Metro Weekly

Savor: Bayou Bakery serves Mardi Gras in a Box

David Guas' gourmet BB King Cake is the centerpiece of a Mardi Gras-themed offering

Bayou Bakery
Bayou Bakery

What are your plans for Mardi Gras? Granted, the holiday in question is not at all appropriate during the current pandemic, certainly not in the way it’s customarily celebrated in New Orleans — a bead-seeking bacchanal full of parades, parties, and propositions to let the good times roll, on and on, and then some. In 2021, however, “Mardi Gras in New Orleans has been cancelled,” as one recent headline put it.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and eat it, too — if it’s a King Cake you crave, that is. For years now, David Guas, the Louisiana native and chef/proprietor of Arlington’s Bayou Bakery, has offered his gourmet baker’s take on the famous, mass-produced King Cake, a ring-shaped pastry that traditionally tastes like a cross between coffee cake and a cinnamon roll, plus cream cheese frosting and usually a fruit filling — and always including a tiny plastic baby baked somewhere inside promising good luck for whoever finds it.

A staple pastry enjoyed throughout Carnival in the Big Easy, King Cake gets a tasteful makeover in the hands of Guas, who bakes a Danish-style cake with his signature “Creole Cream Cheese Filling,” then covers it in fluffy white icing with generous dustings of colored sugar. A James Beard Award finalist for DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style, Guas’ twist has earned plaudits from top media outlets including The Washington Post, which crowned it “One of the Top 5 King Cakes in the Country.”

This year, the “BB King Cake” — which provides 14 to 16 servings and is priced at $39.95 — comes with a DIY decorating kit featuring packets of white icing as well as packets of purple, green, and gold-colored sugar to allow customers to top their cake however they choose.

The King Cake is also the centerpiece of a new “Mardi Gras in a Box” package from Bayou, priced at $135 and intended for up to eight people — each ready to assume a different character in the included Mardi Gras Murder Mystery Dinner Party Game, and each able to don a different masquerade mask if they so desire. Everyone can share in the bounty of 24 tri-colored beads and doubloons, fight over the one boa, and toast it all with a round of Hurricane cocktails, compliments of a bottle of the famous Pat O’Brien’s Liquid Hurricane Mix plus the addition of your spirit of choice.

All cakes, available until Feb. 16, are made to order and require 48 hours advance purchase whether for delivery or in-store pickup. Bayou Bakery is located at 1515 N. Courthouse Rd., in Arlington. Call 703-243-2410 or visit www.bayoubakeryva.com.

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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