Specialty bakeries bring new tastes to BR

There is always room for dessert. And apparently, new bakeries.

Three new specialty bakeries that recently opened in Baton Rouge offer specialty items: an alcohol-infused cupcake, a vegan or gluten-free sweet treat, and a savory Czech pastry — by way of Texas.

The Kolache Kitchen

4245 Nicholson Drive

(225) 757-6666

When he first came to LSU, Will Edwards, a Houston native, couldn’t find his favorite Texas pastry.

A Czech creation found at bakeries across the Lone Star State, the kolache — a sweet or savory treat of sweet bread traditionally filled with sausage or fruit — had not yet made its way across the Sabine River.

When Edwards, 25, graduated in 2011, he decided to open his own bakery. The Kolache Kitchen, located less than a mile from campus, caters to students looking for a handy, convenient breakfast on the way to class.

Edwards’ kolaches have the semisweet, yeasty taste of traditional Texas kolaches, a recipe the businessman learned from the Old Town Kolache bakery near his high school in Houston.

“I thought his kolaches were the best,” Edwards said. “I had them all the time, and I had gone there a lot growing up.”

After graduating from LSU, Edwards apprenticed for three months at Old Towne Kolache, working for the owner with the agreement Edwards would use his recipes.

For Baton Rouge customers, the spicy sausage kolache tops all in popularity, including the seasonal fruit varieties, Edwards said.

In August, Edwards plans to start taking his mobile food truck named The Rolling Pin downtown on weekday mornings to catch office workers and to college bars Thursday through Saturday nights for the late-night crowd.

Room for Dessert

9618 Jefferson Highway

(225) 293-9886, RoomForDessertBR.com

In Baton Rouge, Reanna Townsend was known for her hurdling and high jumping titles.

Now the former collegiate track star and current pastry chef hopes her name gets attached to her gluten-free Blondie Brownies and vegan chocolate Oops Bars.

In April, Reanna Townsend, 27, and her mother, Denise Townsend, 57, opened Room for Dessert, a specialty bakery that focuses on organic desserts and vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free treats.

“It’s the cleanness of the product people respect. They say it tastes different. It’s not too sweet, it’s not too heavy,” Denise Townsend said.

Opening her own bakery had been a dream for her daughter since she was in seventh grade, Denise Townsend said.

After attending the University of South Carolina on a track scholarship, Reanna Townsend attended culinary school in Florida, then honed her pastry creation skills at area resorts before returning home. She worked for two years in a Baton Rouge bakery before she and her mother decided to open their own bakery.

“I’m not surprised there is a market,” said Denise Townsend, adding she believes there is room for several organic bakeries in the city. “I’m surprised how big it is. The family we have, the customers we have, we have them on a regular basis.”

Room for Dessert focuses on individual portions in the bakery. The display case is filled with cupcakes, brownies, bars and individual slices of cakes. Full-size cakes are available by special order.

Sugarbelle

5151 Plank Road, Suite 42

(225) 355-8080, MySugarBelle.com

Three years ago, while fighting cancer with chemotherapy and two difficult surgeries, Kasie Coleman, 37, decided to live differently and take a chance.

She always loved baking, but during chemo, with little else to occupy her, she began tinkering with new cake recipes based on candy bars or unique flavors she tasted.

She made so many her family couldn’t finish them. Her recipe list grew to more than 180 creations. So after leaving her pharmaceutical sales job, Coleman opened her bakery, Sugarbelle, which makes six different batches of cupcakes fresh from scratch each morning — the “old school way,” she said — in addition to bundt cakes and creamy pralines.

“After you go through all that, you see things differently and live differently,” she said.

One of the six cupcakes each day is an alcohol-infused cake. One week it could be a rum cake with rum buttercream icing, a margarita cake with tequila in the icing or a whiskey-flavored icing.

She opened Sugarbelle in an area of town — Plank Road — across town from her home that had little competition in the way of bakeries.

“If I wasn’t going to be different, I wasn’t going to do it,” Coleman said.