Wedding Cake FAQ

We love these engraved forks found on The Faded Nest!

You’re getting married!  There can be a considerable amount of stress when it comes to tying the knot, but the cake is one accessory that you can definitely have some fun with and it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) require too much of your time or attention.  We sat down with one of our most seasoned wedding cake specialists here at Haydel’s, Tonya H.  She’s been working with NOLA brides at Haydel’s for nearly 10 years and is often requested for wedding cake consultations for her enthusiasm and vast wedding cake knowledge.  Although she now heads up our HR department, she still makes time for bridal consultations.  Herself a bride-to-be, we popped open the bubbly and asked Tonya to share answers to some of our brides most frequently asked questions when it comes to the sweetest of plans for the big day.

How far in advance should I reserve my date?

Here at Haydel’s we typically recommend reserving your wedding date at least a 3 to 4 months in advance.  However, some dates can book up quickly, depending on time of year and popularity, so it is always best to get your date secured as soon as possible.  Your best bet is to put a call into the bakeries you’re interested in to find out if your date is available.

Do I need to make an appointment for a wedding cake consultation/tasting?

We offer wedding cake consultations Tuesday through Friday from 7:30am until 4:00pm as walk-ins only, no appointment necessary.  We do take appointments on Saturdays however, so if a Saturday is most convenient for you, give us a call to set up a time.  Don’t delay though, our Saturdays book up fast.  Every bakery varies and most include this type of information on their websites.

Do I need to specifically request a tasting or is that automatically included in the consultation? 

We prepare wedding cake samples everyday and always have them on hand. Therefore brides are welcome to walk – in anytime before 4pm on weekdays (excluding Monday) and receive a sample tray.  Even though we only do consultations on Saturdays by appointment we still try to carry a few extra samples so that if a bride happens to be in town and would simply like to pick up samples, we can usually accommodate her.

Lovely lace.

What should I bring to the appointment?

If there are any images of cakes the bride may be interested in, it is always best to have them available so that our sales specialist can assist them more accurately with design, pricing, etc.  We have an entire wedding cake album for them to view when they come in, if they do not have a specific idea in mind just yet.  Be sure to check out our wedding cake gallery on our website for some ideas too.  Color swatches from bridesmaids dresses or other samples are helpful as well.

Texture is trendy!

What’s trendy in wedding cakes right now?

There are so many unique designs out there, it’s always hard to say exactly what the trend is.  Textured trims and lace patterns have been very popular, which is quite interesting considering one is very simple and the other is ornate.

Have you given any thought to your own wedding cake yet?

I have given plenty of thought to my own wedding cake.  Working with brides and wedding cakes all day, it is hard not to!  I have decided to go with a simple, textured design.  Perhaps I’m just going with the trend right now or maybe I have seen so much that I decided to keep it simple.  I have a few ideas to add my own touch, but I’m keeping those a secret!

No matter your wedding style, have fun when it comes to designing your cake.  Don’t be afraid to let your personality show!  Most importantly, enjoy the planning process and find vendors that make your life easier…(of course a glass of champagne can also make your life easier).  Happy planning y’all! – M.T.


Piece of Cake: Season 1. And Only.

“Piece of Cake” :30 Promo

Call it dumb luck, coincidence, or maybe a little hustle, but for some reason, I live on the cusp of meaningless greatness, knocking on the door of insignificant notoriety.  Something big (at least in my little world) always seems to be within my grasp.  Out of the ordinary opportunity finds me.  So as I sat across from Ryan Haydel discussing the possibility of working for him, I wasn’t too surprised when he said, “About the time you would be starting, we’ll begin production on our new reality show.”  What luck!  I was at just the right place at the right moment, this time for a chance at local stardom and maybe, just maybe something more.

:30 Promo “Piece of Cake” Episode 7: Cake Battle

Pitched as a behind the scenes look at daily life in a third generation New Orleans family bakery business, much of the filming for the premier season of “Piece of Cake” took place during the summer of 2011. (Click on most of the photos in this post for a peak at various episodes).

