A look at the opening weekend of our bakery

After weeks of preparations (really months), the big opening of our cupcake shop in Paris happened this weekend.  Mostly her shop really, I’m just there to taste cupcakes (no really, that’s what I do).

Well actually, I’m also there to drive our little electric Zipcar-like thing to pickup supplies (Autolib).  And while tasting cupcakes is fun, I enjoy the gigantic restaurant supply place just as much, if not more.  We went Friday evening (it’s only open to restaurants with a food-licenses business certificate), to pickup our final lot of supplies for opening day.

While she had made many trips before to pickup ingredients, with construction going on in the shop we simply didn’t have room until now to pickup large-scale quantities as well as items like napkins and such.

We were there for probably close to 90 minutes getting our cart all loaded up – with the last 10 minutes reserved for cold items.  Below is our cart.  The key item to keep in mind is that this cart rivals the length of our little rental car.  This is no Safeway sized cart, not even a Costco flatbed cart competes with this beast.  I think I’m supposed to have a license to drive it.

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More astoundingly though, was that I managed to fit it all to our little car (pictured below) in with room to spare.  Well, except the drinks.  I had to come back early the next morning and buy all those.  Poor electric car was notably slower both trips on the way home.

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But my late night errands weren’t limited to just food products.  Nope, height enhancers were also on the list.  She ended up choosing a white-colored variant of the red one seen below.

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Once we got everything home, it was time to load up the fridge.  The shop also has an underground cold storage area as well (a cave converted into a fridge).  But this is easier at the moment.  In case you’re curious – that’s 180 eggs.  Also a case of lemons, and a Paula Dean sized amount of butter.  And a lot of milk and cream.  Oh, and one bucket [not pictured] of fresh buffalo mozzarella that I found on my second trip (they also sell it by the crate!).  Yes, it’s awesome.  And no, it’s not going in a cupcake.  It’s going in my belly!

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A good friend of ours came over to help us out for the opening week.  He speaks French, and as seen below – also cleans windows.  And tests cupcake batter.  All of us test batter actually, all day long.  It’s plausible at some point in my life I’ll tire of batter…but hopefully not soon.

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Once baking got up to full speed (an actual setting on the mixer), cake batter was in copious amounts at all times.

Take for example, the below mixer paddle.  This paddle is almost a foot in height.  And probably 8-10” across.  And yes, it was all mine.

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Cupcakes come out by the sheet-load, 24 per sheet.  Up to 100 at a time in the oven.  Below, a few rows of Vanilla, followed by Banana.  The Banana is a take on the Nutella Banana crepe that’s popular here in Paris.

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Once they come out, it’s time to ice them.  Below, the Nutella as part of the aforementioned cupcake.

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They then get lined up on boards that were specifically designed for the cupcakes, to prevent them from sliding around.  Below, Mexican chocolate.

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You can see the boards here in the display case better – in this case, Pistachio, and a Strawberry cupcake.

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Because it was raining all weekend long, I didn’t get any shots from outside looking in.  Hopefully when I return from travelling this week I’ll be able to get some nice pretty shots with the entire display case filled out – which is many hundreds of cupcakes at once.

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Here’s the head chef herself towards the end of a long opening day.  I’m super proud of her.  She’s done an immense amount of work getting the shop open over the past few months, not to mention doing it all in a foreign country!

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Outside of my CupCakery activities there wasn’t a ton of time.  We had some friends in town from Seattle, who also pitched in and helped with running the endless opening weekend errands (thank you!).  In between all that we did get to see a bit of Paris with them – including a stroll to an organic market on Sunday.  Along the way, we muddled through a wet Luxembourg Gardens:

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However, in doing so – I noticed a bit of a running race/event finishing up:

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Sure enough, the finish line was and associated tents were there.  The area had an awesome view across the gardens.  A great place to hold an event.

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Once we made it to the market, it was packed – despite the nonstop rain:

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There were all assortment of things (mostly food based).  For example, the freshly made fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies seen below:

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Or this cheese stand, with cheese about as fresh as you could ever ask for it.  I believe this was a variant of goat cheese, but it wasn’t labeled.  Either way, it was looking good.

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With the market trip complete, I spent a tiny bit of time unpacking the BKOOL trainer.  I’m once again happy to report that another trainer company has gone the way of ‘pre-assembled’ trainers.  This thing comes out of the box ready to roll!

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Based on your comments last week around whether I should put together an early trainer comparison, I’m going offer a first look recommendations across the trainers I’ll be recommending.  I’m going to sort them by price categories/ranges.  My goal is to have that to you this week, pending how crazy travel is for the week.  Then follow that up in a bit with more detail around my recommendations as I get more time on a few specific trainers (BKOOL, Wahoo KICKR, Kurt Kinetic with the inRIDE, and Tacx Genius).  I’ve got initial hands on with all of them, but really want to understand where the tiny gaps are – which only comes from longer time periods.

Speaking of that crazy travel, I’m now at 33,000 feet on the below Boeing 747-400, making my way towards Johannesburg, South Africa – my home for a few days this week.  Something ironically enough, the map shows I’m over Toulouse, France right now (home to competitor to Boeing, Airbus).

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As always – thanks for reading!  And hope everyone has a great week ahead!

32 Comments

  1. It would be intresting to hear both your thoughts on the relative difficulty in opening the shop in Paris versus had it been done in DC.

    Congratulations.

    Reply
  2. Congratulations on the bakery!

    Rey, can't wait for your trainer comparison

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  3. Congratulations!! Very impressive!

