a lot of things I like about living in Paris. There’s shopping at the outdoor market and knowing the vendors and having them give you the good peaches, and not sticking a few icky ones in the bottom of the bag. Picking up a still-warm baguette and ripping the end off the very moment you step outside the bakery. And getting to go all the way home and re-do that file of paperwork that you carefully spent the last six months assembling isn’t acceptable because you’ve used staples to fasten the pages together rather than a paperclip.

Living abroad in a different culture certainly has its challenges (like being able to determine if paperclips or staples will be acceptable…and at which particular agency), and sometimes one wants a big ol’ generous American hug rather than just a few bisous pecked on both cheeks. For the same reason French people congregate on Claude Lane in San Francisco, sometimes you just want to walk in somewhere and not have to worry about feeling like an outsider. Or you want free WiFi that’s doesn’t shut down after twenty minutes. Or you want ice.

sugarplum carrot cake + lemonade Sugarplum baker

That’s exactly the way I felt stepping in to Sugarplum Cake Shop. There’s a spate of American-style bakeries in Paris, but as much as I like cupcakes, Carrot Cake, and Rice Krispie Treats, I don’t really crave them enough to seek them out here. And if I did, I’d simply make them myself. No need to spend €8 on a slice of cheesecake.

Sugarplum rice krispie treats

In addition to the lovely array of sweets on display (at reasonable prices), I gotta say, I love the women at Sugarplum. I arrived with my friends Heather and Bryan, and as soon as I met her, I wanted to give Laurel – who was presiding over the cakes and cookies, and coffee – a big hug. And when I left – about two hours later – I was tempted to stay and put on a chef’s coat to join Krista and Taylor in the back, who were having a blast in the kitchen decorating cakes for special occasions.

Sugarplum cake carrot juice

And doing a little multitasking, too…

multitasking

The interesting thing about Sugarplum is that you’d think it would be filled with Americans. But just like that street of French restaurants and cafés in San Francisco, it’s not filled with expatriates. When I went, it was mostly French people, enjoying the solitude and the calm of a café that’s not a jumble of rickety chairs at small tables, people jabbering on their cell phones, and teenage girls chain-smoking.

Like the laid-back coffee shops in the states, there’s big, wide tables to share with others, or to spread out with your laptop or newspaper (French or English), and enjoy a wedge of cake or a pecan bar along with a tall glass of housemade unsweetened iced tea, not the peach-flavored canned stuff.

sugarplum cupcakes

I had completely forgotten what it was like to be served a big, chilly pitcher of fresh lemonade loaded up with ice cubes, which I guzzled before I had moved on to carrot juice. And since we’re in the beverage department, the organic coffee is good, too – and refills are included. (And no, that’s not a typo.)

So if you’re craving a bottomless cup, or just one made with care and good-quality coffee, you might want to climb to the top of the rue Mouffetard and take a one-block detour.

Sugarplum cookies sugarplum

I’ll have to admit, I was a little reluctant to go in here the first time. But looking around at the Parisians who’d settled into their seats, who were enjoying the desserts and conversations at the tables around us, I’ll say it was just the right blend of Franco-Americanism.

Paris American Bakery



Sugarplum Cake Shop
68, rue du Cardinal Lemoine (5th)
Tél: 01 46 34 07 43

Open Tuesday through Sunday, Noon-7pm



Related Posts and Recipes

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Merce and the Muse

Where to Find a Good Cup of Coffee in Paris

51 comments

  • oh those desserts look heavenly! I guess it would be weird for an American to visit Paris so she could eat at and American bakery, right?

  • My sister and I were just there a few days ago. I about wet myself with excitement when the pitcher of lemonade arrived!

  • I understand how you feel and how we “foreigners” sometimes crave for the familiar culture we grew up in. I am counting the days to fly home soon. Can’t wait to eat food I have been craving for, like a good Leberknoedel (liver dumpling).

  • MKITR: The good thing about Sugarplum is that I don’t need to fly anywhere – I can get my fix and head outside, and be back home in Paris. It’s like the best of both worlds!

    Ben: ha! That’s almost how I felt. But I was able to hold it in, too..

  • Not sure what my dentist would say about that tooth cake. (It is a cake, isn’t it?) On the other hand, cavities are good for business!

  • Sounds lovely. That tooth cake is adorable. What a nice little find. Who was conjugating verbs?

  • Love Laurel & Sugar Plum! Love your photos of their bakery! Even though I’m an American baker in Paris too, I appreciate the warmth, charm and home-iness of their store & their carrot cake is exceptional!

  • Home-made, unsweetened ice tea and a great piece of cake is a good time no matter what language you speak and no matter where you are. The tooth cake is fabulous too! Wish I could hop on a plane to Paris right now for some Sugarplum comraderie and cake.

  • Just added this to my ‘must visit’ list for my next trip to Paris – which unfortunately is a year away! :-(

  • All I can say is wow, I can’t believe how delicious and absolutely beautiful it all looks!

