Tag Archives: Cake

Sugarplum Cake Shop

11 Nov

Fact: slow yodeling makes me faint. Actually, being crammed in an underground bar listening to melancholic cowboys sing so slowly they might STOP makes me faint. As in, keel over and black out.

I suspect it’s because I have an attention span that’s about as long as a slice of triple-layer strawberry vanilla cream cake – but not quite as high.

Ok enough with the segues. Let’s talk about Sugarplum Cake Shop.

It’s on Rue de Cardinal Lemoine – conveniently close to the Place de la Contrescapes should you fancy a pression in Orwell’s hood after tea time. And it’s manned by ‘Sugarplums’ who create heart-stopping deliciousness and friendly natter in equal measure.

If the Alice in Wonderland-esque wedding cake displays won’t lure you in, maybe the thought of free wifi, free filter coffee refills and these lathers of frosting will?

Sure the Peanut Butter Yummy Things are tasty, but it’s Sugarplum’s good old fashioned cheer that makes it so appealing.  You know… The fifty centimes discount because the cake was sliced a bit wonkily. The stacks of dog-eared recipe books lying on the communal table. The noisy greetings to the exchange students as they wander through the door in a fug of subjunctive conjugations.

A counter piled high with giant muffins, creamy cupcakes, hearty pumpkin pie slices and a custom-made cheesecake means this is not a place for the faint-hearted.

But the good news? There’s not a slowdeler in sight.

Sugarplum Coffee Shop
68 rue du Cardinal Lemoine

75005 Paris

Top image from Break Into Paris
Bottom image from Hello It’s Valentine


L’Arbre à Cannelle

2 Nov

In a city where the most prestigious and talked-about award of the year is for the best baguette, where people forge whole careers sculpting with sugar, and where companies ENFORCE two hour lunch breaks, it seems petty to take issue with anything even remotely food-related.

But despite my penchant for Pastis en terrasse, my fondness for bistros, and my affinity for a three course meal, lately I’ve been hankering for something a bit more low-key: the humble cafe.

Entrez:  L’Arbre à Cannelle.

Just around the corner from the toddler-strewn Jardin des Plantes, L’Arbre à Cannelle is a haven of blonde wood, heavy tea pots and, ah oui, cake.

L’Arbre CALLS itself a salon de thé, but a curious absence of patisseries and a chalkboard full of smoothie suggestions gives it the aroma of a full-blown, meet-your-mum-for-a-quick-coffee-and-a-chat kinda place.

By all reports the food here is hot-to-trot, but the café gourmand offering is worth the trip alone. France’s answer to high tea, a café gourmand is, typically, a cheerful congregation of sweet treats and an espresso, all on the one lavish plate.

At L’Arbre though, the café gourmand pairs a not-too-smooshy berry crumble with a warm slab of chocolate “brownie”, drizzles them both with thick crème anglaise and tops it all off with a piping hot allongée.

It’s not French and it’s not fancy, but for an autumnal sunset snack, c’est parfait.

L’Arbre à Cannelle
14, rue Linné – 75005 PARIS

First image courtesy of L’Arbre à Cannelle

Center for Book Arts

2 Jun

How about this slice of Robert The‘s delicious book art at the Center for Book Arts?

The Center is a hybrid of workshop, museum and office on totally un-famous and un-booky West 37th street.  It’s wedged between a dodgy-looking travel agent and a one-dollar store – the windows of which are filled with chipped mannequins strewn with tatty feather boas.

It’s kinda like getting into St Mungo’s – except maybe less awesome.

Once you’re in there, check out their current exhibition which combines the two most excellent things: food and books.  According to them: “With Food in Mind looks at artists’ use of food as subject matter or medium in book arts, print, and digital media.”  (This means recipes, a video of a guy butchering a pig, and ultimately, cakebooks.)

Want more?  Hit their blog.  (It’s cute.)  Want book guns? K!

Tea Spot

30 May

Sure it looks blurry, but this is just about the second coolest place I’ve been to in New York.  (More on the first tomorrow.)  Beleaguered by unemployment woes and cabin fever, we braved the rain and the lunch-time buskers on the L line for a soothing pot of everything-will-be-ok at Tea Spot.  And it was so much more than ok.

This is not a fancy tea house.  The floors are polished but worn.  A jazz station crackles gently on the stereo.  Rows of shiny tins of loose leaf tea stand to attention, their faded labels peeling off.  The air is pungent.  And the NUTELLA CHEESECAKE…To avoid superlatives, I have never had a more pure slice of cheesecake heaven.*

While there didn’t seem to be an old person in sight (this is Greenwich, after all), Tea Spot is so cosy that one feels there SHOULD be.   There are 80 high-end teas to choose from and the staff are crazy knowledgable.  My strict instructions to steep my Rooibos chai for six minutes resulted in one of the richest, most deliciously aromatic experiences of my life.

If you fancy your body as some kind of place of worship, get involved with the HealthTEA selection.  There’s a hot, caffeineted drink for every affliction it seems.

If that’s not enough: the wifi is free, and you can swig on something harder downstairs at Wine Spot.  But that deserves a separate post.  (And a second slice of cheesecake.)

Tea Spot

127 MacDougal Street, New York, NY 10012. P: 212 505-0969

* Think: layer of not-too-crumbly and pleasingly moist biscuit base.  Add a whole mouthful of just-firm nutella.  Then top it off with perfectly light baked cheesecake and a smoosh of cream.  If you’re not weeping with joy, we won’t be friends.