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Let Them Eat Cupcakes: Paris’ Best American Sweets

Little Miss CupcakeLittle Miss Cupcake

As a New Yorker, I find it equal parts utter insanity and totally logical that as soon as I moved to Paris last year—with visions of millefeuilles, pains au chocolat, artisan chocolates and good old Nutella street crepes dancing through my head—I wound up Velib’ing through the back streets of the eleventh arrondissement seeking the city’s then cupcakes-only bakery. It took a few wrong turns down some side streets, but I found Cupcakes & Co, with sunlight happily spilling across the sole café table—an auspicious signpost pointing to the delicious display case of American delights.

cupcakes-and-co-3Cupcakes & Co

Rebecca and Maggie Bellity, the two sisters who opened Cupcakes & Co in 2008, pride themselves on using natural and organic baking ingredients for their petits gateaux. And even though the concept arose from their travels to the states, their recipes are all French. They’ve dreamed up combinations like jasmine and vanilla, lemon and coconut, coffee and hazelnut and over a dozen others that set my heart racing and ensured many weeks of repeat business.

That was well over a year ago. And as my American obsession has waned (grace à new obsessions with macarons, violet éclairs and salted caramels), the Parisians’ has exploded.

The latest proof is Laurence Kreitmann’s Miss Cupcake, tucked in a corner of Montmartre’s rue la Vieuville. As I was hiking up the stairs last month, I noticed a new pink window with a pink cake stand displaying raspberry-, sprinkle- and jelly bean-adorned cupcakes, many of them pink. Naturally, I had to go inside where I was cheerily greeted by Kreitmann and her crew (in pink aprons, to match the pink interior), frosting new batches of chocolate and pistachio cake. Miss Cupcake’s—er, Ms. Kreitmann’s—treats have a wonderful homemade quality to them: they’re professional, but imperfect, with some puffing out of their paper liners and others barely peeking above. They’re all light, fluffy and full of deliciously balanced flavor.

BerkoBerko

Was it a coincidence that Miss Cupcake debuted where she did, or did she mean to go head-to-head with the not-too-far-away second outpost of Berko? After inspiring many sugar frenzies on rue Rambuteau, this American-style French bakery opened a newer outlet on rue Lepic in December (just wait, it’ll inevitably become a mini empire the way Magnolia and Crumbs have in New York). With crazy colors of crimson red, hot pink and florescent green; flavors in banana and Nutella, apple tatin and Oreo; and adornments of gumdrops, chocolate swirls and nougatine, Berko cupcakes remind me of DQ blizzards: totally ridiculous and a wee bit too addictive.

Cupcakes & CoCupcakes & Co

With a name like Pop Cupcakes, you’d expect the same fantastical creations as those from Berko, but in fact they’re quite sophisticated—and vegan, to boot. Founder Celeste Rhoads doesn’t have a Parisian storefront but rather offers her cupcakes on order, like premier party supplier Little Miss Cupcake and Sweet Pea Bakers, both American bakers who have been supplying Parisians with custom orders for years. Why vegan? Why not. One bite of the Bohemian Roses cupcake, an omigod combination of raspberry and roses, topped with vanilla “cream” (she substitutes ingredients like coconut cream for milk), and you might give up dairy forever.

But wait, there’s more! For the past year, left bankers have been scooping up Synie’s Cupcakes, pretty-as-a-picture creations in irresistible flavors like chocolate ganache, lemon ginger and dulce de leche with sea salt. But, in a surprising twist, Synie’s offers savory cupcakes, too. Red pepper and pine nuts, polenta topped with tapenade, and sesame with herbs and fromage blanc being some of the flavors that go quite nicely with evening cocktails.

And so the cupcake brigade continues. As you read this, they’re infiltrating traditional boulangeries (the seventh arrondissement’s Moulin de la Vierge), gelaterias (Il Gelato in Saint-Germain), American-influenced restaurants (H.A.N.D.), and even your local Monoprix.

Cupcakes & CoCupcakes & Co

What is it about these fist-sized sweets that make the French flipper? The novelty? The fantasy? The incredible flavor combinations? My guess is that it’s all about the fun. Just like cheeseburgers, cocktails and “le brunch”, other American imports that have become standard culinary protocol for Parisians fond of ennui, there are just some things that are worth letting your chignon down for.

