11 New Coffee Cocktails for Buzz-Worthy Meetings and Events

February 2016
By: BizBash

In New Orleans, the bakery and restaurant Willa Jean has a coffee program that includes coffee- and tea-inspired craft cocktails. Among them is the Afternoon Delight, which mixes Intelligentsia coffee with Tito’s Vodka, Licor 43, vanilla milk, and orange peel. The drink complements the Southern-tinged menu from chefs Kelly Fields and Lisa White; the restaurant is part of chef John Besh’s Besh Restaurant Group.



Domenica King Cake

January 2016
By:Louisiana Cookin'

ation you’ll find a dizzying variety from traditional tricolor versions to puff-pastry galettes des rois and everything in between. Over the past few years, bakers from around the state have challenged the perception of the king cake, and to great success.

About five years ago, 2014 Chef to Watch LisaMarie White unveiled a particularly decadent king cake at Domenica in New Orleans. Her resplendent take on the classic Mardi Gras dessert is a feast for the senses: a tender cake stuffed with pastry cream, topped with a praline glaze, salted caramel, and even flecks of edible gold leaf. During the season, Lisa and her team bake hundreds of them, which are available by-the-slice, or for order at her newest venture, Willa Jean Bakery.

We got Lisa to part with the recipe and give us some tips on how to make this stylish delight in the home kitchen.

LC: Tell us about your first memories of king cake.

LisaMarie: It was Mardi Gras 2010 and I heard about a king cake competition, so I thought I’d enter it. I entered two cakes, of course, because I couldn’t decide which I wanted to go with. One was super-local seasonal, right up my alley, and the other was more fitting the sugary expectation. And both of them were a hit.



January 2016
By: The Local Palate

King Cakes, the traditional Mardi Gras treat, descended from a cake served by the Romans at the Saturnalia Fest, always have a miniscule, plastic baby hidden within. The Romans baked a bean inside their version, and ever since then all sorts of trinkets have been concealed in the cake, like plastic pigs, pieces of candy, and today’s tiny baby. Mardi Gras begins on January 6th, the twelfth night after Christmas, and the search for the plastic baby in the King Cake signifies the three kings’ search for the Christ child. Custom dictates that whoever finds the baby is said to have good luck for the day, as well as the responsibility of throwing the next Mardi Gras party or at least supplying the King Cake.

We have 3 versions of King Cakes from 3 New Orleans chefs to celebrate Mardi Gras. First, Chef Kristen Essig of Meauxbar bakes a traditional French Galette de Rois that was featured in the February issue of The Local Palate. Chef Essig’s cake has a puff pastry crust filled with an almond-brandy butter filling and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar. Executive Pastry Chef Maggie Scales of Cochon Butcher and La Boulangerie bakes a buttery brioche cake with a cinnamon filling that is drizzled with a vanilla sugar icing and sprinkled with decorative sanding sugars in purple, green and gold. For the third version, Pastry Chef Lisa White of Willa Jean also bakes a brioche base but fills hers with bananas, toasted pecans and a mascarpone filling with a smattering of caramel sauce for a decadent end to a festive meal.


Yields-1 cake
From Chef Lisa White of Willa Jean in New Orleans, Louisiana


1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup butter, softened
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1½ teaspoon orange zest, divided
1 cup warm whole milk (about 95 degrees)
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoon dry yeast
3¾ cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for kneading
1 cup butter, melted
5 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1¾ cups Salted Caramel Sauce (your favorite), divided
3 fresh bananas, sliced diagonally
Mascarpone Filling (recipe follows)
¾ cup toasted pecans
Praline Glaze (recipe follows)
2 to 3 sheets edible gold leaf

Praline Glaze
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup butter
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup praline liqueur
2 tablespoons molasses

Mascarpone Filling
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, softened, room temperature
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
½ to 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


To make cinnamon filling, add brown sugar, butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon orange zest to bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat until combined, and set aside.

In large bowl, place warm milk; add sugar, yeast, and 1 heaping tablespoon flour, and whisk until both sugar and yeast are dissolved. Let stand until foamy. Whisk in melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and remaining 1 teaspoon orange zest.