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  4. Congrats to Bobbie! The bakery looks amazing and I love the fridge shop. So glad this dream is now a reality- you're so supportive of each other, it's fantastic to see!

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  5. Lieven

    I'll be twice in Paris in the next few weeks. If I find some time between meetings, I'll pay you a visit for a nutella cupcake!

    Reply
  6. I love the Great Wall of Butter in the fridge. How many pounds of butter did you guys pick up? By the looks of it, my guess is about 50 pounds?

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Ray,

    Please don't forget to review the LeMond, been waiting for that review.

    Reply
  8. Let me know if you want to meet up for a ride, run or swim while in Joburg...

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  9. Didn´t knew that you were opening a Cupcake bakery in Paris, I really hope that it turns into a successful shop! I always read your blog for information about running gadgets and stuff, greetings from Venezuela!

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  10. Congratulations!

    I will be in Paris next month. Will drop by and try-out the cupcakes!

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  11. Congratulations on the bakery opening! It looks wonderful!!

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  12. wish I could be in Paris to taste those lovely looking cupcakes. Big congratulations for the opening

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  13. Congratulations !
    Really impressive!
    While french say it's really hard to create an entreprise in France, you do make one really fast.
    Hope you the best.
    Rarely in Paris, but next time, will make a time to visit you and buy some good cakes ^^

    Reply
  14. Will you be in Joburg until the weekend? Let me know if you want a training buddy...

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  15. Congratulations on the bakery!!

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  16. Thanks all, we appreciate the comments!

    As for the Joburg questions - I'm here till Wednesday night, and would love to do a run early Weds morning (like 6-7AMish). I'm staying in the Rosemont area. Just drop a note to my e-mail - ray@dcrainmaker.com

    Would love to meet up!

    Reply
  17. Congrats on the grand opening!!! How exciting! A new city, a new shop, new trails! I would be on serious sensory overload. If you ever need to test how well the cupcakes stand up to shipping, feel free to send some my way. I'll be a tester :)

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  18. Congrats! I hope the best for both of you!

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  19. Very cool... the cupcakes look awesome. Best of luck!

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  20. the paddle looked like a pretzel

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  21. Anonymous

    And the opening week reaction of Paris to the bakery was.........

    Reply
  22. Oh, it was great! We had a lot of folks stroll by, sell cupcakes and just be curious about what was going on.

    We don't have any signs up yet (still waiting on city approval), so it takes a bit more curiosity for someone to know we're there, but word is spreading fast!

    Reply
  23. Ray,
    I used to respect your photojournelism skills and blog, but now I feel I have been lied to throughout this entire process....there is no way all those cooking supplies into that tiny car. It has obviously been photoshopped! Did you even race Ironman Canada, or was that a photoshop lie too!!! I will continue to read your blog, but now imagine you are 60 year-old retired spinster with 7 cats all named Snuggles.

    Also, trainer review!!!!!!!

    (Kidding, congrats on the shop and I have observed the trainer review demands on every post so I felt left out....I'm a pack animal)

    Reply
  24. Amazing! Do give us an update how the business goes, i guess it's the same as going thru training, might be difficult at times but the reward would be fruitful ! ;)
    Regards,
    Jackson

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  25. Ehy Ray! Good to know u did that! I started to read your reviews 5 months ago and I'm still loving the way you do it ;) I'm going to be in Paris from 20 to 23 Oct, I'll come and buy some great cupcakes and if you are there to know you!
    Regards Alberto

    Reply
  26. Hi Alberto!

    Swing by either later on the 22nd, or the 23rd and I might be around. :)

    Reply
  27. Ged

    Congratulations on the Cupcakery!
    The cakes look amazing and I love the website. Hope its all goes well!
    I'm travelling through Paris tomorrow (on way back to to London) but don't have time to pop down to Notre Dame to try them out.
    Was also intrigued to see the Airbus image which reminded me that I designed that rather hugely branded oneworld 'logo' for British Airways about 13 years ago. (Helvetica in a purple circle - genius!).

    Reply
  28. Ray, I'm on vacation with my girl in Paris right now (live in Sweden) and actually saw you zip by Pompidou today at lunch on a bike :) Thought about yelling "hi", but the internet is a funny place; I'm only a reader of your blog.

    Anyways, the girl wants to visit the cupcake place tomorrow. Good luck with those cakes!

    /Peter

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  29. Rayyy swinged on the 23 rd but it was closed:( very sad, couldn't try your cupcakes and I Just came back to italy.

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  30. Oh bummer! Yeah, we closed yesterday to try and catch up on a bunch of items that were outstanding. The only day in between opening and mid-November.

    Sorry!

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  31. Hey! Canadian in Paris for work for 12 days, been following your blog for years since I got the TRI bug (I am a bit of a tri-geek too, and dib in photography, so it's a perfect match to my interests!)

    I was looking forward to stop by the shop (and try one of those delicious-looking cupcakes!) but found the door closed. Out of luck, my trip is right in the middle of your big vacation around the world. Maybe next time! Keep up the good work (both of you)! Takes courage to open a business so quick after 'adopting' a new country.

    Seems like the shop was getting some attention, in the few minutes I was there, I saw numerous people stopping by and looking in the window with interest. I take it it's going well :)

    Cheers!

    Reply
  32. Ohhh - so sorry to miss you! Will you be around in Paris much longer (you mentioned 12 days)?

    We'd love to have you swing by again if you're around when we get back.

    And always good to hear folks are interested. :) We finally got all the signs installed the day before we left, and it was like a massive beacon!

    Reply

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