Lemon-and-Orange-Glazed Pound Cake
Recipe by Bill Bowick
Bill Bowick, co-owner of Charleston's Sugar Bakeshop, created this impressive recipe to use the treasured Bundt-cake pan that Leigh Magar got from her great-grandmother. Leigh served the cake at her grandmother's 92nd birthday party. Read More »
October, 2010
Charleston, South Carolina Travel Guide

This bite-size bakeshop run by two New York City architects turned bakers is renowned for its custom cakes and Huguenot tortes as well as its daily specials. The Lady Baltimore cupcakes, made with Sherry-soaked figs and raisins and topped with meringue icing, are baked from scratch every Thursday. Enjoy dessert with mint sun tea in the walled garden.

VIDEO: Redux and the HighRollers team up for a sweet skating parade

The South is regaled for regional fare and hospitality, so it is to be expected that several delicious cakes hail from Dixie. One of the area's most famous and treasured desserts is the coconut cake, four layers of vanilla-flavored cake covered in meringue frosting and showered with a snowy white blanket of fragrant, freshly grated coconut. The particulars of its origins are unknown, but legend has it that this Southern favorite was initially brought to American tables from Caribbean climes, arriving in port cities such as New Orleans and Charleston, where the cake quickly became a holiday staple.

"More buttermilk-tangy than cocoa-earthy, this red velvet cake is frosted when ordered. It is flawless." Michael Stern
Some of the city’s newer shopkeepers are its biggest boosters. “Charleston has always been diverse,” says Bill Bowick. He co-owns Sugar Bakeshop (59½ Cannon St.; 843/579-2891), home to Charleston’s most memorable cupcakes (try the red velvet ones with cream cheese frosting) and other sweet treats... Read article

Cannonborough isn’t exactly where you’d expect to find Charleston’s hip new bridal district.

But this diverse neighborhood is growing up fast and plays host to everything a Charleston bride needs, nestled among technicolor houses and favorite urban dives. Yes, this neighborhood has a buzz about it, and you certainly won’t get a cookie-cutter wedding working with the locals in this part of town.

“That’s what makes downtown New York so attractive. It’s residential with little boutiques and businesses mixed into it,” says Laura Kirkman, owner of Maddison Row Bridal Chic. “And that’s what this neighborhood is becoming.”

Step inside the gown room at Maddison Row and bask in front of the wedding designer greats–Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang, Elizabeth Filmore–traditional and contemporary designs, blended into a sea of cream and white. Where once upon a time Charleston brides jet setted to New York in hopes of high-end labels, now Kirkman (who will be a bride herself on Saturday) brings the goods to Charleston with Maddison Row. Kirkman expertly guides each bride-to-be through the process of finding the perfect dress, with a demeanor so relaxed it could calm the nerves of even the most nervous nelly. Maddison Row is elegant, but not at all stuffy, a blend of metropolitan style and Southern charm with white-wood floors, oversized mirrors, and Sophie – Kirkman’s dog – looking on expertly from a pink chaise in the front.

But as every bride knows, and grooms begrudgingly agree, the dress is just the beginning.

A block up the street, Tiger Lily Florist is a swell of in-season spring color – snapdragon, freesia, delphinium and dozens of other flowers fill the space. Taking their inspiration from Charleston’s famous gardens, Tiger Lily’s floral designers craft works customized for each member of the bridal party using fresh flowers shipped in each day from farms across the world. Charleston locals know there’s a reason they’ve been voted number one florist in the city for the past 10 years.

Cannonborough is also home to a myriad of Charleston wedding and event planners including Blue Moon Events (62 Cannon), W.E.D. (123 King St.), and Kristen Newman Designs (210 Rutledge). A perfect cake can also be found in downtown’s bridal district with Sugar Bake Shop (59 1/2 Cannon St.), designing vintage inspired cakes in flavors like vanilla with almond buttercream icing and their signature Lady Baltimore. These are adorned with fresh, local flowers giving a contemporary spin on the traditional wedding cake.