  • I always knew that somewhere out there lives the Sugarplum Cake Fairy! :-)

  • These girls are great and I wish them all the success in the world after successfully jumping through all the insane hoops the French gov. throws your way when you start a new business. They’ve got a good thing going! When does your shop open, David? :)

  • I squandered my time in Paris. I was only 15 and 18. Too young to understand that I really did NOT know everything there was to know in life. Now when I wish I could go back and really bask in the culture of it all, I just can’t afford it (time and money). I’ll keep dreaming of the day when I can take my husband and 4 kids and together we’ll get to experience it all. Basically I’m going to make my kids appreciate what I missed. That’s why I became a parent. ;)

  • Wow! You and the Sugarplum girls are really living the dream over there, and I am a little envious :) I wish you all continued success!

  • Great post! Thank you for the Claude Lane mention!

  • But, the all-important question…

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who NEEDS to know…

    What kind of cake is that, the one she’s holding???

  • Looks super cute, but I totally get why it attracts the French and not the Americans. When I’m in Paris I only want to go to places that are uber-French. I can have a great cupcake at home anytime, but great macarons and croissants are harder to come by!

  • Good point, Kristin. I suppose that, as a French girl living in the United States, I should not feel tempted to visit Sugarplum during my upcoming trip home. Yet, I feel strangely attracted to that cute bakery shop. We will blame David’s appetizing pictures! ;-) Veronique – aka French Girl in Seattle

  • Craving the familiar culture I grew up in – I know how that is! Sometimes that’s how I feel as a New Jerseyian living in SF – I miss people who tell it like it is, East Coast summers and red sauce!

    I’ll make note of this place in case I crave ice while I’m in Paris!

  • Veronique, I agree, the pictures are attractive, and if this place was in my city, I would definitely go check it out!

  • @good_enough_cook I believe the cake she is holding is a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Must be one somewhere in your area, no?

    See the picture with a slice and the large glass of lemonade. It has a caption when you position your cursor over it. I used to make a two-layer version many years ago.

  • Looks positively delightful.

    Makes sense that you get a little homesick for Americana, as absolutely wonderful as Paris is, we’ve got some awesomeness back here too…
    LL

  • I think it all looks amazing! love the pictures! gloria

  • I have the exact same experience with staples. Except it’s in the USA.

  • mache: One of my French friends goes ballistic with American-sized paper, because it’s wider than the A4. I have to say, the paperclips in France are much prettier than the ones we have in the US, so I naturally reach for those.

    Jessica: It’s funny how over-iced the drinks are in the states (and lord knows, if you work in a restaurant and the ice machine goes down, it’s a major catastrophe..) but when it’s hot, an icy drink really does cool you down. And who wants tepid lemonade or iced tea?

    Veronique & Kristin: There are a few cupcake bakeries in Paris, but Sugarplum is more of a café as well, which I think makes it appealing to locals. I was talking to the cake decorators and asking if French clients order specialty cakes – and was surprised that they do. The tooth cake (shown) was for a dentist!

  • I completely understand the feeling, but luckily I just returned from the States and got my fix of everything American. On a side note, while in the States I went to “Sur la Table” and saw one of your books. I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for a while now, so it was good to finally see you in print!

  • I was so excited when I saw the photo at the top of this post becuase I thought you were going to tell us that you had discovered a good cake shop in Paris (in retrospect, why would I think such a thing).
    Do you know of any good cake shops in Paris for those of us who have grown up around good cake?
    Thanks!

  • This post is so sweet….that tooth cake is darling. Sounds like Sugarplum hit the spot. Count me in for those bottomless organic coffee refills.

  • I agree with you, David. The last thing I wanted to do (or spend my precious pastry calories on) in Paris was go to an American bakery/cafe. But when I went to Sugarplum (chosen by my German/French friend!), I was thrilled. Not so much for the cake and CINNAMON BUNS (!) but because the chicks there rock.

  • Great! Another place in my ‘hood to check out. I have peeked in the windows, but not wandered in yet. My husband will be surprised to be able to get real lemonade if it’s hot when we’re there next month. Thanks so much for these posts with great neighborhood finds–love them!

  • A splendid cake shop it is with every goodie carrying a true American size.
    So what happens then when a French pâtissier goes to the US with his goodies?
    A few years ago I took a look at the selection of the French pâtissier by the chocolate fountain at the Las Vegas Bellagio hotel noticing his ENORMOUS
    croissants.
    -Mais pourquoi monsieur?” said I .
    – Otherwise Americans will not have them, madame,” said he.

  • When I hear “American cafe” I automatically think USA…don’t forget that Taylor is from the westcoast of Canada. (North Van) I would like to think she had some influence on the success of this laid back cafe with its delicious treats. Canadian girls kick a$$ !

