Editor’s note: This article has been updated to add the name of the artist who painted the mural, Cora Barhorst.
Custom sweets, cake decorating parties, catered and prepared meals and affordable gifts—the new Eloise Market and Cakery is a multi-faceted concept dreamed up by 2021 LSU graduate M.J. Schmidt.
The shop opened in late November on Lee Drive in the location recently vacated by ThaiHey Thai Food, which moved to New Orleans.
Schmidt, who earned a BS in entrepreneurship from LSU’s Ourso College of Business in May, is testing her self-taught baking skills and passion for cooking in a new venture that checks a lot of boxes. The spot is part-bakery and catering, but it also sources girlie gifts and is available for kids’ cake- or pizza-decorating parties.
After making custom cakes and prepared meals out of her home for a year, Schmidt decided it was time to open a freestanding business.
“I was at the point where I was going to have to get a bigger kitchen,” says the 22-year-old Baton Rouge native. “I was up to three fridges in my house, and I needed more room, and more ovens.”
Custom cakes are the core of her operation.
Schmidt says she got into cake decorating in college because personalized cakes were the perfect gift for hard-to-buy-for friends.
At Eloise, her menu includes cakes in lots of different flavors decorated simply or festooned with extra piping, macarons, fresh flowers, sprinkles, or maybe leafed in gold. She also makes letter or number cakes. Opt for “16” for a sweet sixteen, for example, or choose the initials of the birthday boy or girl.
Schmidt’s homemade, oversized cookies come in several flavors, like Oreo, cosmic brownie, red velvet with cream cheese and her personal favorite, Fruity Pebbles, in which the cereal provides nostalgic crunch and flavor.
That sense of whimsy is seen in the shop’s other offerings: brightly hued homemade macarons, and coming soon, fresh pizza by the slice.
The catering menu includes lots of party dips, hors d’oeuvres, salads, sandwich trays and a whole section of items that can be bacon-wrapped. “I’ll bacon-wrap anything,” Schmidt says.
That means morsels of sirloin, shrimp, oysters, cheese stuffed jalapeños and chicken thighs. The catering menu also features brunch charcuterie boards and other breakfast and brunch items. While it’s not a restaurant, it’s possible to pick up rotating boxed salads and prepared foods from the cooler.
The vibe is lively, helped along by a main wall awash in spray-painted hearts in bright colors painted by Schmidt and local artist Cora Barhorst of Cora B. Gallery.
“I wanted to create a space that’s fun and happy and different from what you normally see in Baton Rouge,” she says. “That’s how I chose the bright color theme, and I have a lot of local artists on the walls, and for sale, because I love local art.”
Displays in the entrance hold small gifts like bath bombs, candles, funny cards, Baton Rouge-made Drip Jewelry and small “designer girls” prints by local artist Melissa Troxell. Barhorst’s portraits musicians and singers from her “Icons & Idols” series and a large Champagne painting on the walls are all for sale, as well.
On Dec. 11, Eloise will host a ticketed Christmas event for kids that includes pictures and a story with Santa, gingerbread cookie decorating and caroling.