And when the big day arrives, a new salon is the destination for chic, eco-friendly brides to get the finishing touches. Velvet Salon (162 Spring St.) opened just this week, the dream of owner Melissa Pope who wanted to bring a trendy, but environmentally friendly salon to Charleston. Pope, who specializes in bridal hair in addition to nearly a decade of experience, incorporates as many environmentally friendly products into her styling to create a look for Charleston brides that is as one-of-a-kind as it is earth happy.

It’s Charleston’s exquisite attention to detail, charming locales, and creative spirit that make us one of the top wedding destinations in the country. Characteristics all reflected in the new Cannonborough wedding district.

Pop the champagne, it’s time for a wedding.


Charleston Street Style Vlog
By: Ayoka Lucas, Style Editor
Check out these videos of Ayoka at Sugar, the B'zar Farewell, the Digitel Debutante Ball, and the Dalek Show at Redux.

  FEBRUARY 25, 2009
When art and confection meet

New works by Sally King Benedict
On view through March 1
Sugar Bakeshop
101 Cannon St.
(843) 579-2891

Sugar Bakeshop sits on the center of Cannon Street between Rutledge Avenue and Coming Street. Charming and simple, the exterior by itself was enough for me to realize the Sally Benedict show would be more than I was expecting.

I saw her work with other artists at a previous show put on by Jeffery Rhodes, owner of www.MargoKaufmanGallery.com, an online gallery specializing in emerging contemporary artists.

Rhodes has a knack for finding rare, unknown local talent — and Benedict is no exception. The few earlier paintings I had seen were dazzling. The texture of her oil paintings alone is enough to make you stand there enraptured as you follow the rivets of her brushwork. Needless to say, I was excited to see how well she would adapt to the setting of a bakery.

Set amid Sugar's modern soda shop decor, Benedict's work feels like walking in a confectionary dream. Modern metal appliances twist with robin's egg blues. Fresh strawberry tartlets rest in cardboard egg crates while a waitress dressed like Betty Boop passes out buttercream cupcakes.

Luminaries illuminate the white gravel patio outside, where more sugary goodness awaits on top of vintage soda machines and brushed-silver tables. At the end of the walkway hangs one of Benedict's larger paintings — "Mount Me," a 36-by-48-inch painting depicting a multitude of animal heads.

While the subject sounds dreary, the bright and pastel colors create a fanciful effect. There's a flirtatious, sketchy quality in her work. This balances the dreamy color and gives her painting a more serious edge.

Sugar reorganized the countertops for the show, allowing patrons to walk through its immaculate, tiny kitchen. On the other side, a glass garage door has been lifted to reveal more tables with candles, holding iced-sugar cookies that melt in your mouth, and metal tubs holding iced champagne.

Along one wall hangs a multitude of small round human heads. These miniatures are opposite a larger painting called "Sebastian." Layer on layer of paint gives the canvas a sea of color that somehow manages to work together.

The works were so reasonably priced that most, including a smaller series of animal heads, rapidly disappeared by the end of the night I was there. It was a success.

I was pleasantly surprised how well the art matched its venue. Benedict's coarse outlines harmonized with the venue's metal surfaces and machinery while her floaty colors were a perfect parallel to their sugary surroundings.

  September, 2008
Best of the Bakeshops

Text by Nina Elder
Research by Andrew Knowlton
Photograph by José Picayo September 2008

Funky little pastry shops are popping up from Oakland to Brooklyn. Inside, you'll find cases stocked with goodies that will remind you of home. But these aren't your grandma's desserts. They're new twists on the American desserts we love most.

Sugar Bakeshop, Charleston, South Carolina
This sweet little downtown bakery was founded by Bill Bowick and David Bouffard, two architects who moved from New York to Charleston. The couple transformed what was once Old Whaley's Vegetable Stand into a cream-and-blue-green pastry showcase, and Bowick started turning out crowd-pleasing treats, like chocolate chip cookies and iced-to-order red velvet cupcakes. 843-579-2891

  Fall/Winter, 2008
Be My Guest: Charleston
By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh

Because no one knows a city like the people who call it home, we turned to three women with impeccable taste for advice on where they take friends who are visiting from out of town.

"Charleston has a ghostly aura—it's a city
with an old soul. I love the closeness of
the sea and the fact that you can walk
and bike everywhere." —Leigh Magar

South Carolina native Leigh Magar presides over Magar Hatworks, where she also hosts the occasional tea party. "Sugar Bakeshop makes the most delicious red-velvet cupcakes—my new shop is next door, and I'm scared I'll turn into the Fat Hatter! Everything is homemade, and it's a beautiful, old-fashioned space."