:30 Episode 3: 610 Stompers

Now every family business has its colorful characters, but in our case, New Orleans itself quickly took the lead role.  The Big Easy consistently provides our staff with all sorts of unique real life challenges.  Navigating the pothole laden, bumpy delivery routes through the Quarter without a skilled driver at the wheel can take down an entire tier of a masterfully created wedding cake faster than you can say red beans and rice.  Without the proper precautions, our world famous humidity can cause icing and other sugary adornments to slip off a cake as quickly as a snoball melts in August.  Even the Superdome, home to our beloved Saints, was the center of our “World’s Largest King Cake” project in Episode 1, resulting in two Guinness World Records that still stand today.  Off season shenanigans provided plenty of delicious content to fill eight episodes. Oh, but the magic we could have made if we would have been shooting during carnival time.  We may have had to bump up to an hour long show to accommodate all the drama and Mardi Gras mayhem!

Episode 1: World’s Largest King Cake

My handful of brief appearances (Ryan claims they were saving me for season 2) almost always happened on accident when I inadvertently wandered into a scene and then froze on the spot.  Typical.  I’m at my best in front of a teleprompter.  Or behind a keyboard.

The show aired on our local Fox affiliate and was a hit with the ratings to match.  Each day at Haydel’s HQ started with anticipation of a possible national TV deal accompanied by lengthy conversation about how life would surely change.  And believe me, we were close.  More than once.  But it wasn’t meant to be.

:30 Promo Episode 7

Piece of Cake’s” pulse is faint, living on via DVD.  I had some good laughs relieving our 15 minutes watching a few episodes again.  And I’ll always have Episode 7, when I was not only credited with the Cake Battle idea, but even got my name onscreen, misspelled, but onscreen nonetheless.  Savor the moment y’all! – M.T.


In Defense of Fruitcake

You either love it or hate it.  Maybe you’ve never really given it a fair shake and deemed it unsavory based on hearsay alone.  Or perhaps you’ve actually tired it but due to preconceived notions or peer pressure, you had your mind made up that no matter how it actually tasted, you simply were not going to like it.

Legend has it that the earliest versions of fruitcake were placed on ancient Egyptian tombs for use in the afterlife, but it didn’t become common until Roman times.  And a few may argue that some of today’s fruitcakes taste as if they’ve been around since then, but perhaps if you’re not sold on it, you should consider giving fruitcake a second look.  Times have changed and so have your options.

I’ll admit that although I come from fruitcake-digging parents, I did not inherit their affection for this dense and fruity holiday treat.  So when the boss insisted I try our new fruitcake formulas (“Eat this or you’re fired.”), I was apprehensive but compliant.  And more than pleasantly surprised.

Our Haydel’s recipe has always been a big seller around the holidays, but we think the variety and taste our new recipes offer is simply terrific and appeals to traditionalists and fruitcake virgins alike.  Pineapple with Macadamia Nuts, Creole Apricot…I mean, really?!  Truly sinful y’all!  This is not fruitcake from the days of yore, I can assure you.

Perhaps you just need to find the right fruitcake for you.  The holidays are a time for second chances, so consider giving a modern version of this often misunderstood Christmas classic another try.  You might be pleasantly surprised too!  Joyeux Noel!  – M.T.

Three Cheers for the Vol-au-vent!

We love pattie shells anytime, but especially during the holidays (and yes, we spell it pattie, instead of patty…it’s NOLA, linguistics are fluid and we make our own rules).  Also known as a vol-au-vent, which sounds so much sexier, the pattie shell is an old New Orleans favorite. Here at Haydel’s, our pattie shells are prepared from our made from scratch recipe. Each shell is hand cut and the end result is a rich, buttery, flaky bite of puff pastry ready to receive your favorite filling.

In the Big Easy, the oyster pattie reigns supreme. And with Thanksgiving quickly approaching, we thought we would share our classic New Orleans Oyster Pattie recipe along with something new to try if you’re feeling adventurous. I’ve personally made Dave Jr.’s Brie Bites and they are fantastic. The combination of brie and brown sugar warm out of the oven is perfection.  Enjoy y’all! – M.T.

