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.
Louisiana is drowning, quickly.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Oscar de la Renta dies; Pistorius sentenced; World Series begins and more national and international news for Tuesday, October 21, 2014.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
Three bedroom in Lawtell or two bedroom in Rayne
Fall's new darling
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
An investment group led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets will buy the Louisiana power company Cleco for $3.4 billion.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
"I feel it is appropriate to speak up when there are topics that are being bandied about with little or no factual data to back them."
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Two bedroom cottage in Lafayette or three bedroom traditional in Erath
Gulf Brew ready threads
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.
Coming off the high of a fourth quarter comeback against Tampa Bay and a helpful bye week, linebacker Junior Galette sees a real turnaround coming for New Orleans' struggling defense.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party's most popular surrogate this fall, is heading to Louisiana early next week for a campaign rally with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Time and again you hear people say DA Mike Harson is unbeatable because he's doled out political favors over the past 20 years. But a new lawsuit could end that speculation.
We welcome nominations from readers and leaders throughout the business community in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Ebola is kind of terrifying if you watch too much Fox News and CNN. Especially Fox, which makes everything look terrifying because, well, War on Christmas and Obama and all.
Local developer’s Lake Charles Gardens LLC purchases buildings and leases; land still owned by Dugas family.
One bedroom townhouse or two bedroom townhouse in Lafayette