F&W Free Preview All You Coastal Living Cooking Light Food and Wine tab Health myRecipes Southern Living Sunset
My F&W
quick save (...)

Big Sugar’s Blockbuster Desserts

For Hollywood celebrities like Nicollette Sheridan, the biggest hits might just be around the corner from their studios at Big Sugar Bakeshop, the fantastically inventive home of the doughnut muffin and the apple pie bar.

To step into Los Angeles’s Big Sugar Bakeshop is to enter a confectionery alt-universe. Doughnuts and muffins morph into a single hybrid breakfast pastry (tastes like a doughnut, looks like a muffin); pecan pralines form the sweet crust for a fluffy cheesecake served with buttery caramel sauce; an unassuming cinnamon cake explodes with the sweet-spicy flavors of red hot candies, thanks to its ancho chile– and cayenne pepper–flavored buttercream frosting. Other sweets—like crunchy, coconut-topped seven-layer bars and delicate, button-shaped cookies—are unabashedly retro.

Many of these playful concoctions were dreamed up in the home kitchens of Big Sugar owners Lisa Ritter (the baking side) and Mary Odson (the business side), who envisioned a neighborhood bakery where local kids and adults would feel equally welcome—and where their own children could help out. And they do: The Studio City bakery, which opened in early 2007, sells funky, skull-adorned aprons designed by Odson’s 10-year-old daughter, Hana. Ritter’s son Henry, also 10 years old, helps his mom choose recipes, including the Reverse Chocolate Chip Cookie, an intensely chocolaty one studded with bittersweet- and white-chocolate chips, based on Ina Garten’s Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookie.

Because Big Sugar is just a quick walk from the major television networks’ offices, it didn’t take long for entertainment moguls and TV stars (and their kids) to also discover the bakery’s desserts. Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan is a familiar face, as is the show’s creator and executive producer, Marc Cherry, who is partial to the doughnut muffins. Through their celebrity clientele, Ritter and Odson have become caterers to the stars, baking sweets for studio parties and styling desserts for on-screen appearances on shows like The Office and Two and a Half Men.

Because she conceives many of her ideas in her own kitchen, Ritter’s recipes are easy to re-create at home. And because many of them are inspired by family and friends, she happily shares baking tips. But the secrets to some of Big Sugar’s signature crossbred pastries will remain just that: The recipe for doughnut muffins is strictly off-limits.

Published March 2008
You Might Also Like

Comments

Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    advertisement
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
    American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement.
    How we use your email address
    advertisement
    Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

    Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world’s most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.