New Orleans Oyster Patties

The pattie shell, also known as a vol-au-vent, is an old New Orleans favorite that is prepared from our “made from scratch” recipe. Each pattie shell is hand cut. The end result is a rich buttery flaky bite of puff pastry filled with your favorite recipe. – See more at:–48#sthash.e3Wc8T93.dpuf

The pattie shell, also known as a vol-au-vent, is an old New Orleans favorite that is prepared from our “made from scratch” recipe. Each pattie shell is hand cut. The end result is a rich buttery flaky bite of puff pastry filled with your favorite recipe. – See more at:–48#sthash.e3Wc8T93.dpuHere at Haydel’s, we hand cut and roll each and every one.  There are so many ways to use these light, flaky, buttery shells.  Of course in New Orleans, the oyster patty shell reigns supreme.  With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, we thought we would share a couple of our own patty shell recipes with you…a classic and something new to try if you’re feeling adventurous.  I’ve personally made Dave Jr.’s Brie Bites and they are fantastic.  The combination of brie and brown sugar is heavenly.  Enjoy y’al

1 sm. onion diced
1 sm. bell pepper diced
2 cloves garlic chopped
1T olive oil
1 pint oysters chopped
1 lg. can cream of mushroom soup
¾ cup Italian bread crumbs
½ cup shredded swiss cheese
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
48 Haydel’s Bakery Pattie Shells

Sautee onions, bell pepper and garlic in the oil. Add oysters. Cook until oysters become slightly firm. Add cream of mushroom soup, salt and pepper. Bring to a light boil. Add bread crumbs, swiss cheese, and parmesan. Stir until melted completely. If consistency is very thin add more bread crumbs. Consistency should be that of thick pudding. Fill a pastry bag and pipe into each shell. Bake at 350° for 10‐15 minutes.

NOTE: If you do not have a pastry bag fill a large ziplock bag and cut the corner to pipe filling into each shell.

Dave Jr.’s Brie Bites

1 medium to large size wedge of brie cheese (your choice as to whether or not remove the rind)
1 cup small chopped pecan pieces
1 cup dark brown sugar
48 Haydel’s Bakery Pattie Shells

Fill each shell with enough pecans to cover the bottom.  Pull off hunks of brie and stuff it into each shell.  It’s ok if it sticks up out of the top some, because it will melt down in the oven.  Top each generously with brown sugar.  Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until cheese bubbles.  Serve immediately.

Send Us Your Favorite Fall Pie Recipe

Fall means football, tailgating, and cooler weather (eventually, right?).  And if you’re a foodie, it also calls for a change in menu.  Personally, it is hands down my favorite time of year.  I absolutely love fall baking and for all of you out there who do as well, we’ve cooked up a little contest just for you.

The Haydel’s historical recipe book is still in use at the bakery everyday.

We want your favorite fall pie recipe!  Once all submissions are received, the Haydel’s will choose their top 5 and make them.  The winner will be determined via taste test and voted on by a panel of expert judges (in other words, folks that know delicious…I am a self appointed judge and I promise, you can trust me!).  When submitting your recipe, be sure to think fall.

“Autumn comes slowly in New Orleans. The grass remains a stubborn green, but the heat gives way to a gentle warmth.”- A Love Song For Bobby Long

In addition to a $150 Haydel’s gfit card, the winning pie recipe will also be featured in an upcoming post here on Haydelicious.  We’re accepting entries now through September 15th, 2013.  The winning entry will be announced the first week of October.  You may email your recipe to or mail it to Fall Pie Contest, Haydel’s Bakery, 4037 Jefferson Highway, Jefferson, LA 70121.  Please include your name, address, daytime telephone number and any interesting history or side notes about the recipe.

Get to submitting y’all and happy fall! – M.T.

The Question About Filling

There’s one popular inquiry we get without exception, especially during carnival time when upwards of 50,000 King Cakes are headed out the door depending on the length of the season.  Folks, usually new customers, want to know why the filling in our King Cakes sits more atop the dough as opposed to inside it.  Don’t go getting your Mardi Gras beads in a tangle.  There is a very good reason y’all!

Strawberry Cream Cheese filled.

Since Haydel’s began making King Cakes back in the 1970’s, we have hand braided each and every one.  (In fact, it is likely that your Haydel’s King Cake was braided by a Haydel family member).  We’re big fans of braiding for the simple fact that it ensures the cinnamon and sugar are mixed throughout the entire dough for optimum taste.  We want every bite to be as good as the last and as delicious as the next.

That said, it would be pretty challenging to fill a braided dough…and messy too.  Instead, we pipe our filling directly on top of the dough before baking creating a valley of sweet and creamy heavenliness in each slice.

“They say it’s what’s on the inside that counts but it’s kinda hard to count when nobody can see your insides.” – The Beauty Inside

I like to think of this visible glimpse of filling as a sneak peak of what’s to come…a tempting tease.  It’s kind of like showing a little leg.  Hit ‘em with a little something, but leave the rest to the imagination for a bit. -M.T.

