Bywater Bakery opened just a year ago, but it has already made a name for itself as one of the best places to get king cakes in New Orleans. That fact should come as no surprise since owner Chaya Conrad was previously the bakery director for Rouse’s Supermarkets, where she oversaw the production of hundreds of thousands of king cakes each year. Before working at Rouse’s, Chaya worked for Whole Foods, where she created the store’s popular Chantilly Cake.
When it was time to develop her king cake for Bywater Bakery, Chaya knew that she wanted to use a brioche dough, but she decided that she wanted to use an “ooey gooey butter smear” in place of a traditional cinnamon filling.
“I wanted to do something to add a little pizzazz and give it a mouthfeel and a flavor profile that would hold up to modern king cakes, but still nodded back to the more traditional brioche style,” Chaya says. “[The ooey gooey butter smear] gave it the moisture level and the mouthfeel that you associate with a king cake in modern days and a really delicious taste but not overwhelming cinnamon flavor.”
Last year, Bywater Bakery offered eight versions with scratch-made fillings, such as Creole cream cheese, Cajun bouille custard, and berry Chantilly. For the 2018 Carnival season, the bakery plans to introduce a rotating flavor of the week, and it will continue to offer curbside pickup on Fridays.