“Based purely on cake sales, I think Louisiana loves their Mama’s the most,” said Chaya Conrad, the celebrated proprietress and pastry chef behind Bywater Bakery. “Of all the places I’ve worked in bakeries, nothing says “I love you, Mom” like cake does here. It’s one of the biggest cake holidays of the year. We start taking order months out. It’s all hands on deck.” 

Tried and true, the layer cake has withstood the test of time as the go-to centerpiece for celebratory occasions. The frosted sponge or butter cake-based confections we most commonly turn to originated in 19th century Europe. They are easy to come by and their quality and extravagance range dramatically based entirely on the depth of one’s pocketbook. 

Conrad said her signature confection, the Chantilly Cake, reigns supreme on Mother’s Day.

What to Serve with Cake?

Champagne or Sparkling Wine.

A dry Champagne (extra brut, brut, extra sec) or sparkling wine will not taste good in contrast to a sweet cake. For the best pairing go for something on the sweet side such as a demi-sec or sec variety, in either a traditional or alcohol-free variety.

Let Her Eat Cake


Moet Nectar Imperial

Bright fruit notes of pineapple, passionfruit, and mango add a vibrant finish. Available at Martin Wine Cellar, 3827 Baronne St., 504-899-7411, martinwine.com.



Let Her Eat Cake


Lyre’s Classico Grande NA

Apple, peach and lime flavors combine in this non-alcoholic beverage that is said to be indiscernible from the real thing. Available at Total Wine & More, 3780 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-267-8866, totalwine.com.



The Princess Cake

“I have a favorite cake that’s an unsung hero,” Conrad said. “Our Princess cakes are so pretty, delicious and fit for the queen in your life. It’s a bomb-style cake with raspberry jam, fresh raspberries, almond cake, and a mound of whipped cream, all covered in Marzipan.” 

Vegan and Gluten-Free Strawberry Lemon Cake

“I’m proud of our cake options for people on restricted diets. This year we have a Strawberry Lemon Cake made with lemon filling and vegan buttercream.”

Let Her Eat CakeThe Expert

Born and raised in upstate New York near the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), on Saturday nights Chaya Conrad’s mother frequently hosted dinners for CIA students, sparking her young daughter’s interest in the culinary arts. After moving to Vermont, the budding chef lied about her age (14) and got her first job at a local bakery decorating tarts and cakes. At 18 she enrolled in the CIA and did her externship in New Orleans. After working in several positions around the country she returned again to New Orleans, ultimately to head the Pastry Department for Whole Foods at Arabella Station, where she created the Berry Chantilly Cake, a celebrated, often replicated creation which is now sold nationwide across the Whole Foods brand. In 2017, Conrad opened Bywater Bakery. Beyond the obvious, the vibrant space also serves as an art gallery, informal community center and live music venue. “We support all of the things we love,” Conrad said. “Bywater Bakery has become what we dreamed it would be.”

Bywater Bakery, 3624 Dauphine St., 504-336-3336, bywaterbakery.com.