  • And, visa versa, l really love Cafe Claude…won’t be going back to Paris so this is as close as I’m going to get to a pretty decent croque or just a baguette with ham & butter, cornichons avec un kir royale. etc.in an appropriate environment. The French guys behind the bar are a lot more johnny on the spot too…it’s not Flore.

  • I agree, sometimes you just want a piece of home. How lovely for you to have found an ice-bucket in Paris. Ice is the caviar of Paris? Hard to come by and scarcity is it’s middle name.
    When I lived in Paris, this is the place that I would have dreamt of but as a visitor I probably would stick to the French bakeries. One of my favourites is found at 103 Rue St. Dominque in the 7th called Jean Millet. It’s like a coffee shop you might have been to if you grew up in the mid-west in the 60’s but this one is filled with delightful, house-baked French delicacies. There’s even tables and friendly mamans to serve you.

  • OMG is that a wedding cake in the background???? I hunted everywhere (in Nice and Antibes) for a wedding cake — to celebrate Kate and Will’s wedding (I am bi–brit/Amer.) nowhere to be found….. Would love such a place down here — perhaps Cannes?
    But about Paris…. it is not France. The French here are so different — slower, nicer. Ice? (for your Rose..) bien sur, a mini ice bucket full. And la boulangerie? Here they are open 7 days a week in season — and 6 otherwise, my local is closed on Tuesday only. And I love the thriftiness of the French — don’t want a whole loaf of bread? They happily cut you as small as a quarter…. or too much celery in a bunch — you can buy just one or two stalks!! and thank you for your fabulous USA posts…. sent my nephew in Chicago all your suggestions and he loved them…

  • Leslie: Yes, there is quite a different between the regions. I’ve had people in Paris think I was an uncultured rube because I put ice in my rosé. But in Marseille, they fill the carafe with ice, then fill ‘er up with rosé. I don’t know why it’s considered so declassé in Paris. I do like that you can buy a 1/2 a baguette or two figs at the market and no one bats an eye. Well, as long as you have exact change ; )

    Diane: I like that bakery, too. The pastries are beautiful –

    suedoise: I, too, am stunned when I see the giant croissants in America. Those things are huge! I don’t know how anyone can eat a whole one.

  • Wow the Sugarplum cupcakes look so tempting…the toothcake is pretty cute too.

    I know what you mean about missing things from home, I just got back from Spain…while I was there I just wanted a big ol’ generous serving of coffee….not a tiny little cup, but a big mug of coffee, it’s the first thing I had when I got back.

  • wow…..how I do miss Paris, and the Rue Mouffetard stole my heart away on my very first trip! While I love French Cuisine, I’m sure its nice to have a slice of home (and ice cubes) from time to time.
    It looks like such a fun spot to stop in for a sweet treat and just a cup of coffee…..

    have a great weekend, someday I will make it back to the city of lights and check out sugarplum!

    cheers
    Dennis

  • As a Canadian living in France – middle-of-nowhere France, that is! – this is exactly the type of place that I crave to go to (even though I’m a big fan of my own baked treats). Now that I’m travelling a bit more for work, I’ll be sure to check it out my next time through Paris!

  • As an American living in Australia I do understand what it’s like to be a foreigner. I love where I live and the friends I have here but there’s something about talking with another person with the same accent that makes the day special.

    I love that bakery!

  • I don’t know why but I just get this picture in my head of the first time any of these French people went into this cafe and looked askance at the odd little cubes in their drinks and then scratched their heads in bewilderment when they got a refill…on le maison. It tickles me to think that somewhere along the way there was an expat who got a little of their own back by proclaiming with an indifferent shrug “C’est normal.”

  • Sounds like the kind of place that I would love to spend an afternoon! (and being in Paris doesn’t hurt either!)

  • Okay, so I only have one week in Paris this year. Please stop adding to my list of places to eat!

  • I walk past this place every day — it’s between my métro stop and my school — and while I’ve often been drawn to it, I’ve never really had the time to devote to a visit that I wish I had. Though seeing the staff do yoga there had already convinced me to visit, now I’m definitely going to park myself in front of some cake soon!

  • I was lucky enough to visit SugarPlum last March and it was lovely. They are very welcoming – it was the perfect spot to relax at the end of our trip.

  • mm, looks lovely. nice to know american bakeries have SOMETHING to offer, even in paris!

  • Cinnamom buns? Did someone say cinnamon buns?

  • Great, now I’m craving rice krispie treats. =)

  • I’d REALLY like to know what that cake is that she’s holding in the top pic. Everything there looks so tempting, I’m surprised you managed to leave at all.

    See the comment up above… -dl

  • oh no!
    i was just in Paris and went to many of the places you recommended, but this one wasn’t up yet…and I was staying so close by on Saint Marcel!

    Next time

    …and Le Bonbon au Palais, Larnicol, and Candelaria were all amazing, merci!
    have you tried Aoki delicious confections?

  • merci pour l’adresse, j’essaierai d’y aller lors d’un prochain passage à Paris !
    ça a l’air d’être un lieu très sympathique.