  • Cupcakes & Co: 25, rue de la Forge Royale, 11eme. Tel: 01 43 67 16 19.
  • Miss Cupcake: 22, rue la Vieuville, 18eme . Tel: 06 63 00 77 77.
  • Berko: 23, rue Rambuteau, 4eme. Tel: 01 40 29 02 44; 31, rue Lepic, 18eme. Tel: 01 42 62 94 12.
  • Synie’s Cupcakes: 23, rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, 6eme. Tel: 01 45 44 54 23.

Related Links:

  • Parisian Party’s Paris cupcake addresses
  • Parisian Salon’s review of sweet shop Bogato
  • In Paris? You might want to check out Speculos spread… David Lebovitz is a fan…
  • In Paris on July 4th? Check out Parisian Events Cup Cake Camp. Yumm. Proceeds go to rebuilding Haiti.

Note from the editor: It has come to our attention, as the comments below attest to, that Miss Cupcake, located on rue la Vieuville, and Little Miss Cupcake, are two separate entities. We apologize sincerely for any confusion this post generated. We wish all parties the best of luck in their baking endeavors, and are certain that Parisians’ love of cupcakes will keep everyone in business!

Written by Amy Thomas for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Written by Amy Thomas

Amy ThomasAmy Thomas is a sweets-obssessed writer based between New York and Paris. She penned the Sweet Freak column for Metro newspaper and has written about Paris' best chocolatiers (New York Times), desserts for two (Time Out New York), chocolate for guys (Rachel Ray) and the best hot chocolate in the city (Metro). Check for updates from Amy on her blog, God I Love Paris.

Website: God I Love Paris

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Posted in Food | 23 Comments »

23 Responses to “Let Them Eat Cupcakes: Paris’ Best American Sweets”

  • BLOGGERS says:

    Appreciating the persistence you put into your blog and in depth information you offer. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed material.Once again nice blog Wonderful to read!

  • I Love keeping up to date with your posts!..Just wanted to thank you for a great blog!

  • […] have slowly been invading Paris since 2008. By the time French frozen food chain (and Parisian institution) Picard started carrying them, it […]

  • Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.

  • […] Amy Thomas’ post on Paris’ cupcake craze […]

  • […] Berko, Synie’s Cupcakes, Chloé S, Cupcakes & Co., and Little Miss Cupcake, bien sur—for Cupcake Camp, a fun festival of tasting and comparing cupcakes as they compete for such dubious titles as […]

  • Celeste says:

    I’m really glad to hear you liked my Pop Cupcakes! The Bohemian Roses remain a best seller – their pinkness, perhaps?

    I’m glad you mentioned Synie’s, as well. They’re also really delicious cakes, I’m definitely a fan.

    Thanks again for loving Pop Cupcakes!

  • KC says:

    I love cupcakes and love that are becoming so trendy. I have noticed that shops based around cupcakes are popping up everywhere and i love it! I have such a sweet tooth so this is simply heaven! I have even pondered opening my own even thought I am not a baker..just a designer..that is how much I truly love a good cupcake!
    The ones that you have in this post are amazingly gorgeous! I can appreciate that!
    xoxo
    KC

  • Kimmy says:

    What is about cupcakes that make us swoon so?
    Lovely petite cakes seem to cure even the most annoying ailments. :-)
    These cupcakes are too exquisite to eat, they remind me of little art pieces gathered on a cookie sheet!
    Have a lovely weekend, cheers!

  • […] cupcake crazy, and I, for one, say ,”What took them so long?”.  As the recent post on HiP Paris Blog shows, cupcake joints are popping up all over Paris.  It seems like everyone and their maman is […]

  • Entered with my old domain name. Here’s the correct one. Enjoy your weekend!

  • They all look so amazingly delicious and beautiful. What is it about cupcakes? Love them! Thanks for the info. I will be bookmarking these for sure. =)

  • I love the fact that more and more cupcakeries are “springing up” all over Paris these days and I can’t wait to do a “cupcake crawl” this summer..

  • TW says:

    Hear Hear Lindsey! Miss Cupcake is a fraud. She should hang her head in shame.

