Paris Wedding : Sugarplum Circus Wedding Cake

So, of COURSE I would be getting our wedding cake from the Sugarplum Cake Shop!!! I mean, they have been my FAVORITE cake shop in Paris since they opened!!!! And Laurel, Krista and Taylor are some of the world’s greatest ladies and fantastic team where each member compliments the others to create a totally dynamic, balanced and talented trio.
I love these ladies!
There was no question about it, Sugarplum Cake Shop was where I’d get my wedding cake.

The first meeting with Laurel was to start the order, and determine the basic shape of this cake.
We played around with the styrofoam cut outs to brainstorm, and I brought some fabric swatches of the colors to be used in our wedding decoration. We talked about the style of decoration we were looking for, maybe some bunting, maybe some stripes…and what the Sugarplums had for ideas as well for our circus themed wedding cake.

Laurel suggesting an idea for the top of the cake.

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Paris Wedding Wednesday : Bon-Bon Bar

One of the fun things I am creating for our wedding reception is a bon-bon bar, where the cake (from Sugarplum Cake shop) and other assorted treats and douceurs will be set out for guests to take as they please. The venue where we are having our reception will be taking care of all the food and catering, but I wanted to add something that fits a little more with my personality (don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the foie gras and fresh salmon!) But the decision making that went into the menu was menu was mostly a group effort so I thought it would be amusing to make a statement with a bon-bon bar where the American wedding cake sits temptingly! Truthfully, I left most of the menu decisions up to my future in-laws as they have very good taste in food. And quite frankly, I can’t really work the menu to our Circus wedding theme unless I expect 75 French people to feast on popcorn balls and cotton candy! I wouldn’t inflict that even on myself. Oooh the tummy ache.

BUT, the bon-bon bar, now I can go circus nuts on that!

Some of my ideas for the table are : Red licorice strips, cracker jacks caramel popcorn, hershey’s kisses, marshmallows, blue jelly beans, cookies and more, and OF COURSE some dragées for my mother-in-law, but they have to be turquoise colored! 🙂

I am thinking of putting the different sweets in selected jars and pasting a charming label on it, something like this : (Feel free to save this image and use it for your own bon-bon table or party…and send me pics if you do, I will add them to this post!) :

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Kasia Dietz Secrets (of bag-making)


Last month, Kasia Dietz held a fun workshop for a few fans, lucky individuals and creative creatures at the Sugarplum Cake shop in the 5th district of Paris. I showed up to document the event and join in the amusement. Continue reading

Sweeten up! It’s Spring!

Sweet! It’s Spring! And this is Paris, were the eyes are quenched with stunning scenery and the tastebuds are tempted with treats.

One of my favorite places to find the later of the two is the Sugarplum Cake Shop (68 rue Cardinal Lemoine). And yes I know, I know, we should be thinking about those bathing suits we have to don in a few months, but sometimes I like to replace a meal with a few fun and caloric mouthfuls from the Sugarplum fairies, Laurel, Krista and Taylor. And by the way, they now have terrace space! So you can enjoy your tea and scone in the sunshine too!

Here’s just a tease for you!







And then there is of course, the first ever cake that I ordered from the shop! And man was it INCREDIBLE!!!
For my boyfriend’s mother’s birthday, who also recently retired (from a long career as a dental surgeon) and I wanted to celebrate that as well. SO! I asked the girls if they could make a cake in the shape of a giant tooth, with a couple of mice cleaning it… they went above and boyond my hopes for this special cake. And the expression on the face of chéri’s mom was the confirmation that it was pure success! Merci les Sugarplums!!!!

Friday en Français : Les Retrouvailles

Le concept : traduire un ancien billet et français, déjà pour pratiquer mon français à l’écrit mais aussi pour faire un geste envers mes lecteurs et lectrices francophones! N’hésitez pas à me corriger mon français.

The concept : translate an old post into French, first in order to practice my written French, but also to be a bit more welcoming to my francophone readers! Don’t hesitate to correct my French.

(Original Post in English)

Ce billet a été posté le 27 Août 2010 :

Quand on quitte Paris, on respire un peu mieux. Plus profondément. On sent ses poumons devenir un peu plus propre, plus rose.  Le tête se vide. Les yeux, ayant soif d’une vue loin, loin sur l’horizon, sont apaisés sur des visions de la mer, des montagnes, des grands champs… Mais quand on est parti pour un bout de temps, on a l’habitude de regretter Paris un peu, et ceci, juste avant qu’on refasse ses valises pour rentrer. Et on réalise qu’on est ravie de pouvoir retourner à Paris.

