King Cakes for Mardi Gras
Head to Bayou Bakery in Courthouse for this gloriously gaudy brioche delight.
January 6 is King’s Day, and that’s when Bayou Bakery chef-owner David Guas will kick off his annual King Cake production extravaganza that continues through Mardi Gras, which this year falls on Feb. 9. (By popular demand, Guas will also bring back his heart-shaped King Cake for Valentine’s Day.)
Similar to coffee cake, King Cake is a braided ring topped with a sugar glaze and glittery purple, green and gold sprinkles. Guas makes his brioche-style cake with Creole cream cheese—a farmers’ cheese made with skim and buttermilk—just as the natives do. “Some people find the [colors] tacky,” he says, “but we Louisianans think it’s pretty. Besides, all that extra sugar just adds to the rush!”
Traditionally, King Cakes come with a small, plastic baby (representing the baby Jesus) baked inside, a good-luck charm for whoever finds it. But lest you worry about choking hazards, Bayou Bakery puts the trinket baby on the outside, with tricolor beads and a card relaying the origin and history of the cake.
Guas expects to sell around 800 cakes this season, noting that there are two scenarios that could prompt him to break tradition where colors are concerned: If the Saints or LSU make it into the playoffs, he will offer cakes with black-and-gold icing and/or purple-and-gold icing, respectively. “It is a celebratory cake, after all,” he says. And for out-of-towners who need their King Cake fix, here’s another reason to celebrate: free shipping. Each cake serves 12-14 people and sells for $39.95. bayoubakerydc.com