Platter Chatter: Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe
Yummy, tasty, delectable, appetizing, scrumpdiddlyumptious. How many different ways can you say “delicious”? You might want to grab a thesaurus before visiting Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe, the gourmet cupcake bakery which recently opened a new location in Brighton. Since Sugar Mountain has over 100 cupcake varieties in the rotation, including limited-edition seasonal flavors, you’ll need a lot of synonyms.
When Riley Greider and her partner Donald Brown started out selling sweet treats, their stock-in-trade
was actually cookies, but they quickly realized that cookies weren’t quite right for them. After reading an article about the cupcake trend that was taking over the country, Greider imagined herself bringing it to Rochester.
“It just sounded like fun,” says Greider, who worked at Xerox for 16 years before entering the baking biz. “And it’s turned out to be more fun than we ever expected it to be.”
The original Park Avenue location, which shares space with La-Tea-Da! Tearoom and Parlor, offered 39 cupcake flavors. Two years and a staggering 280,000 cupcakes later, Sugar Mountain’s new storefront opened on Monroe Avenue. In the interim, they’ve grown their business by developing dozens of new flavors, by catering weddings and parties—including the mayor’s Christmas party, three years in a row—and through the savvy use of social media, particularly Facebook. Each day’s flavors are posted on the bakery’s Facebook page, and the Sugar Mountain team does its best to honor fans’ requests. They also listen closely to customer feedback.
“I had to completely overhaul my buttercream recipe in the beginning,” Greider explains. “Customers overwhelmingly told me it was too sweet.”
With varieties like chocolate merlot, key lime pie, orange creamsicle, white russian and mango cheesecake, it hasn’t been hard to find willing tasters. Greider needs them, because she keeps experimenting to develop new cupcakes—cannoli and spumoni are two of the latest. She’s even thinking of branching out into savory cakes, like a caprese salad version, that incorporates flavors of tomato, basil and mozzarella.
Each season, five to 10 new cupcakes debut—lighter, fruity cakes in the spring and summer, and richer varieties that use spices, pumpkin, nuts and apple as fall and winter roll around. Still, there are some perennial favorites. The red velvet cupcake boasts a deep scarlet color and intensely cocoa-y cake, with luxurious sweet cheese filling and a satin-smooth white chocolate and cream cheese frosting. One bite of the lemon raspberry cupcake—vibrant lemon cake, luscious, jammy raspberry filling and beautiful pale-pink buttercream frosting—reminds you how perfectly paired these two fruit flavors are. For the diehard chocoholics out there, Sugar Mountain’s Sinfully Chocolate cupcake satisfies with dark chocolate fudge cake, chocolate chiffon filling and chocolate cream cheese to top it all off.
Asked what the most unusual cupcake on offer is, Greider doesn’t have to think hard. “The ‘Cakes and Bacon,” she says, referring to a honey-buttermilk cake filled with maple chiffon, topped with bacon-flavored frosting and garnished with chocolate-dipped bacon pieces. “It’s definitely polarizing. People either love it or they hate it.”
Sugar Mountain will happily fulfill special orders of any cupcake flavor, including gluten-free cupcakes, with a one-dozen minimum and 72 hours’ notice. Or stop in to the bakery to swoon over, and select from, the daily specials.
Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe
285 Alexander St. (corner of Park Avenue)
Rochester, NY 14607
1697 Monroe Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618