Je me souviens de mon premier voyage hors de Paris une fois que j’y ai été installée. C’était pendant les vacances d’hiver. Et dans le train du retour, j’ai réalisé que j’étais en train de rentrer CHEZ MOI à PARIS. Quooooi!?! C’est une petite révélation. Et à chaque fois, je suis ravie de rentrer à cette ville que j’aime qui est devenue mon chez moi permanent.

Ne vous trompez pas, je me plains avec tout le monde du trajet en métro, des crottes de chien sur les trottoirs, les travaux inconvénients qui semblent être partout, les chauffeurs qui klaxonnent à 7h30 le matin juste avant mon reveille, ou les gens préssés et impolie dans la foule… mais je suis toujours heureuse de revenir.

Lors de notre retour des vacances d’été, j’ai pris un jour pour me balader dans les rue main dans la main avec mon chéri, pour me renouer avec notre ville. (On n’était pas partis si longtemps que cela, mais bon…). On voulait prendre le plaisir de flâner à Paris sans souci pour au moins un jour avant de reprendre le boulot, l’agenda trop rempli et la répétition du quotidien.

Nous avons pris de vélos vélib et sommes allés vers Bastille, puis le long du quai devant la Gare d’Austerlitz, puis derrière le  Jardin des plantes. Nous nous sommes arrêtés au Sugarplum Cake Shop dans la rue du Cardinal Lemoine pour un petit verre de jus frais et pour s’étonner sur leurs gâteaux incroyables; et puis nous sommes allés à pied vers le quartier d’Odéon passant par la Sorbonne, puis dans la rue de Buci, nous avons mangé un petit encas et puis avons pris les vélibs pour rentrer dans le 12ème (dans un effort déjà de perdre un peu du poids pris je ne sais comment sur une chaise longue à plate sur la plage pendant les vacances…) 😛

Paris était toujours là, parfaite et brillante sous le soleil doré de l’après-midi.

Paris sera toujours là. Et moi je serais toujours heureuse d’y rentrer.

Tea for me!

I love tea… I wasn’t always a tea drinker though. It was the tea Esprit de Noël from Mariage Frères that converted me…but then the vocation of tea-drinker was more or less inevitable since the tea-party scene from the Alice in Wonderland cartoon was(and still is)  the most quoted scene throughout my adolescence. But over a year ago, chéri and I were at his parents overnight for Noël, and at breakfast they served a huge pot of Mariage Frères, tea Esprit de Noël… I was sold and hooked. Since then tea replaced my religious ritual in the morning, and I have found delight in several different kinds. Plus, with tea, you avoid having coffee breath!

When I fist came to Paris, I had noticed that ordering tea in a café brought a bill that seemed a little steep to an American. Tea at American restaurants costs about the same price as coffee does here. I often compare the price of a pot of tea in a café to the actual cost of the entire box of 25 sachets in the grocery store. Well, I suppose when you add up the hot water and the service…then it seems justified, but it took me a few years to get used to it!

Now that I am an avid tea-drinker, an entire world of flavors opened up for exploration.

My regular morning tea is Indar, found at the Grande Epicerie de Paris, Paris 6th. It has a great taste that is smooth and strong without being too strong, and a a small pot of that wakes me up right! I used to drink Twinnings mornings tea, but I find the Indar is much smoother.

But I have also discovered a lovely red tea from the brand Gaïa, called:  Un printemps chez les San, served  at Sugarplum Cake Shop in the 5th on rue Cardinal Lemoine. This tea is great in the afternoon, with scones or chocolate cupcakes from the Sugarplum fairies that make sugary delights there.

Another tea that I LOOOOVE is a mint tea, like they serve in Arab cultures: steaming hot in a pretty little glass and heavily sweetened, often with a few freshly roasted pine nuts floating on top. Mmmm. Just fresh mint leaves steeped in water with sugar, and if you want some roasted pine nuts on top. Try the tea at the Grande Mosque de Paris, or at La Bague de Kenza. It goes perfectly with their cookies many made with almond marzipan, pistachios and filo dough. A great tea for winter or summer.

