For most people, living in France does not just mean eating croissants and drinking good wine every day. This blog post is a part of our new series, An Expat Life, exploring what it is like for an expat to live and work in Paris. Through these profiles of expats who have made their lives here, we will show you the different opportunities that exist in France and the (many) struggles that go along with them.
A few weeks ago, we stopped by the recently opened Sugar Daze bakeshop to talk with the owner Cat Beurnier and taste some of her delicious cupcakes. Cat, an American expat from New York City, was disappointed by the state of cupcakes in France. Cupcakes got a bad reputation in Paris, according to Cat, because so many of them do not look and taste like they should. Her goal is to show Paris how delicious real American cupcakes can be. “Educating people,” Cat explained, “and putting the word out there that cupcakes are great is really what I am all about.”
After 13 years in the corporate world she decided to follow her heart to Paris, like so many of us, and pursue a career in baking, leaving the days of sitting in a cubicle behind. Cat set herself up as an auto-entrepreneur and opened her business four years ago under the name Little Miss Cupcake, running out of a rental kitchen and fulfilling catering requests as they came in. As the business grew, Cat began to think about opening a storefront but didn’t want to sacrifice time with her two kids. Finally, in June of this year, Sugar Daze opened shop in the trendy part of the 9th arrondissement.
Opening a business was a complicated process for Cat. Unlike in the US, information on how to do things is hard to come by in France and it was difficult for Cat to get a straight answer on how to do things. “If you talk to 19 different people,” Cat said, “you will get 19 different responses.” She told us a story about wanting to change the color on the front of her store when she first moved in. The first contractor she brought in told her she had to file paperwork with the mairie to change in. Frustrated, she asked a second contractor who told her she should just go ahead and paint it. She continued to encounter contradictions like this as she tried to get her store ready to open. It quickly became obvious that her American sense of the way things should be done did not fit with the French way and that she would have to adapt.
Now that Sugar Daze has opened, there are fewer administrative problems and Cat can focus on her cupcakes. In the store she sells a rotation of flavors, featuring a special cupcake of the day, topped with pretty decorations she creates herself. We especially enjoyed the fun names of the cupcakes, from After Eight to C is for Cookie. The playfulness of the cupcakes is mirrored in the colorful decorations throughout the shop. The cupcakes we tried were deliciously moist, just like a cupcake should be! In addition to the shop, the catering half of Sugar Daze is still alive and well. In fact, while we were talking with Cat, a customer came in to ask about cupcakes for her wedding. Cat also hosts classes and a Cupcake Camp to teach people how to make cupcakes and share some of her favorite recipes. If you are looking for real cupcakes in Paris, Sugar Daze is the place to go.Sugar Daze
20 rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris