Sugar and Spice Bakery in Plano isn’t just another stop along the way. It is an invitation to stay, slow down and savor the sweetness surrounding you, one satisfying bite at a time.
Vicki and Phil Northen have owned the bakery with their son Jeremy since February 22, 2011. Vicki bakes everything herself from scratch using real butter, real cream and whole fresh eggs. She also makes her own pie crust. “There are so many ways to shortcut these days,” Vicki says, but Sugar and Spice isn’t one of them. “There’s nothing else that works, but doing the work,” she adds, smiling.
Pies and cookies are the specialties at Sugar and Spice Bakery, but cakes, petits fours, cupcakes, cobblers, teacakes, homemade fudge and lunch items are also offered. Vicki doesn’t want to be confined to a menu and is always whipping up something new, different and enticing. “It’s kind of like fiddling with a chemistry kit,” she jokes.
Chess pie is popular among her customers and is also Vicki’s personal favorite. There is the tollhouse pie which she describes as a chocolate chip cookie in a crust. For the classic apple pie, Vicki and Phil personally peel granny smith apples with a machine for the freshest result. The Texas pecan pie, cherry pie, fresh strawberry pie and coconut crème pie are all known for their crust. It has a special texture to it that customers fall in love with. During the week leading into Thanksgiving, Vicki can have around 200 pie orders.
Vicki calls cookies her “happy food.” “There are very few people who can turn a cookie down,” she says, and it’s almost like every cookie has a personality of its own. During Thanksgiving, sand tarts – crescent cookies with pecans, rolled with powdered sugar – are very popular. During the holidays, a lot of decorated cookies, thumbprint cookies, and classics like chocolate chip, oatmeal fruit, peanut butter, snicker doodle and gingersnaps are popular. Vicki offers chocolate, vanilla, red velvet and fresh strawberry cakes with a 24-hour notice during the week, and a 48-hour notice on Saturday – their busiest cake day.
A bakery wasn’t always what Vicki had in mind. As a teenager, she aspired to become the first woman on the Supreme Court. She met Phil in her high school choir class. They fell in love and their career plans slowly coincided. “It’s what we knew best,” she says.
Bakeries run in the family, and Phil, Vicki and her family have owned several since 1979 in the San Antonio, Oklahoma and Dallas areas, including Mama’s Family Bakery and Café and Celebrity Café and Bakery. Both of Vicki’s grandmothers were good cooks, and her mother reveled in the art of baking. She’d come home from work and spend her evenings baking passionately, inspiring Vicki.
The first thing Vicki baked on her own was a cake when she was 10. The cake was to impress the boy who lived in the house behind her. She made a two-layer cake, tinting one layer green and one layer orange. “It actually tasted pretty good, but my mother said, ‘Let me give you a tip; don’t turn food green.”’ Vicki says, laughing.
“I just like to do my own thing,” she says. “Our customers after awhile understand that, and they’ll come in and want to know what’s new.” While Vicki bakes and Phil helps her in the kitchen, their son Jeremy works the front counter and stays tuned in to customer preferences. He makes it a point to learn his customers’ names and anticipates what they want before they do.
Phil, whose true passion was in building log cabins, is quite the handyman and handles maintenance of Sugar and Spice Bakery. Phil and Vicki designed the shop to feel like home or like having lunch in a friend’s kitchen. The walls of the bakery – a pleasant pink and red – are currently decorated for Thanksgiving. Smiling scarecrows, miniature pumpkins and wicker picnic baskets adorn an open wooden cabinet. The table is set with charmingly old-fashioned, inviting chairs.
Everything about the room brings positive vibes and a pleasing familiarity. “When a customer walks in, you don’t know what they’ve gone through. I want them to leave feeling this was the highlight of their day,” Vicki says.
Customers can place orders for Thanksgiving pies through Nov. 20.Sugar and Spice Bakery >