I recently discovered  Pu-Erh tea, a Chinese tea from the town of Pu’er which is situated on the ancient tea route of China, is a tea that you can (and should) re-use several times, before discarding the tea leaves. They say it burns fat cells, and has a cleansing effect on the body.  The fist post you make, has a strange smell to it, but the flavor is not strong. The smell and flavor become more and more delicate with each use. It is aged, like wine sort-of, and the older it is the more expensive its price. I like it’s economical aspects and the fat burning elements. It is a tea that I drink throughout the day at the office.

One tea that I literally went crazy for is ‘Shiraz’ from Hédiard. It is a black tea with mirabel, plum and caramel flavors and marugold flowers…. You MUST try this tea. It’s sensual and fun, and fruity but not sweet (unless you add sugar). Just the smell of this tea makes me happy! Sadly I cannot find it on their website… I wonder if the discontinued it. Gasp! Oh no! I only have half a canister left!!!!

Mariage Frère also offers a red (rooiboos) tea version of the Christmas blend called : Noël Blanc, that I love to have before bed on a cold winter night. It has a flavor that reminds me of Christmas and the holiday cheer, and makes a cold winter night suddenly cozy. Great when you are reading before bed… Be careful, if you let the tea leaves steep too long, you will a get way-too-strong cinnamon flavor. I’m having a pot of this as I write…

I have my habits, but am always open to change (as demonstrated by the change from coffee to tea), and am open to tea suggestions from my readers! Leave your favorite tea in the comments!


Sugarplum Holidays!

My pals at the Sugarplum Cake Shop are already ridiculously talented and amazing, but you should see them when the holidays come around, they transform into Sugarplum fairy-godmothers-tinkerbells-and Titanias before your very eyes!

(see the Christmas menu video at the bottom of the page)

The Sugarplum Cake Shop : 68 rue Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris France. Cake shop, tea room and land of the sweets!

Zee tree getting zee decorations

The fabulous choclate cupcakes that I can eat becauze they don't have any lactose (minus the frosting)!


The gâteau Yule log! (order one for your holiday party!)

Here’s just the tip of the iceberg of what these ladies fairies are capable of :


The snowboarding snowmen, they are made out of sugar.



Ok ladies, the attention to detail is increddiiible! A polka-dot scarf!



I came to help decorate the tree.



The tree is getting more decorations!



The sugarplum fairy Laurel



Bring their recipes home and make them yourself!


Cutest gingerbread house I ever saw!



This is called : ATTENTION TO DETAIL!!!



Oriental Xmas!



Not a creature was stirring, except for the mouse...


P1020715 all, and to all a good night!


Sugarplum takes the cake at the Salon du Mariage

The Salon du Mariage gave me this uneasy feeling that I was walking into the realm of that horrible reality TV show Bridzillas. It is a venue that perhaps useful to some, I found to be an atrocious institution of grotesque commercialization of what should be one of the most special days of your life : your wedding. It seems to merely be a manifestation that the wedding day focus no longer lies upon the union of matrimony or the love between two people, the attention is on every single minute detail that can be primmed, purchased, packed and posted to you, from the toenails of the bride to the napkins on the table to the way you dance with your new spouse. As Kasia Dietz put it, « I found a lot of things that I don’t want at my wedding, there. » And I saw a spectacle that made me swear to never ever make myself or my sweetheart go through that kind of wedding planning torture.



Krista of Sugarplum Cake Shop making cakes with love


The Salon was full of “bling-bling” and “tappe-à-l’oeil,” ruffles and pink and sparkley things, for each of the stands and products and services.With each one trying to sell you the “best” thing for your wedding that’s better than the rest. You could have blackjack table at your reception…Ooo how cool, or you could have more flower arrangements than you ever thought you needed, you could even get married, sleep in and hold the party at a real château that may cost a year’s salary, or you get personally printed M&M’s (okay well I like this idea)… In fact all of these ideas and products and services ARE wonderful individually and would make a splendid ceremony and celebration. What I felt I was choking on was overload, the checklist of things that one apparently needs in order to have a good wedding, it’s the sheer abundance of it all, and the way vendors would pounce on attendees like vultures, in order to sell them something, ANYTHING! And every vendor’s booth promised the wedding of your dreams. Yuck! It was like choking a piece of candy that I thought I was going to get a lot of pleasure out of but it ended up being waaaay too sweet. And all this without even mentioning the gowns. There were maybe two in the entire salon that I would ever consider wearing, the rest would make any woman look like a pile of Chantilly cream. What is wrong with society these days? There is so much attention on the table settings and bride’s maids dresses and party favors that it seems like people are forgetting what this is all about! It’s about spending a life together. Who is going to really care in ten years if the napkins had your initials embroidered on them, or if you had roses or petunias at your wedding?!? Who!?!?!

