Kasie Coleman, owner of the newly opened Sugar Belle Bakery on Plank Road hands me a freshly made praline and says, “Try it and then try to tell me it isn’t the best praline you ever tasted.” I am skeptical until I take my first bite and have no choice to agree that it surpasses the pralines of bake sales and Christmases past. It possesses a creamer more complex quality, but this could be said about everything Coleman creates at Sugar Belle.
Coleman started baking cakes at the tender age of 4. Her grandmother, Mary J. Davenport has served has her lifelong mentor and inspiration for her newly opened bakery. Mary’s picture even hangs near the entrance along with one of her handwritten recipes. Since opening on April 20th, Coleman has been selling out of her signature cupcakes, whoopie pies and Bundt cakes almost every day. Some days she even debates whether or not she should close a little bit early due to lack of stock. Coleman does not bake late in the day because she believes nothing should sit on the shelf overnight. Everything is baked fresh daily from scratch. “Sugar Belle would never use a mix," Coleman says. "I am in the back room sifting flour and cracking eggs every morning.”
The bakery always keeps staples like their butter and cream cheese pound cakes, red velvet cupcakes and pralines, but Coleman also features six different specialty cupcakes each week from her collection of more than 100 different recipes. Currently the most popular group is her Booze Collection. I had the pleasure of eating a White Russian cupcake that managed to capture the spirit of one of my favorite cocktails without being overpowering or too sweet. The only downside to this rotating menu is that folks fall in love with a cupcake and the next week it isn’t on the shelf. Coleman does take special orders if patrons can’t stand to wait until a favorite makes it back into the display case. “It’s fun," she says. "People come every week just to see what is new.”
Coleman didn’t always wear an apron to work. She is a former pharmaceutical sales representative who turned to baking as a form of therapy during a life-changing bout with retroperitoneal cancer which affects the entire abdominal cavity. "While I was recovering, I would bake seven or eight cakes a day for people," she says. "The idea for the bakery and all the recipes were all in my head.” Coleman has been in remission for about a year now and enjoying a rebirth in the form of a cancer-free life and a thriving new business. She still continues the fight against cancer. She is the Louisiana coordinator for the Million Cancer Survivor March and will be leading the march up the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building on June 1, 2014 for the anti-cancer rally.
5151 Plank Road, in Delmont Village Shopping Center. (225) 355-8080 or mysugarbelle.com.