Everything edible that comes out of The Sugar Path bakery has to fit three criteria: It must not have any preservatives or artificial flavors; it must be baked in small batches; and its flavors and ingredients must fit the season.
“You walk into the grocery store and you look at what’s out at that time,” says Michelle Adams, co-owner of The Sugar Path in Geneva.
In the summer, it’s berries; in the fall, it’s pumpkin, squash and gourds mixed with flavors like maple and cinnamon. Adams calls this “baking with the seasons,” and it’s out of this philosophy that The Sugar Path’s sweet treats are born.
The Sugar Path began in November 2011 when Adams and her sister, Nina Cater, started a business selling desserts at farmers markets. Their success snowballed, and they started catering weddings and other events. In December 2012, they opened their own kitchen and retail shop at 315 W. State St., in Geneva.
“We grew up in a very food-focused family and, because of that, we were always cooking and baking,” Adams says. “We’ve been doing it since an early age.”
Growing up, the sisters spent a lot of time with their grandparents, who grew much of their own food and lived a “farm-to-table” lifestyle. Their grandmother always had a homemade pie or cake on hand, and she taught the sisters how to roll pie crusts and let them experiment with their own culinary creations.
The Sugar Path sells goods in the store, does catering, sells wholesale to restaurants and cafes, and ships desserts and gift packages nationwide through its online shop, with customers as far away as Alaska, Adams says.
According to pastry chef and lead baker, Ariela Saltijeral, the bakery offers “pretty much everything,” including cakes, cupcakes, pies, cookies, quiches, do-cups (a cross between a doughnut and a cupcake), shot glass desserts and cake jars – which are exactly what they sound like, and they work especially well if you want to ship a dessert to a loved one.
The menu changes every month to fit the season and feature popular flavors, says Saltijeral. As summer turns to fall, The Sugar Path will be phasing out fruit pies and introducing pumpkin and apple desserts, as well as fall-themed decorated sugar cookies, Saltijeral says.
One of the bakery’s most popular fall pies is the bourbon pecan, says Adams.
Saltijeral’s favorite desserts are peanut butter chess pie, pumpkin pie and three-berry pie.
Adams has favorites in every dessert category, but, like Saltijeral, she has a soft spot for The Sugar Path’s pies, many of which are inspired by her grandmother’s pies. When it comes to fall desserts, her favorite is the pumpkin spice cake – pumpkin cake with cinnamon buttercream frosting and a caramel drizzle.
“It tastes like fall,” she says.
The Sugar Path
315 W. State St., Geneva