Like many bakeries across the country, Bakery Nouveau in Seattle will see a rush of business before Fat Tuesday. It is the last day of indulgence before the start of the Lenten season, so customers will be flocking to these establishments to get their fix of king cakes and paczki – two traditional pastries enjoyed this time of year.
For the next two weeks, Bakery Nouveau will be working furiously to create enough product to meet demand. In the lead-up to Mardi Gras, the bakery will produce hundreds of king cakes and thousands of paczki.
To represent its region, Bakery Nouveau adds apples and raisins to the cinnamon-sugar filling of its king cakes. The bakery roasts the apples separately, spreads the filling on brioche dough laminated with butter, and cuts it into strips for braiding.
The Pacific Northwest is not typically a region of the country associated with king cakes but according to owner William Leaman, the idea to sell them was born out of necessity. After opening the bakery in the mid-2000’s and finding that January was a slow sales period following the holidays, Mardi Gras gave it a new boost. Paczki would follow about six years ago, and has been a popular item with nearly 1,000 sold per day.