Mardi Gras King Cake
Eating a king cake before or after Carnival is sacrilege here in New Orleans, which is why you can bet we indulge from Twelfth Night (Jan. 6) through Mardi Gras Day. We’re getting y’all ready for the season with our roundup of All Things King Cake. Without further ado, here’s our list, whether you crave something classic, creative, savory, or sippable. Happy carnival, y’all!
SO, WHAT IS A KING CAKE?
The name “king cake” comes from the Biblical story of the three kings who bring gifts to Baby Jesus. A blend of coffee cake and cinnamon roll, king cake is usually iced in yellow, green and purple – the colors of Mardi Gras — and is frequently packed with fruit fillings and decadent cream cheeses. Hidden within these season sweets also lie a special surprise: a plastic king cake baby to continue the fun.
WHAT DOES THE BABY INSIDE THE KING CAKE MEAN?
Hidden in its interior, or under a slice, is a small plastic baby. Whoever finds it must either bring the next cake or throw a party, thus sparking an unending round of food and fun. Whether at the workplace, school or home – king cake is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the Mardi Gras season.
WHEN DO YOU EAT KING CAKE?
King cake is indeed a heavenly treat for New Orleanians when it appears in supermarkets and bakeries between early January and Ash Wednesday. Some bakeries across the city begin selling as early as December, but always at the start of Carnival – January 6. While we hold firm to our belief that king cakes taste best in New Orleans, don’t fret if you aren’t here during that special time of year. Several bakeries offer fast delivery anywhere in the United States.
WHERE DO I BUY A KING CAKE?
New Orleans is filled with a number of bakeries, sweet shops and restaurants eager to begin sharing this sweet seasonal treat. Enjoy customized, traditional and unique king cakes from across the city. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see a list of bakeries that offer king cakes, or browse a this list of some of our favorite king cake spots here.
Antoine’s Famous Cakes– Venture over to the West Bank or Metry and get yourself one of our favorite classic King Cakes at Antoine’s. They also offer custom king cakes, and deliver. Yup, you don’t even have to leave your house to get your King Cake fix. 1300 Stumpf Blvd. and 3030 Severn Avenue.
Don Phuong — These king cakes were so popular last year, you were lucky if you got your hands on one. (The lines were hours long). Choose from classic cinnamon, cream cheese, strawberry, coconut, or pecan this Mardi Gras season. 14207 Chef Menteur Hwy.
Sucré — Edible glitter lends a glossy finish to these king cakes, available for purchase in Metairie, Uptown, or in the French Quarter. Pick up some Mardi Gras macarons while you’re there. 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., 622 A Conti St. and 3025 Magazine St.
La Boulangerie — Arguably the most classic of the bunch, La Boulangerie’s king cake takes it way back to the original French gallette des rois. No colorful frosting here (although they do offer those, too). Just buttery, flaky puff pastry with dense almond cream. 4600 Magazine St.
Gracious Bakery — This year, Gracious Bakery features Valrhona Chocolate in their specialty cakes and flavors include cinnamon with fancy Sprinkles and pecan praline. Their Queen Cakes have frangipan filling. Also, new this year are colorful Parti Gras Doberge bites and, for the traditionalists, the Galette des Rois impresses with their custom porcelain feve. 2854 St. Charles Ave., 1000 S. Jefferson Pkwy., and 4930 Prytania St.
Manny Randazzo King Cakes — Using an original recipe that dates back 50 years, Randazzo’s king cakes are a fan favorite. Pick up a cake (or three) at their outpost in Metairie. 3515 N. Hullen St.
Haydel’s Bakery — Their original cake comes in a variety of shapes and colors, but you can order special Christmas and Saints-themed king cakes as well. 4037 Jefferson Hwy.