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A king cake, chocolate cake, and slice of cake.
Justice of the Pies is slinging king cake and stout cake for the holidays.
Aliya Ikhumen/Eater Chicago

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Justice of the Pies Bakes Black Pride Into the Mardi Gras King Cake Tradition

Superstar baker Maya-Camille Broussard has also crafted a delectable chocolate cake made with beer

Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Bakers around Chicago, including Justice of the Pies Maya-Camille Broussard, were happy to flip their calendars to February. Carbs and sweets are easy targets for New Year’s resolutions, and that means business can be slower. She’s responded with more lighter offerings, like quiche.

But Broussard is ready for Mardi Gras with two holiday-inspired cakes available this weekend, February 9 to 11, only.

She explains that while growing up her father, Stephen, had King Cake shipped to Chicago from a Louisiana bakery — his family’s from Lake Charles and New Iberia, Louisiana. The tradition involves finding the tiny plastic baby baked inside the cake, it can mean good luck. In the Broussard household, it meant being crowned king.

“If after biting into the pastry and my teeth hit something hard, I’d extract a little pink baby from my lips,” Maya-Camille Broussard says. “I’d win but most years, I’d lose.”

A king cake on a baking rack with a brown plastic baby.
Justice of the Pies is selling king cake.
A circular cake with a hole topped with white frosting.
Cream cheese frosting tops this dark stout cake made with chocolate and espresso.

However, one year, the future baker, who many know from Netflix’s Bake Squad, says she bit into the cake and found a little brown baby: “I was so overjoyed to win a baby that was brown like me. It made up for all the years that I didn’t win,” she says.

That memory meant a lot to Broussard, and as her bakery, 8655 S. Blackstone Avenue in Avalon Park, sits in a predominantly Black community, she figured other customers would enjoy that feeling. So she spent some time searching online for packs of little, plastic, brown babies. She consents that it wasn’t easy. But she achieved her goal.

“I hope to share that joy that I received when I won as ‘king’ after finding a little brown baby,” Broussard says.

A pack of brown plastic babies.
Maya-Camille Broussard searched long and high for these.
A close-up for a brown toy plastic baby sitting on a cake.
Hi, there!

She bakes her king cake with a cinnamon layer and folds dried cherries, blueberries, and raisins. She’ll sell them by the slices. And there’s an incentive for the customer who finds the baby — they’ll win a slice of Justice of the Pie’s famous key lime pie.

That’s not the only holiday-minded treat the bakery will sell. Broussard is testing out a new cake that might appeal to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Her dark ale cake is made with stout ale, chocolate, espresso, and sour cream. It’s topped with cream cheese frosting. Broussard is hoping she can find a fandom among South Side revelers, and if it’s popular enough, she might offer it in March in time for the holiday. But for now, it’s this weekend only leading up to Fat Tuesday.

Chef Maya-Camille Broussard dressed in a blue apron and sweatshirt in front of her shop.
Maya-Camille Broussard is happy January is done.
A slice of cake.
Perhaps the stout cake could be part of future St. Patrick’s Day celebrations?
A king cake.
The king cake is a Mardi Gras tradition.

Justice of the Pies

8655 South Blackstone Avenue, , IL 60619 Visit Website
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