Wednesday, June 23, 2010
By Nathan Stubbs
Two weeks, ago, Jennifer Melancon and her husband Dustin were working in the kitchen of their new bakery when they heard the news that legendary actor-director and all-around eccentric rebel Dennis Hopper had passed away at the age of 74. The conversation turned to Blue Velvet, the only Hopper movie Melancon remembers seeing, and how she had once made a blue velvet cake for an old roommate of hers that had a bit of an obsession with the color. Then they had a light-bulb moment: Dennis Hopper blue velvet cupcakes. By the next day, Jennifer re-created her dyed-blue cake mix and Dustin downloaded pictures of Dennis Hopper from the movie Blue Velvet, which then went onto the sugar printer and got stamped onto Fondant moldable icing. The result: an entirely edible, blue velvet cupcake crowned with eye-popping images of Hopper’s psychotic character from the 1986 cult classic.
“It kind of started as a joke,” Jennifer says. “And just went from there.” The joke turned into a hot seller, and for a week the Melancons could hardly keep their Dennis Hopper tribute cakes in stock. Being spontaneous, creative and admittedly a little zany is helping the couple carve out a niche with their newly opened bakery, Sophie P. Cakes, on Johnston Street. Sophie P. stands for “sophisticated-to-punk” and, the Melancons say, reflects the range of custom cakes the store specializes in and a little bit of the owners themselves.
“We kind of embody sophisticated punks,” Jennifer says. “When we go out to eat, we know what utensils to use and we tip well, but we also like to have our own style.” That style is evidenced by their matching tattoos: a band of black ink rather than gold on their ring fingers, and a flamboyant cupcake and crossbones badge on their upper arms. Inside the Sophie P. display case, you’ll find cupcakes like the “atomic chocolate,” spiked with spicy cinnamon and ancho chili powder and “the Pink Floyd,” swirled peppermint cake with a bourbon buttercream frosting. The store experiments with several alcohol flavorings, which they stress cannot get you drunk, like delicious Guiness brownies and another cult movie-inspired concoction, a Kahlua-infused white cake with white Russian cream named “The Dude” after the signature character in The Big Lebowski.
In contrast to her punk rock sensibilities, Jennifer’s pastry chef background is very traditional, training under such pros as 1996 Culinary Olympic Team Pastry Chef Christian Clayton, where she perfected multi-tiered cake building and icing elegant swags and bows. For the past year and a half, she worked out of a small shop on Bank Street doing custom orders until the opportunity was finally right to open her own storefront last month.
“If you want a white cake with ribbons and lemon filling, then it’s going to be the best you’ve had,” Jennifer boasts. “However, if you want flames and skulls or stuff like that, we can do that, too.” Custom cake prices start at $75 and must be ordered two weeks ahead to allow time for the design process.
“The response we’ve been getting from people,” Jennifer adds, “is, ‘We want something different. We’re not traditional.’ Events now are geared more toward people’s personalities and we understand that, so we try to make everything unique.”
Sophie P. Cakes is located at 3209 Johnston St. and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Call 456-5582 for more information.
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.