Spring, 2008
Charleston's Most Unique: How Sweet It Is
By Emily Lynn

The Peninsula's up-and-coming neighborhood, Cannonborough, just became heaps sweeter with Sugar, a stylish yet quaint bakeshop dedicated to providing locals with fresh cupcakes , cookies, and tarts. Owners and New York expats, Bill and David, have precisely and successfully christened Charleston by applying a modern twist on standard, traditional bakeries. Bill's passion for baking along with David's encouragement created the synergistic push in transforming a nearly dilapidated building into and artful experience of sight and taste.

Enjoying a treat at this local bakeshop is a delight in itself. A jingle of bells softly awakes as the door opens. Hints of cinnamon and vanilla flood your senses. A warm, engaging smile welcomes you. Immediately, you are aware that you have entered someone's home – someone's kitchen. The antiquated stained walls and chic displays demonstrate a sample of this duo's modern flare so elegantly meshed with charm.

Born of a collaborated recipe collection from friends and family, it is safe to conclude that all of Sugar's treats are, well, simply perfect. Each menu item is made with care and thoughtfulness. On this particular day I chose the ginger molasses cookie, again perfectly crisp edges bordering a softer center. Waling out of the store, the street was quiet yet alive and walking home I felt lighter, refreshed from my experience. We always emphasize stopping to smell the roses, but in this calorie counted life, we need to remember that life is sweet and take time to taste the sugar.

June, 2008
Dropping a Little NYC

Charleston City Paper

Thursday, June 6. 10:30 pm. Party for the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Sugar Bakeshop, Bill Bowick and David Bouffard. 59½ Cannon St.

You could call it the Zoolander Effect. Take two stylish guys from New York, put them in a transitional neighborhood and add pastries, chocolatinis and champagne and the result is some hip and really, really ridiculously good-looking people. I mean, look at this picture. I’m not a good photographer. All the other party photographers have fantastic cameras. Mine is crap. The room was just that smoking.

But even without the Spoleto SCENEsters, the bakeshop and gardens of Sugar are pure eye candy. Bill Bowick and David Bouffard, architects both, are of the form-follows-function school – the space was a wonder of workable décor, mixers and stainless steel bowls, racks of cupcake tins, sacks of flour.

The backyard is a minimalist (Maya Lin-ist?) garden of modern delight. Pea gravel ground cover, old shutters as dividers, a big blue storage shed that reads nothing like a shed. (“Reads” is architect for “looks.”)

Sculptor Loren Schwerd, (formerly of CofC, visiting from LSU), and the V-tones’ own Noodle McDoodle (I believe his real name is Don Something) were checking out Jared Charzewski’s (currently of CofC) video installation, projected on ostrich feathers. Cindi Gasparre, Harleston Village Neighborhood Association president and lifesaver/babysitter to the stars said the billowing white plumes made her feel cooler.

Architect Randolph Martz explained that a recent photo of him had mislabeled his glasses. “These are my angry, discontented architect glasses (see left). But they can also be my haughty, supercilious architect glasses.” (Right.)

The Sugar duo lives in the house next door. Bill bakes while David is still designing, at Liollio Architects alongside Jay White, who with his new bride Amelia arrived on his-and-hers Pashley city bikes. Brian Sanders and Jen Hurst, also of Liollio, came on a Columbia Twosome tandem.

I was pumped to talk about Chipper “Mr. 400” Jones but this ain’t the crowd. The closest I got to sports was hockey – Lauren Curler said her brother-in-law Brian Rafalski just won the Stanley Cup. She and her husband celebrated with a special St. Petersburg bottle of Veuve. Sweet!

June, 2008
Carolina Chocolate Drops Party

Charleston Magazine Party Scene

On Thursday, June 6th, I attended my last Spoleto party. Sugar Bakeshop was the place, and delicious sweet confections are what everyone ate. This quaint little bakery on 59 ½ Cannon Street was packed with Spoleto SCENE members in honor of the playful and entertaining Carolina Chocolate Drops performance.