But, there was an oasis of authenticity. At their first ever Salon de Mariage, the Sugarpum Cake Shop was THE cake reference of Paris. They hosted a small subdued stand, with simple black walls and a table laden with cake confections and photos of their previous creations. No frou-frous, no ostentatious overdone over-the-top extravagant display… just cake. Just a lady, a schedule and her cake. And she filled up her schedule with brides-to-be for tastings and design sessions, where the bride gets to decide what her cake will be like, because in spite of what everyone is trying to sell women, what they really want is simply a cake, a white dress and a husband who loves her.

Sugarplum does not only make wedding cakes, they make cakes for all occasions in any shape or design. If you have an idea they can make it edible (and delicious). I personally am addicted to their chocolate cake.



Laurel of Sugarplum Cake Shop


The only other stand that I was impressed by was the event planner Jean-Luc Blais stand. It was literally a decorative pièce montée all on its ow. And he of course, commissioned the Sugarplum fairies to make him a cake. So we like him!

If you go this weekend (it ends the 17th of Oct 2010), make sure you stop over to say bonjour to the ladies with the cake… and watch my video posted here to see the progress of  their work on the cakes.

Salon du Mariage – Paris

Do you “I do!”?

The Salon du Mariage au Carrousel will be held this week from the 15th to the 17th of October. I have one free invite that I am giving away to a reader/tweep. Wether you need to plan or are a dreamer, there promises to be everything bridal in store. To enter send me your story of how you proposed or were proposed to. Leave it in a comment below or send it to me via twitter.

Salon du Mariage :

Carrousel du Louvre,
99, rue de Rivoli
le 15, 16, 17 octobre 2010

I can’t wait to hear all your stories!

Also, may I suggest stopping by the Sugarplum Cake Shop booth – see my blog post on them. These 3 North Americans are rising stars in the Parisian pastry circles (they make scrumptious American goodies and increddible cakes), and are fast becoming THE reference for wedding cakes in Paris. Hence why in addition to their own stand they are also making cakes for Jean-Luc Blais wedding and event planner spécial!

Les retrouvailles – The reunion

When you leave Paris, you exhale a little more. You breathe deeper. You feel your lungs grow a little pinker. You clear your head. Your eyes are quenched on long distant views of ocean, mountains, prairies… But when you are gone for a little while, you tend to miss Paris, just about the time when you have to start repacking your bags. And you realize that you are excited to be returning home there.

I remember my first trip away from the city my first year in Paris 8 years ago. It was during the winter break. And on the train home, it dawned on me that I was returning HOME to the city of PARIS. Whaaaat!?! That was a mini revelation. And it never fails to excite me to return home to this city that I love and have adopted as my own.

As much as I gripe with the rest of them about the métro commute, or the crottes de chiens on the sidewalk, the inconvenient travaux that are everywhere, the chauffeurs that lean on their horn at 7:30am just before my alarm, or the pushy people in the crowds… I am always thrilled to return.

Upon returning from summer vacation, I took a day to wander the streets hand in hand with my chéri, to reacquaint ourselves with our city. (It wasn’t like we were gone very long but hey…). We wanted to enjoy Paris in a strolling-nonchalant-carefree way for one day before the onslaught of work and tight schedules took over the daily grind.

We took some vélib bikes and rode past Bastille, along the quai pas the Gare d’Austerlitz, behind the Jardin des plantes; stopped at the Sugarplum Cake Shop on the rue du Cardinal Lemoine for a refreshment and to oggle at their incredible cakes; headed by foot towards Odéon passing the Sorbonne on the way, strolled the rue de Buci, had a snack and then took the vélibs back home to the 12th (trying already to work off some of that vacation padding that somehow attached itself to my body…).

Paris was still there, in tact and brilliant under the afternoon sun.

Paris will always be here. And I will always be glad to return.