For Kim Hoelter, the baking she does at Bella Bakery is both professional and personal.

Hoelter has spent the past several months getting her new bakery and restaurant off the ground after it opened in downtown Victoria in March.

On top of all that, she was preparing for her daughter’s wedding in June, not just as mother of the bride but also as baker of the wedding cake.

“It’s been pretty busy,” Hoelter said, laughing.

For her daughter’s wedding, Hoelter and some of the staff at Bella Bakery pitched in to make the cake, which

was a champagne cake with raspberry filling, Hoelter said.

Hoelter, who describes herself as an “accidental baker,” serves a wide array of baked goods, plus coffee, lunch and other light bites. Hoelter created the menu herself and said everything is baked fresh each morning. She began baking professionally on the side of her day job as a Realtor and previously was the pastry chef at the PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar and The Sendera.

Her work as a baker and chef has always been influenced by family and friends, who helped her to open Bella Bakery and have inspired menu choices. The store’s signature meal is the egg tartine, Hoelter said, which is an open-faced sandwich that Hoelter frequently made for her daughter before she opened Bella Bakery.

“It’s been pretty smooth sailing,” Hoelter said about the bakery’s first several months of business. “We’re still trying to figure things out.”

Figuring things out includes getting to know, and bake for, the bakery’s regular customers. Hoelter said Bella’s staff frequently takes suggestions from the loyal customers. The bakery has started making English scones specifically for a loyal customer and his wife, who is originally from England.

Because Bella Bakery takes requests and caters to its regular customers’ favorites, the menu is always changing.

“I’ll ask their suggestions. We have some regulars who come in all the time and ask them if there’s something in particular that they want,” Hoelter said. “They’ll ask for certain cookies or certain pies, and we’re happy to do that for them.”

Ciara McCarthy covers local government for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can reach her at cmccarthy@vicad.com or at 580-6597 or on Twitter at @mccarthy_ciara.

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Health Reporter

Ciara McCarthy covers public health for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. She reports on insurance, the cost of health care, local hospitals, and more. Questions, tips, or ideas? Contact: cmccarthy@vicad.com or call 361-580-6597.

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