Move over Jell-O shots. Take a seat cherry bombs. There’s a new way to consume alcohol in Baton Rouge with Laura’s L’oven, a bakery that makes alcohol-infused confections. Owned and operated by Laura Agra, 34, the business, which operates out of Agra’s home, creates a variety of flavored cupcakes that are livened up with various libations, ranging from Abita Strawberry to Bayou Satsuma Rum.
“It’s kind of a running joke with my friends,” Agra said. “They walk in and look at my bar area and, if they didn’t know me, and know what I use them for, they would think they would need to get me to an AA meeting.”
Agra named her business Laura’s L’oven because growing up she always felt that when you cook with love, it makes a better product. Originally from New Mexico, Agra’s venture into her alcoholic cupcakes began four years ago as treats for friends and family.
“I’ve baked my whole life, and then I was a bartender for a while, and I kind of combined my two knowledge bases,” Agra said. “I woke up one day and was like, ‘You know what would be really good? An alcoholic cupcake.’”
Knowing that the alcohol would bake out of the cupcakes, Agra decided to use the technique of inserting the liquor post-baking, to keep the alcohol content along with the flavors.
According to Agra, the three top-selling alcohol-filled cupcakes are the banana pudding (made with banana bread beer, banana rum and banana liquor), the Irish car bomb (made with Guinness, Bailey’s and Jameson), and the King Cake (made with King Cake ale, King Cake vodka and Rumchata).
Many of Agra’s cupcakes use local ingredients from farmer’s markets, and she plans what cupcakes to create by using seasonal flavors, such as peach for summer. There are 44 flavors on a regular rotating basis, and there are generally two flavors a week that Agra will post on Facebook and Instagram. She’ll make them in what she calls a six-pack which is half a dozen or a case, which is a full dozen. The cupcakes include about a full shot each.
“It balances out because you are actually eating something, so it doesn’t hit you as fast,” Agra said. “But it’ll catch up to you, and they’re sneaky because they’re sweet, but it doesn’t metabolize as quickly. You don’t eat one, and you’re loopy, you eat one, and you’re happy.”
Currently, Icehouse carries Laura’s L’oven cupcakes for individual sale. Agra doesn’t intend to create a brick and mortar storefront, preferring to operate her business from home under the Louisiana cottage food law. The law allows individuals to sell up to $20,000 worth of foods with low risk of leading to foodborne illness per year.
“I actually kind of like the way I have it now,” Agra said. “Because the way I sell them, they do have an alcohol content, so for me to have a store front, I would basically be running a bar. Which means only 21 and up would be allowed in. Makes it a little bit more difficult to have a wide enough client base, but if you continue to sell them to bars, then you are no longer responsible for ID-ing the customers, etc.”
Agra has made her cupcakes for a wide series of events, including weddings, birthdays, crawfish boils, baby showers, parade parties and even author events.
“I just did Naturally Naughty in Nola,” Agra said. “I brought eight dozen cupcakes to their after party and walked around the convention with them too.”
Agra loves feeding people and helping them enjoy something. Her hope is that as long as they’re happy, they might fall in love with a new flavor they never considered before.
“Something you wouldn’t have tried before in a different form,” Agra said. “Like, ‘Oh, I don’t like hazelnut, but I’m going to try the Nutella.’ You’ve opened yourself up to a new flavor, something you enjoy.”
Agra said she sells, on average, four to six dozen a week. Alcohol-infused cupcakes range from $5-$45 depending on how many you buy. Laura’s L’oven also makes and sells non-alcoholic gourmet cupcakes.
“I always love watching people try one for the first time,” Agra said. “It’s very fulfilling to me to see somebody’s face light up and really enjoy it.”
Photos by Kristine Stone.