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Plum Sugar Bakery Makes Custom Cake Dreams Come True

By Pamela Sosnowski

As the owner of the Plum Sugar Bakery, Johanna Lyons caters to a lot of different customers: parents seeking a themed birthday cake for their child's party, adult children wanting to surprise a parent with a custom creation, and colleagues needing a cake for their boss' retirement party. But according to Lyons, her Kingston-based bakery is drawing its biggest accolades from brides-to-be that appreciate the personalized service and attention they receive.

"They love that I plan a tasting with them to sit and talk about their vision for their wedding cake," she explained. "As I've heard from them, other establishments make them feel like they're just rushing them in to then pump out a bunch of cakes at once. Since we are small I only take on three weddings per day to ensure these couples get their dream cake."

Lyons only bakes so many custom cakes as well for this same reason. Cakes are made from scratch and in small batches to stay fresher longer. Cakes are made in a variety of styles from basic sheet cakes for showers to 3D cakes that take on the shape of an object or animal. The wedding cakes are often multi-tiered, available in octagon shapes in addition to the traditional square and round forms, and are often embellished with decorative touches and toppers.

Plum Sugar Bakery also turns out cupcakes in changing flavors that include coconut caramel, cannoli, Boston cream pie, lemon raspberry, and more. Cookies are also available in just about any shape and size, making them perfect for party favors.

Along with partner Paula Barry, Lyons launched Plum Sugar Bakery in 2007 to give the South Shore area a custom cake and cupcake supplier. Ten years later the bakery is still going strong, and Lyons has competed on TLC's Next Great Baker (she didn't win, but became fast friends with her competitors.) The secret of her success, she says, is simple: she loves baking.

"The first step to making quality desserts is loving what you do," she said. "Everyone at the bakery loves to bake. It's a lot of fun when we all brainstorm together to come up with new products to try. Plus we all love Pinterest and use stuff we've seen on there as inspiration."

The bakery, which recently began offering Sunday hours to accommodate more customers, has won several brides' choice awards in recent years by wedding publications and websites. Customer reviews often cite the cakes' quality and taste, attention to detail and most importantly, the customer service they have received. Lyons explains that her cakes are often more expensive than a traditional supermarket bakery cake because of the time and effort required to make one. She is always happy to offer alternate designs to fit a customer's budget.

"Since we are a small business we take our time with all our special orders," she said. "We want everyone that comes to us to leave happy."

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