The Haydel’s braiding King Cakes with TV personality and chef Andrew Zimmern.

Icing: Anyway You Like It!

There’s one in every celebrating crowd.  As the cake is about to be cut, they lay claim to the piece with the most icing via proclamation.  I am that person.  End piece please!  If said cake includes edible garnishes, kindly pass them my way.  The price of over consumption may come with a little tummy ache, but it’s worth it to this frosting loving fool.

Icing as we know it didn’t begin to emerge until sometime in the 17th century.  And even then it was often only used to decorate elaborate display pieces for feasts of the wealthy.  It wasn’t until the French began serving dessert as an entirely separate course (what took them so long??) that decorated cakes started to appear regularly.  My obsession, er rather, affection for icing has led me to study the three most popular variations here at Haydel’s.   


Arguably the most common, buttercream in its simplest form, is made by creaming butter with powdered sugar, and can be used as icing and filling.  Buttercream made with shortening and a higher sugar content tends to withstand warmer temperatures better than that made solely with butter.  It is the least expensive icing option and easiest to manipulate for decorators.  I tend to lose my mind around buttecream.  It’s hands down my favorite when it comes to taste.

Rolled Fondant

Rolled fondant is dough-like in nature.  Often the most visually appealing, it produces a smooth satin finish and can be molded into nearly any shape.  Rolled fondant can make for some showstopping creations.  Although some may not agree that it’s as palatable as buttercream or the poured variety, it sure is sexy.  Rolled fondant can be a bit pricier than other options depending on the intricacy of the design.

Poured Fondant

Sweet and creamy, poured fondant is often simply born out of sugar, corn syrup and water.  A multi-talented medium, poured fondant is used on multiple bakery items.  Petit fours, sugar cookies, king cakes, and cinnamon roles are bathed in it.  The look of poured fondant on cake is elegant and delicate.  It reminds me of days gone by…romantic, vintage.  Of course it can also be the most temperamental.  If not heated to the ideal temperature, poured fondant will be too thick to pour.  If heated too high, it becomes too thin and will run off the cake.  Treat it just right and a stunning and delicious reward awaits!

Tell us which one is your favorite.  Not sure?  Maybe it’s time for a taste test.  And might I also suggest that you keep the wise words of author Ernestine Ulmer in mind, “Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first.”  Live it up y’all!  – M.T.

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Our Top Five Picks – Norman Love Chocolates


Norman Love Chocolates sure are easy on the eyes y’all.  Each truly is “artistry in chocolate” just as this exclusive Florida based company boasts.  In fact, I’ve been admiring them, mostly from afar, since they made their debut here at Haydel’s around the holidays.  Are they as delicious as they are sexy?  Taste test you say?  Well, if you insist!

Along with Dave Jr., I was ready to tackle this heavenly assignment with nothing less than the enthusiasm of a six year old.  I’m no Haydel like my taste testing counterpart, but my weakness is sweets.  Inherited that from my Daddy, who we’d often find eating an entire cake with a fork…no need to waste time cutting it into slices.  I too cannot be trusted alone with baked goods.  Based solely on experience, I consider myself an unlicensed expert when it comes to judging sugary confections.

We chose some of our best selling Norman Love Chocolates here at Haydel’s along with a couple of recently released flavors.  Next, we unapologetically devoured them all in five minutes flat (that’s a fact folks) and ranked them 5 to 1.  Here’s how each bite of chocolatey goodness stacked up.

Peaches and Cream

Meredith’s Rank: 5
Dave’s Rank: 3
“…fresh peaches drenched in heavy cream and coated in white chocolate.”  You had me at heavy cream and white chocolate.  But the best part about this one was the intense burst of peach mid-chew.  Peaches and Cream has southern summertime written all over it!


Meredith’s Rank:  4
Dave’s Rank:  4
“Ciao down on creamy vanilla mascarpone and rich espresso ganache enrobed in a dark chocolate shell.”  I predicted this would win top billing from the get go as Tiramisu is a favorite of mine in real life.  As delicious as it was it did not take my #1 vote only because of the mind blowing amazingness that lay ahead.

Key Lime Shell

Meredith’s Rank:  3
Dave’s Rank: 2
“This tangy classic is made with fresh key lime juice for a feeling of Florida sunshine with each bite.”  White chocolate and key lime make an exceptional pairing!  The lovely Key Lime Shell definitely gets my vote for best eye candy.      