In separate large bowl, combine nutmeg, remaining flour, and remaining 3 teaspoons of cinnamon. Use large rubber spatula to fold flour mixture into milk mixture until dough forms and pulls away from sides of bowl. Shape dough into large ball, and place on well-floured work surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes.

Return dough to bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in draft-free place to rise for 1½ hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Punch dough down, and roll out to ¼-inch thick rectangle approximately 20×20-inches. Lightly spread with reserved brown sugar mixture. Leftover mixture may be refrigerated, and used for another purpose.

Roll up long side of dough as tightly as possible, and pinch ends closed. Shape into oval ring, and tuck ends under. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Place dough on prepared baking sheet, and let rise until doubled in size, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

Place in oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes, then slice so that ⅓ of cake is top slice and ⅔ of cake is bottom slice. Spread 1½ cups salted caramel sauce on bottom half, from edge to edge.

Top with banana slices, and drizzle with remaining ¼ cup salted caramel. Fill 1-quart resealable, plastic bag or piping bag with mascarpone filling. Cut off corner, and pipe on top of salted caramel, and add pecans. Top with remaining cake, and press lightly.

Place cake on wire rack on top of cookie sheet. Using ladle, slowly pour Praline Glaze over cake. Using paring knife, transfer gold leaf in several pieces to top of cake.

Mascarpone Filling

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add cream cheese; beat on medium speed until smooth.

Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula, and add mascarpone. Mix until smooth, then scrape down sides once again.

Add salt and sugar, and mix until combined. Add lemon juice to taste, and mix until combined. Refrigerate until stiff.

Praline Glaze

In medium saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and butter. Cook until sugar is melted and mixture is bubbly, but do not stir too much.

Slowly add cream, and whisk until thoroughly combined. Be careful, mixture may splatter.

Whisk in praline liqueur and molasses. Glaze will have velvety sheen when it is ready. Keep warm until ready to use.


2016's best Mardi Gras king cakes

January 2016
By: Anne Roderique-Jones, USA Today

The long-standing tradition of eating king cake is rooted in Old World Europe, but eventually found its way to America — specifically Southern states and New Orleans, in particular. Celebrating with this dessert has become the sweetest way to usher in Mardi Gras celebrations. The cake, traditionally a braided wreath of cinnamon-laced brioche dough, is adorned with sugared stripes of green, gold and purple. Inside, the king cake can be filled with cream cheese, fruit or even unique takes on savory elements. But all king cakes include the tiny baby tucked inside, said to represent good fortune — and the responsibility of bringing the cake to the next party.

Here's your guide for where to find the best king cake in time for Mardi Gras 2016.

Willa Jean in New Orleans

The recently opened Willa Jean is the brainchild of Besh Restaurant Group’s executive pastry chef Kelly Fields and pastry chef Lisa White. This year’s version of the king cake is created by chef White and is comprised of two dense rings of homemade cake, each filled with sliced bananas, mascarpone filling and salted caramel sauce, then topped with a praline glaze. The final touch is a sprinkling of edible gold. The $45 dessert can be ordered online and picked up in person, and $1 for every cake sold will be donated to the John Besh Foundation, which provides loans and scholarships to up-and-coming chefs in New Orleans.



January 2016
By:Megan Wyatt

his king cake is called the king of king cakes for a reason. It's filled with salted caramel, bananas, roasted pecans, mascarpone cheese and caramello and is covered in praline glaze and edible gold flecks.

You'll find this over-the-top king cake in New Orleans at Willa Jean and by-the-slice at Domenica.

This king cake has been offered at Domenica for a few seasons, and it is the first year it is available at Willa Jean.

The whole king cake costs $45, and $1 of each purchase benefits The John Besh Foundation. Shipping is not available.

Domenica is located at 123 Baronne St. and Willa Jean is located at 611 O'Keefe Ave. in New Orleans. Learn more about the king cake or order one by visitingwillajean.com or by calling 504-509-7334.