If you want to make your caramel and chocolate dreams come true, you need an epicurean bite of Paula Sabores Argentinos’ marquise—dense brownie cake, smooth dulce de leche, wispy Italian meringue and rich melted chocolate.
Born and raised in Argentina, owner and now Woodbury resident Paula Gutierrez spent countless hours baking with her grandmother Blanca Esther Anderle. “I lived in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, and my grandma lived in the city,” Gutierrez says. “I remember we had a long bus trip to get to her house, and we spent the whole day there. I grew up helping her bake delicious pastries for local hotels, and this is how my passion for baking began.”
A young Paula Gutierrez with her grandmother Balnca Esther Adnerle.
Gutierrez became a kindergarten teacher in Argentina, and, once she had daughters Valentina and Rocio, she stopped teaching to stay home with them. Her love of baking prompted her to make and decorate their birthday cakes. Classmates’ mothers took notice of her masterful work and asked Gutierrez to make cakes for their children. “It’s fun. To make a great cake is like an art because every cake is different, and I love it,” she says.
A few years later, Gutierrez and her husband, Diego, moved their family to Panama for his job. They experienced challenges and many different cultures and welcomed a fluffy Maltese dog, Bianca, to the family.
In 2016, a new world was waiting for the Gutierrez family in the United States, so they moved to Minnesota. Determined to improve her English, she studied at the Woodbury’s R.H. Stafford Library for three years. They also welcomed Nova, a friend for Bianca, from the Animal Humane Society.
Settled in, homesick for the sweet flavors of Argentina and not a big fan of American buttercream in countless baked goods, her small group of Argentinian friends would say to her, “You need to cook alfajores,” a traditional treat they eat every day. “I started with just alfajores, and then I started thinking I need to share more flavors and fillings common in Argentina,” she says. “I realized I wanted to keep my culture alive, especially for my family.”
As more people showed interest in what she had to offer, Gutierrez set up a licensed cottage bakery in her home kitchen. Her sister, Romina, helped her name the bakery—Paula Sabores Argentinos, meaning Argentinian flavors. “When I moved here, I wanted to keep my culture alive, especially for my family, and that’s why I started cooking for my family and our friends here,” she says.
Gutierrez says she enjoys baking for Latin people who already have an affection for her traditional treats, but now she is challenging herself to bring authentic Argentinian baked goods to Minnesota. “I want to introduce my country’s flavors here, and Paula Sabores Argentinos was born here,” she says.
Rogel: 10 layers of salty dough filled with dulce de leche, covered in Italian meringue
Marquise: Brownie cake, dulce de leche, Italian meringue and melted chocolate (gluten-free available)
Dark Chocolate: Two chocolate cookies with orange zest, dulce de leche, covered with dark or white chocolate
Gluten-Free Alfajores: Two soft gluten-free cookies with orange zest filled with dulce de leche
Pastafrola: Sweet, soft and crispy dough filled with quince or dulce de leche
Corn Starch: Two cornstarch cookies filled with dulce de leche and shredded coconut
Pastries and Dulce de Leche
With her baking roots in Buenos Aires, many of Gutierrez’s sweets are based on handed-down family recipes and food memories with her grandmother. She sources quince (a tropical fruit) and dulce de leche from Argentina. She doesn’t use a lot of spices; her go-to aromatics are vanilla and citrus zest.
Many Paula Sabores Argentinos confections incorporate dulce de leche (sweet milk), which has a caramelized, butterscotch-like flavor and velvety smooth spreading consistency. It is to Argentinian bakers as butter and cream are to American bakers.
“Dulce de leche is very traditional for us. It’s like peanut butter is here,” she says. “We eat dulce de leche all day with everything. We put it on toast, breads, ice cream, with bananas and apples … everything.”
Let’s go back to that Marquise cake with a layer of dulce de leche. Not only is it a customer-favorite, but it is also Gutierrez’s favorite.
“We eat of lot of cakes. We love sweets in Argentina. We love food in Argentina,” she says. “We gather on the weekends with friends and family, and we eat a lot. Every moment is great for eating something with friends and family.”
Rogel is Diego’s favorite cake—10 layers of crunchy, salty dough filled with generous layers of dulce de leche and crowned with Italian meringue.
For special occasions, Gutierrez makes custom, artfully-decorated lettered and numbered cakes made of large vanilla cookies and layers of fillings.
Her specialty is what started it all: alfajores, a sweet filling sandwiched between two cookies. (Tip: It freezes well, so stock up.) Paula Sabores Argentinos also offers masitas (cookies filled with dulce de leche or fruit preserves), cones, pastafrola (tart or pie), cake and berry tarts.
Family and customers are her cheerleaders. “My clients are part of my inspiration and support because every time they send a message or tell me what they like about the products and the decoration, it makes me want to continue sharing the Argentinian flavors here,” she says. “Without them, none of this is possible.”
Because Paula Sabores Argentinos is in her home, Gutierrez participates in the summer and winter Stillwater Farmers Market and the Courthouse Holiday Bazaar. She enjoys visiting with people who share their experiences from Argentina and introducing people to her bakery. “I cook with so much love and dedication, and I feel good when I see people enjoy my products,” she says.
Using a cherished spoon from her grandmother’s kitchen, she’s keeping that family legacy alive. “I’m so happy people trust me to share my Argentina culture here,” Gutierrez says.
What do you like most?
Tamara Demarco, Edina: Her authenticity of Argentine flavors. I get different alfajores and conitos and keep them in the freezer.
Jane Lagos, St. Paul: I have several South American contacts living in Woodbury, and for years they have raved about Paula Sabores Argentinos. I ordered a “25” cake for our wedding anniversary, and it was a work of art.
Mai Ngia Xiong, St. Paul: Paula brings back my childhood memories with authentic Argentine flavors. Growing up in Argentina, we had access to facturas (fine pastries) and alfajores in almost every corner of the city ...
Why is it special to you?
TD: Her pastries remind me of my childhood.
JL: If you want to make an impression, Paula’s baked goods are not only uniquely delectable treats, but they are also works of art.
MX: It’s truly baked with love.
What keeps you coming back for more?
TD: Flavors are consistent and delicious.
JL: I use Paula’s Sabores Argentinos for all my special events because of the “oohs and aahs” her desserts elicit ...
MX: Her passion for kneading and baking shows in the taste and quality, and her presentation is unbeatable.
Paula Sabores Argentinos