Robert Carriker is the founder of BoudinLink (www.boudinlink.com), a website that reviews boudin, and KingCaker (www.kingcaker.com), a a website that reviews king cake. He also created a boudin king cake. Carriker spoke with Gambit about combining his two passions into a savory cake.
How did the idea for a boudin king cake originate?
Carriker: I run BoudinLink and KingCaker, and this is very much a marrying of those two ideas. I've been thinking about this idea for a couple of years now, and I have a section on my BoudinLink website where I do recipes that include boudin. This is always something I thought would be a fun addition to that.
For a couple of years, I've asked a few king cake-making places in Lafayette if they'd be interested in doing a boudin king cake. They all said, "Oh, no, I don't think the sugar would work with all that."
Finally this year, since the KingCaker website started to take off, I decided to make it myself. I bought really simple ingredients — bread mix, boudin, cracklings, Steen's [cane] syrup — and made it in my kitchen. I posted it online Thursday night, and it had already been picked up by the Lafayette paper by Friday. I don't really make any products, but I thought, "If someone wanted one, I'd make it for them." So, I gave [the paper] my e-mail address. It wasn't just a few people who wanted one, because this thing went completely bonkers.
All of a sudden I had 10, 20, 50, 100 e-mails, and clearly I can't do it on my own. I went down the street to Twins [Burgers and Sweets] to see if they would want to do it and make the boudin king cake. They said sure, and by Saturday morning they had tested it out in their kitchen and made a prototype. They officially started selling it on Tuesday, and the reaction has been huge. They sold 200 before noon on Tuesday, and it's been going gangbusters from there.
Have many of your orders have been from out of state?
C: That really surprised me. The majority — maybe 60 or 70 percent — of what I was getting (I guess "orders" of sorts) were people from out of state, from Alaska to New York. You know, it's really touched a vein with people, especially people who are displaced Louisianans because it brings together three things that they identify as being distinctly Louisiana in a really delicious way.
A lot of people have an initial reaction where they think, "Oh, a king cake filled with boudin and covered with sickly sweet sugar? That doesn't sound good!" That doesn't sound good, but that isn't what it is. It's a savory item, with Steen's on the top. Bread, boudin and Steen's is a known thing already, and people eat that.
Do you have a favorite boudin and king cake?
C: My favorite boudin is Johnson's Boucaniere in Lafayette. It's an old-school recipe from folks who first started selling boudin in the 1940s out of their grocery store in Eunice. For king cake, Keller's Bakery in downtown Lafayette is truly amazing. We love the blueberry cream cheese and the bananas Foster. Nothing we've had compares. — SARAH BAIRD