Heading to the Cistern for the concert, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had heard that the trio played the fiddle, banjo, jug (yikes!) and drum. It was an absolutely beautiful night to be outdoors (no bugs). They started with a couple of old, folk tunes, and I thought, Oh boy, here we go. But my perception quickly changed. The Chocolate Drops were very entertaining and funny. They interacted with the crowd giving us a history lesson on Carolina Piedmont bluegrass and invited us to dance and sing along. A few people in the crowd jokingly threw out song requests (“Free Bird”). Then, they unexpectedly played a rendition of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘em Up Style.” Who knew they could rock a little hip hop?

Everyone was definitely buzzing after the listening to the throwback sounds of “The Drops”, and the final Spoleto SCENE party was underway. The bakery was completely packed, almost too packed. Everyone had pretty much staked out their spot in front of their favorite homemade desserts and did not move. A few people gave me the evil eye as I reached over them to grab a cupcake, but nothing comes between me and chocolate. The desserts were outstanding. The word of the night was ummmm. How many times did I hear that sound as people were devouring chocolate brownies, cupcakes, and cookies. To wash it all down, we were given (teased with) a half glass of the most delicious chocolatinis I have ever tasted. Seriously. This drink was cold, smooth, and just plain ummmm. (There’s that word again.)

I spotted my friend Lee Deas who was making her way around the bakery double-fisting chocolate-covered cupcakes. We immediately starting laughing because she knew I was about to make fun of her. Two cupcakes. Eat one and move on. As we discussed the performance and toasted to the end of the Spoleto season, we both were disgusted with how much chocolate we had eaten.

Ok, so who was responsible for this decadent indulgence? No other than New York transplants Bill Bowick and David Bouffard. Bill is the baker, and David an architect. Both have design backgrounds, so I am sure the concept for Sugar came with ease. The oversized sugar bags on top of stainless-steel counters were perfect accessories, along with the glass-domed cake plates like you would see in your grandma’s kitchen. David thought hosting this party was a great way to introduce their bakery to a new and different demographic. I think they hit the jackpot with this crowd. Before I left, I put a few cupcakes in my purse for the ride home and a little midnight snack. I felt like the little old lady who stuffs bread rolls in her purse, but I could not get help myself. This was the perfectly sweet ending to la dolce vita of Spoleto events.

March 5, 2008
Best New Bakery

If you're anything like us, you don't just have a sweet tooth you have an entire set of sweet teeth. Fortunately, there's a new baker on the block. In November, the aptly named Sugar opened on Cannon Street, just around the corner from Five Loaves (how perfect!). Bill Bowick and partner David Bouffard, prodigal sons of Charleston, have returned to bring us delicious, homemade southern specialties like red velvet cupcakes (iced to order) and perfectly sweet, surprisingly salty sugar cookies, with prices that put others to shame. Locally-roasted coffee is available to help wash it all down. Housed in the renovated Old Whaley's Vegetable Stand, Sugar's digs are enough to inspire a trip; the place is so hip and modern you'll feel cooler just walking by. There is one downside. The gregarious owner/baker Bill almost always works the counter; anonymity cannot be guaranteed for the frequent visits you will no doubt crave.

March 2008
Sugar, Sugar

A new little bakery on Cannon Street quietly opened back in November and has begun satisfying in-the-know sweet tooths. A couple dozen brownies were ordered for a co-worker's fifth anniversary celebration a few weeks back, and those cute little confections were gobbled up in minutes by a moaning, groaning City Paper staff. Sugar owners Bill Bowick and partner David Bouffard moved down from New York City a couple years ago and recently found the perfect location, between Hominy Grill and Five Loaves Cafe on Cannon Street. They renovated the space — easy for them since they're both architects — and saved the old Whaley's Vegetable Stand, transforming it into the cutest little bakery you've ever seen. Bill, the baker of the two, says his specialties are cookies, cupcakes, and tarts and is most excited about his Lady Baltimore cupcake, an old-fashioned treat that Charlestonians should be familiar with since it originated here a couple centuries ago. Stop by and get yourself a glazed sugar cookie next time you're in the neighborhood. They're open Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Feel free to bring the pup — they've got dog biscuits too. —Stephanie Barna

