King Cake Hot Spots: Bywater Bakery’s Chantilly king cake pays homage to local favorite

The local favorite is re-imagined with a twist of Carnival magic, dubbed the Chantilly king cake.

Fans of the very popular Whole Foods’ Berry Chantilly Cake can thank New Orleans baker Chaya Conrad for the iconic creation. Now at Bywater Bakery, Conrad pays homage to the local favorite with a twist of Carnival magic, dubbed the Chantilly king cake.

The Chantilly king cake takes the berry-filled, mascarpone whipped cream right from the original and stuffs it inside of a brioche king cake.

Bywater Bakery’s Chantilly king cake pays homage to the original Chantilly. Photo courtesy: Bywater Bakery

Conrad developed her original Berry Chantilly Cake recipe for the Arabella Station Whole Foods Market on Magazine Street more than a decade ago.

“It’s something that people became so familiar with. To have that kind of impact on the city, I’m very proud of that,” Conrad said.

The baker credits “all the magical elements” for the cake’s huge success, including the cool and refreshing whipped cream that’s perfect for the humid New Orleans climate.

Chaya Conrad created the Berry Chantilly Cake. Photo courtesy: Bywater Bakery

The Berry Chantilly Cake already became “everybody’s favorite birthday cake in the city” by the time Conrad left Whole Foods to become bakery director at Rouses Markets.

Oh yeah, what about that Berry Gentilly Lace Cake from Rouses? Here’s the simple answer: You can thank Conrad for creating that one, too.

The Rouses twist uses almond cake instead of yellow cake as a variation.

“While working for Whole Foods, we trademarked the name Chantilly, and I wanted to respect that when I left and went to Rouses,” Conrad said.

Conrad said one of her first challenges when opening Bywater Bakery in 2017 was landing on the perfect formula for her signature king cake. She wanted to move away from the traditional cinnamon king cake that was “very synonymous with a grocery store.”

“I came from grocery stores, and I wanted something a little different,” Conrad said.

Her solution was a brioche cake with an “ooey gooey butter smear.” The king cake’s texture influenced by the brioche-style popularized by McKenzie’s but more elevated and modern for today’s taste buds.

Bywater Bakery features nine varieties of sweet king cakes.

“We put sprinkles in it because why should the Carnival only be on top?” Conrad said.

All the scratch-made fillings for king cakes are prepared in small batches daily. Conrad also opts for a light drizzle of royal frosting instead of a heavy helping, but the Mardi Gras-colored sugar stays put.

Aside from the Chantilly king cake, the bakery also features eight other flavors including traditional, bouille, cinnamon apple, cheesecake, strawberry, strawberry cheesecake, sweet potato and pecan praline.

For more information about Bywater Bakery, visit the website.