Mint Chocolate Chip

Meredith’s Rank:   2
Dave’s Rank:  5
“This classic ice cream parlor recipe of rich dark chocolate and creamy vanilla mint filling comes complete with tiny chocolate chips.”  My first and unshakable thought…Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies!  Mint Chocolate Chip is a must have.

Drum roll please!  By unanimous decision, the winner of our in-house, unscientific taste test is…

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Meredith’s Rank:  1
Dave’s Rank:  1
“Fresh strawberry jam and creamy peanut butter coated in Swiss milk chocolate…”  PB&J is all grown up!  Good Lawd, Peanut Butter and Jelly rocked our world my friends!  Add it to your bucket list.

We’d love to hear your top picks!  Treat yourself!  – M.T.

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Hosting An Exceptional Get Together: Part 2

You paid attention to all the details and as your shindig begins to wind down and it becomes apparent you’ve got a hit on your hands, you are about to pull off one final exceptional move.

Hopefully you were given many thoughtful hostess gifts as party goers arrived (if not, how rude!).  And unless you’re attending a wedding, a shower, a child’s birthday party, a graduation or some sort of business function, you likely don’t expect to be on the receiving end of such niceties at a social gathering at someone’s home.  So just as the first guests are preparing to make their exit, pull out the parting gifts.  An unexpected gesture.  A small token of appreciation for coming.  And let’s be clear, I’m not dishing out the goodies on fire pit night or after a Memorial Day BBQ with my besties.  I save this showstopper for bigger occasions handing each over personally along with a hug and a kiss.

What to give?  Edible always gets my vote.  The first time I did this, I spent hours making treats, putting them in little bags and tying them with pretty bows.  Homemade treats are fantastic, but most of us just don’t have time for all that prep.  So instead, consider purchasing them.  Fine chocolates, cookies or macaroons are great options.  And I’m talking about something that gives you an OMG-that-was-amazing moment and leaves you wanting more.  An attractive package on the outside and a handful of mouth-watering bite size treats on the inside.  Many will be consumed before your pleasantly surprised guests drive off your street.

Now get started on those hand written thank you notes for your hostess gifts like the good southerner you are.   –M.T.

Hosting an Exceptional Get Together: Part 1


My house is definitely not the biggest on the block, nor is it the most remarkable.  In fact, more than a few remodeling projects stand before me.  But my parties are rarely forgotten and I’ll tell you why (and no, it’s not for any of the reasons your best college parties went down in history).

A memorable gathering is a sensory experience from beginning to end.  Look at every detail from a guest’s perspective.  Make it warm, comfortable and inviting with fresh flowers, candles, and holiday décor if applicable.  And for goodness sakes if it’s a nighttime gathering, dim the lights y’all.  No dimmers?  Simply switch out your bulbs to a lower wattage.  Don’t overlook the exterior either…it’s your guests’ first impression.   Pay attention to your soundtrack.  If your budget allows, consider hiring a musician, even if it’s just for a short time, and wow your guests.

Stock the bar.  Consider including at least one signature drink.  Pour it into an old fashioned glass beverage jug, clearly labeled and surrounded by the appropriate drinkware, stirrers, and any other necessary garnishes.  Perhaps hire a bartender.  Have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages on hand as well.

Your menu choices can make your soiree.   Whether it’s a sit down dinner, buffet, or you’re just serving apps, folks will remember your delicious offerings, so make them count.  Food prep can be very stressful, so do as much as you can ahead of time.  Call on your pals to pitch in, or even have it catered…whatever you must to do take some of the pressure off of yourself (a glass of wine helps too).  You need plenty of time to get yourself looking fabulous!

Set up multiple food stations based on theme or kind in different areas.  This gets people moving around the space.  Of course, my favorite is the dessert bar.  Have fun with serving pieces…vintage-looking tiered dessert trays make my heart beat fast.  Offer a small variety of options.  Petit fours topped to match your party’s theme, sugar cookies decorated for the occasion or with a special message for your guests.  Doberge squares, Cajunnolis®, or turtles add local flavor.  Surprise people with slices of King Cake out of season.

Stay tuned for Part 2 and find out how to amaze your guests on their way out the door with more than a gracious goodbye.  Have fun y’all! – M. T.