March 2008
The Sweet Story Behind Sugar Bakeshop

Whether you’re walking the busy streets of downtown Charleston or just out for a ride, I’m sure you’ve noticed the growth of new businesses both small and large opening their doors. Having been part of this new business growth in 2006, we always have our eyes out for other new finds. We were lucky to move across the street from a new treat, Sugar Bakeshop, located on Cannon Street downtown just off the beaten path. If you haven’t discovered this new sweet spot, it’s time to check them out! The brains and creativity behind the new creation are Bill Bowick and David Bouffard who have successfully transplanted themselves to Charleston from New York City. And better yet, they came bearing treats to share for all. As a fellow transplant and small business owner, I was intrigued to learn more about these two and the transformation from their life as successful architects in New York City to the slower pace of life in Charleston running the town’s “Best New Bakery” (as voted by the Charleston City Paper.) I hope you find the interview with Bill as interesting as I did:

Q: Where are you from originally?
A: I grew up mostly in Chattanooga, TN. I eventually attended the University of Tennesee where I studied architecture. David grew up in Vermont and Washington.

Q: What brought both of you to New York?
A: Everything New York has to offer, especially the architecture of course.

Q: What type of architecture did you work on while in New York?
A: I worked mostly on high end residential which can be seen at TsAO & McKOWN, but would also design anything from furniture to flat ware. David worked for the company, HOK doing hospital design.

Q: What brought you guys to Charleston?
A: New York is great, but there is so much to offer. Charleston is a smaller city where we thought we could have more of an impact. Not to mention the housing is slightly more affordable than New York City!

Q: What made you want to open a small business in Charleston?
A: I have always loved baking and wasn’t able to find a place to get fresh homemade treats, so I thought I would create that place for myself and others. David has also had the opportunity to work with a local architecture firm liollio continuing with his talents in hospital design.

Q: How did you get into baking?
A: I loved the creative side of architecture and I feel like baking offers a different way of expressing a creative outlet. It also reminds me of days as a child sitting in the kitchen in Tenesee listening to my mother and grandmother talk as they baked.

Q: Where do you get your recipes?
A: My mother and grandmother of course! Being modernist, we also try to stick to the simpler side of baking by using simple, old fashioned recipes like the 1,2,3,4 cake recipe.

Q: What has been your best seller so far?
A: The chocolate chip cookie has to be number one, but the oatmeal raisin and ginger cookies come in as a close second. The Lady Baltimore is our Thursday special which seems to be quite popular as well.

Q: What was the inspiration for the bakery as a whole?
A: As a child, I remember shopping with my mother and my grandmother in small southern boutiques. They had something that just enveloped you. I took that feeling and combined it with David and my admiration for simplicity. Our shop pays homage to the days of old while creating a modern and inviting space at the same time. With the use of white, blues, and greens as the main colors, it allowed us to use the baked goods as our main source of decoration.

Q: What has been the best thing about opening a business in Charleston?
A: The social aspect! Coming from New York, you think you’ve seen it all, but Charleston has so many creative and interesting people. We have really enjoyed everyone we have met so far.

Q: Anything else you want to share?
A: Yea, when do I get to interview you? ( I guess that is the social aspect he was just talking about.)
March 2008
Local pastry chefs satisfy a sweet tooth with sinfully good classics
Let Them Eat Cake

When talking about Southern roots, there's nothing as "old Charleston" as the Lady Baltimore. Inspired by the early 1900s' fictional creation of romance novelist Owen Wister, the ladies of Charleston's Lady Baltimore Tea Room developed this cake from a Queen Cake recipe. "It is romantic, but not too frou-frou," say Sugar's Bill Bowick. "It is unique, yet old-fashioned with its simple flavors." Sugar has been years in the making, and Bowick has been developing his Lady Baltimore recipe for just as long. Egg whites, almond, vanilla, and simple syrup make an airy, fluffy cupcake version of this classic. Bowick removes the cupcake tops, adds a dried fruit mixture, and tops it all with a seven minute frosting. The end result is the perfect juxtaposition of light and decadent. With its small size and fruit filling, breaking a New Year's resolution with this little bite of Charleston history is easy. – CYNTHIA GROSECLOSE