  • Sweet Freak says:

    Ferferi, Cynthia and Sion, glad you enjoyed the post! As you can imagine, I enjoyed the recon for it. :)

    Lindsey, sorry you’re bummed there’s a new cupcake in town. Although, as an American ex-pat, I do have mixed emotions about cupcakes storming our Bastille, I think this town is big and hungry enough for another happy baker. (Though, oui, unfortunate about the name selection.)

    And Cat… merci, merci! I will most definitely be there on July 4th. I look forward to meeting you and the others!

    Cheers, Amy

  • Leesa says:

    Hi there Amy…

    So. Paris burbs resident (So. Cal girl by heart and French resident by marriage)… I’ve been baking up cupcakes since I was a kid… and just bake them for fun and friends now.. My blog site is not operative for business but I keep it current when I bake new items – I just bake and give them all away to anyone I come in contact with in exchange for a smile!
    I am a HUGE fan of Cat’s (Little Miss Cupcake) and I am not in favor of someone going and using her name – very underhanded – So, I will not in any way, be supporting the imposter – Miss Cupcake in Paris, while the “real” one is the one who worked hard and created a reputation of her own making. That said… I love the fact that more and more cupcakeries are “springing up” all over Paris these days and I can’t wait to do a “cupcake crawl” this summer.. If anyone would like to join me and blog about it.. feel free to contact me on my daily blog – http://islandgirl4ever2.blogspot.com and drop me a comment or email.
    I have been to both Berko’s, Synie’s, and Cupcake and Co… Il Gelato owners are personal friends of mine, too.
    Next stop- Chloé S!
    Take care and thanks for the great write up!!!
    Leesa

  • Ferferi says:

    Unbelievable. I was discussing with my friend how we longed for cupcakes the both of us yesterday. Non of us knew though where to go. It’s just like you read my mind. I love this post. Have have have to try LMC! Thanks a lot!

  • Cynthia says:

    Wow, everyone seems to be posting about sweets and treats! : ) Your post is divinely yummy with all of those tempting photos.

    Thanks for the eye candy!

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by 3samovar, Yvonne Winkler and Manuela Durson, Erica Berman. Erica Berman said: Amy Thomas dishes on Paris' best cupcake spots! http://bit.ly/axlDbI […]

  • Funny, I was just eating cupcakes yesterday. Cupcakes & Co is the closest to me, but I might have to branch out and try some of these others. I also follow Little Miss Cupcake on Twitter, though, so might not be able to support Miss Cupcake as there seems to be some drama there! In any case, I love having a taste of home in Paris!

  • Lindsey says:

    As a huge fan of Cat/LMC’s and Synie’s cupcakes, I’m slighty peeved that the imposter cupcake baker Miss Cupcake is getting attention. She clearly couldn’t come up with an original brand for herself and instead stole the name from someone who has positioned herself rightfully so as the original cupcake caterer/baker in Paris. It’s a shame that integrity is overlooked.

  • Wow, Amy, thanks so much for including me (and a picture of my cupcakes to accompany the piece!) in your Paris cupcake round-up. I am an avid reader of Paris HiP blog and God I Love Paris, and so am absolutely delighted to be on your radar!

    Since the opening of Mme. Kreitmann’s “Miss Cupcake” boutique last month, I have received many many calls & emails from confused fans and devoted clients asking about *my* new boutique in Montmartre. I did want to clarify since it may not be apparent that I am in NO WAY affiliated with her or her boutique. I have been baking fresh from scratch, American-style custom-order cupcakes in Paris since 2008 and the only way to purchase them (for now!) is via my blogs: http://www.littlemisscupcake.eu in English and http://www.littlemisscupcake.fr en francais.

    Since I know you are a devout cupcake fan (and so many of your readers must be too) I wanted to invite you to an event I am organizing on July 4. Cupcake Camp Paris follows along in the great tradition of this meet and greet for cupcake lovers that is storming the globe. Several of the bakers mentioned in this article will attend such as Synie, Berko and Cupcakes & Co. You can find more info on the blog: http://www.cupcakecampparis.blogspot.com/
    I do hope to see you there (and I mean that sincerely!).

    xx Cat
    Little Miss Cupcake

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