Cream of the Crop

Charlene Napoleon was only a teenager when her obsession with cream puffs began. The Trenton native learned to make the creamy, dreamy treats from a friend’s dad—a professional baker—then spent the next couple of decades perfecting the art while working as a hairdresser and a trainer for Redken Laboratories.

Twenty years ago, Napoleon, now 57, turned her penchant for puffs into a full-time gig, making them in a friend’s deli and selling them at South Jersey flea markets and festivals from a converted ice cream truck. It was an up-and-down experience: “When the weather was great, I did great. But when it was hot and humid, I sold nothing,” she says.

In 1995, Napoleon poured her life’s savings into opening her own shop, Napoleon’s Cremepuffery, in Lindenwold (856-783-7833). These days, the Voorhees resident sells about 1,500 cream puffs a day—and last year during the holidays she broke her own record, selling 46,000 in less than two days.

“There are no cream puffs like my cream puffs,” Napoleon says proudly. They are filled to order, and “98 percent of what goes in them is heavy cream and milk.” The other 2 percent? A secret ingredient that’s, well, secret. This fall, the first franchised Napoleon’s Cremepuffery is slated to open in Washington Township, Gloucester County. “The other Napoleon wanted to rule the world,” she says. “I only want a little part of it.”

Read more Jersey Celebrities, Jersey Living articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.

Required not shown
Required not shown