.Sugar Bakery

Self-taught sweet success

Three years ago, Ela Crawford was able to open Sugar Bakery in the Capitola Mall after she applied her unrelenting work ethic to learning the art of baking. She immigrated from Ukraine in 2014 with the goal to buy a property here for her family back home, who had lost their house because of war.

She worked long hours at several restaurants, saved her money, and eventually was able to purchase an apartment for her family. Then her wedding ceremony got canceled by the venue at the last minute in 2020, so she and her husband decided to put on their own instead.

This snafu was a blessing in disguise, as it inspired her to learn to bake so that she could help to cater other people’s special events.

In addition to her signature macarons in flavors like pistachio raspberry and mango passion fruit, they also offer a traditional Eastern European honey cake, cupcakes, cheesecakes, cake pops and celebration cakes.

Hours are Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-5pm (until 6pm on Fri/Sat, closed Mondays).

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Describe your immigration journey?

ELA CRAWFORD: At first it was very hard and simply scary to think of going to America, especially because it was just me and my twin sister at age 20. And we didn’t know English and left our entire family. Even though we were scared, we saw so many opportunities in America. It’s a great country to grow and we never said “no” to any job, and often worked 12-14 hours a day. Hard work will always lead to results, every job taught me something and now I have my own successful bakery.

Tell me more about the Sugar Bakery macarons?

EC: When I first was learning to bake, I Googled “hardest things to bake” and macarons were at the top of the list. So, I thought that if I could perfect them, I could bake anything. I baked a batch or two a day for three months and almost 90% didn’t turn out well. I would cry on the floor, but then wake up the next day and do it again. And one day, they just worked, and I knew that I had perfected my recipe. Now, macarons are the most popular item on our menu. They are perfect for large gatherings because they not only taste really good, but also display well, look expensive and are easy to grab and eat.

1855 41st Avenue Suite R10, Capitola, 831-222-0022; sugarbakeryco.com

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