One of things I look forward to each year during Carnival season is the chance to enjoy afternoons of coffee and King Cake. King Cake is a sticky, coffee-cake type of pastry braided into a ring and drissled with with colored icing and sugar. Sometimes it is made with cinnamon and today it is more commonly found with various fillings such as cream cheese, blueberry, or even pecans and pralines. King Cake can be found in bakeries and grocery stores around Louisiana after January 6, Twelfth Night or King’s Day.
King Cake is available through the Carnival or Mardi Gras season and is a staple in offices, school parties, and gatherings throughout this time of year. Similar to the traditional Twelfth Cake in the UK, it contains an item inside. Twelfth Cake contained a golden bean, with the recipient being declared the Bean King or Lord of Misrule. In Louisiana King Cake’s a baby is placed inside (to symbolize Baby Jesus) and whoever get the baby is responsible for bringing the King Cake to the next gathering.
King Cake may be readily available to those of us who reside in Louisiana and other places in the Southern US, but ?where can one find the best King Cake and how can it be enjoyed in others areas of North America? I’ve put together a list of places where I’ve sampled the King Cake and/or ordered it for friends. I’ve included links where I can. Let me know if you order one and what you think about it.
Carter’s Supermarket, Denham Springs, LA – A coworker lives near this grocery store and we’ll all chip in to get her to buy one on the way to work. My favorite is the Turtle King Cake and this has to be the best King Cake I’ve ever eaten. Ever. Plus, this goodie is less than $15. Instore only
Leblanc’s Food Store, Zachary, LA – This is where I do most of my grocery shopping and I hover around the bakery area with my buggy, waiting until they put fresh King Cakes out on the shelf. I usually purchase the traditional cinnamon because my kids aren’t keen on the filled kind. Now, when they make a few with chocolate filling, get out my way because I will run you over trying to get to it. $6-12
Marguerite’s – Community Coffee is offering a Mardi Gras celebration pack that includes a King Cake, coffee, and some history of Mardi Gras. The company sent me a cream cheese cake because they’re awesome like that. It was delivered by FedEx while I was at work. My kids knew it was a King Cake and all household package rules went out the window as they tore into the box and began to feast on it. Fortunately, my son snapped a picture with his iPhone before the the pastry disappeared. Most of the cake was gone, as the kids ended up having their friends come by for a snack. They did leave me a bit of it and I have to admit, it was delicous (I’m eating it for breakfast as I type this). FedEx next day Cake & Coffee $46
Gambino’s Bakery, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA – This is the place where I enjoyed King Cakes as a kid. My mom would bring home a traditional cake for my brother and I, while she would get a special filled cake for my dad. We weren’t allowed to touch his cake (but I did anyway). They started getting pricier as the years went by and I’ll get one from here if I happen to be in the area. I did ship a King Cake from here a few years ago and it arrived fresh and intact. Medium Single Filled Cake Shipped $48.55
Ambrosia Bakery, Baton Rouge, LA – This is one of my favorite bakeries in Baton Rouge and they recently moved to a larger bakery to accommodate all the orders that come into the store. I love to get the chocolate chip cream cheese King Cake from this bakery, but they also offer a Pecan Praline King Cake. The cakes come in three sizes and can be ordered online for instore pickup or next day delivery. Regular Pecan Praline instore $15.25 delivered $50.25
Haydel’s Bakery, Jefferson, LA – I ordered a cake from Greater New Orleans’ area Haydel’s last year and sent it to a few friends. This year Haydel’s is offering a limited number of their 50th anniversary King Cake packages that includes a King Cake, Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide, a King Cake history scroll, a pack of their chicory coffee, a 50th anniversary bead pack, a handcrafted porcelain collectible, a Mardi Gras CD, poster, and cup. You can have your own Mardi Gras party in your office. Visit the website for some music to get you in the Carnival mood. UPS Next Day Air $49.49
Manny Randazzo’s, Metairie, LA – Manny Randazzo’s makes King Cakes that I haven’t tried, but foodies I know in New Orleans rave about this place. Apparently this is THE place to get a King Cake. I may order one to try this season. You can order one online, complete with Mardi Gras goodies. Traditional cake starts at $44.95 shipped.
Cake Palace, Baton Rouge, LA – A twitter friend says that Cake Palace has the best King Cakes in Baton Rouge. I have heard that it is a good place for breakfast as well. They don’t offer online shipping, but if you’re in the area, stop in and get one. No price was available online. No longer in business.
Walmart, Anywhere in Louisiana – You can’t get a King Cake shipped from here, but if you are in Louisiana, chances are there will be a variety of sizes and flavors available at the front of the store near the bakery area. If I happen to be shopping there, I’ll add a King Cake to my basket. Check the date to make sure it was freshly made. $8-12
Baum’s Pastries, Baton Rouge, LA – This is the place where I get petit fours and goodies for LSU games. They also sell King Cakes in the store but they aren’t listed on their website or for shipping. The King Cakes are always fresh and they run out by the end of the day. $15-20.
Where do you get your King Cakes?