The Untold Truth Of Bronwen Wyatt

Pastry chef Bronwen Wyatt has New Orleans in her blood. The city's food and culture has always had an impact on the southern native, an influence which has slipped over into her baking skills. USA Today wrote, "Wyatt's desserts are informed by her Southern heritage and her adoration of all things seasonal." It's no surprise then that Wyatt's southern inspirations have held clout in the formation of her new cake company, Bayou Saint Cake, even in name.

"I want to be in New Orleans because there is something special going on here now. The city is growing considerably, and diners are becoming more sophisticated," Wyatt told Louisiana Cookin'.

Given Wyatt's unconventional baking training, her travels around the United States, from which she has picked up more regional influences, and the connections she has forged with other bakers, often through Instagram, it's no surprise that Wyatt has taken those southern influences and translated them into a foray into a new world of cake decorating.

Bronwen Wyatt didn't attend culinary school

When Wyatt graduated from Tulane University, she did not expect to go into a culinary field, as she was a double major in English and print-making. However, when she landed a job as a prep cook in 2007, her career trajectory changed. She worked in Maine and San Francisco before heading back to New Orleans, first landing a job at Le Petite Grocery. She has since also worked at Shaya, Willa Jean, and the Elysian Bar (via NolaAdore) and today is the owner of Bayou Saint Cake (via Eater New Orleans).

"... [I] discovered I had a knack for pastry-making," Wyatt told Louisiana Cookin'. "When I came back to New Orleans, I found out they needed a pastry chef at Le Petite Grocery. I don't really have formal training — I learned everything on the job."

According to Gayot, Wyatt's baking style is also influenced by her time in San Francisco, where she learned about organic sustainability, a concept she applies to her work today.

Bronwen Wyatt founded Bayou Saint Cake during the pandemic

Some may have questioned Bronwen Wyatt's decision to start a small business during the COVID-19 pandemic, but so far she has found success through Bayou Saint Cake. Wyatt started the business after losing her restaurant job due to the pandemic, and when it came to figuring out how the business would be run, Wyatt just kind of winged it.

"I wish I could say it was really well-thought-out," Wyatt told Eater New Orleans. "I did not have a vision board. I just knew I needed to bring in money somehow, and I started taking some special orders, and then more and more."

Wyatt made and strengthened connections with the New Orleans queer community while starting her business, saying that the pandemic certainly helped her create that circle of support (via Eater New Orleans).

The pandemic and the business relationships she has fostered because of it have inspired her to give more back to the community. "A big thing for me the past year has been learning more about mutual aid. I know I have a lot of inherent privileges and comforts, so it's important for me to think about distributing any excess resources to the community, and to focus on supporting that organizations doing that work," Wyatt told Eater New Orleans.

Bronwen Wyatt is has been strongly influenced by Instagram

Bronwen Wyatt tells Eater New Orleans about a section of the social media app called "cake Instagram," where cake fanatics and bakers alike can peruse photos of creative cakes made by others. Cake Instagram has not only inspired some of Wyatt's cakes and helped her to further develop her own style, it has also allowed her to network more with other bakers. "I was using all these drifting, swoop-y florals on my cakes, but I love the playful aesthetic I saw on these accounts. They helped me grow into my own," she says.

And so Wyatt's signature "squiggles," or zigzagging curves of buttercream frosting atop her cakes, were born. The squiggle, Wyatt said, came first from a request for a chicken nugget to be featured on a cake. That was her version of the chicken nugget.

On her own Instagram account, Wyatt posts both photographs of her cakes as well as original comics that she draws that serve as advertisements for her business (via Eater New Orleans).

Bronwen Wyatt concocted a special COVID-19 Thanksgiving menu

When Thanksgiving time came in 2020, families around the United States were devastated that they wouldn't be able to spend the holiday together, or would have to do so solely with their "bubble." Fortunately, there was a special Thanksgiving Day cake menu from Bayou Saint Cake to ease the blow.

But preparing a Thanksgiving Day cake menu wasn't a sure thing: Wyatt would have to compete with the countless Americans who had taken up baking as a hobby during the pandemic and were making their own cakes, pies, and other baked goods, as pointed out by The New York Times.

However, when you see Wyatt's Thanksgiving menu, you'll be throwing your own pumpkin pie out the window and relishing spoon bread; olive oil cake with cardamom, quince, and sherry; miso butterscotch sweet potato pie; chai spiced butternut layer cake; and chicory ice cream pie. A portion of the proceeds from sale of the cakes went to a local charity (via Instagram).

Wyatt raved about the olive oil cake on Instagram, which she recommended be topped with creme fraiche. "This is how I like to eat cake," she wrote. "Simple, rustic, warm, and topped with fruit and cream."

Flavor first, presentation second

Although Wyatt's cakes are undoubtedly beautiful, Eater New Orleans points out that their style isn't quite traditional. "This is a post-fondant world, to be sure — flavor comes first, and the designs are expressive, dramatic, even imperfect." This is where Wyatt's squiggle comes in.

Wyatt's Instagram is filled with such imperfect creations, yet their descriptions are mouthwatering. Take, for instance, what looks like a chocolate cake with random shapes of who knows what on top. It's actually a Sacher torte garnished with candied kumquats and quince as well as sunflowers from Wyatt's own garden (via Instagram). There's also a squiggle-covered dome cake that at first glance looks like it has flowers thrown randomly on top, but the cake is actually more extravagant than meets the eye; ingredients include coconut sugar buttercream, Meyer lemon, citrus, and blood orange (via Instagram). Of course, Wyatt also makes some more visually appealing cakes, such as ones covered in perfectly-arranged fruits and flowers (via Instagram).

In the end, if they have one thing in common, it's that all the cakes certainly sound delicious.