As if we needed more reasons to love living in the South, it just so happens to be Mardi Gras season, which means it’s time for King Cake, the Southern version of fruit cake that’s a heckuvalot tastier and loves to party.
King Cake, the cinnamon roll-like pastry ring colored purple, green and yellow and often bedazzled in carnival beads, is what Louisianans and their surrounding friends feast upon from January 6th (The Epiphany) till Fat Tuesday. Between then, New Orleans-area bakeries will make approximately 250,000 King Cakes for celebrating locals and tourists. Sometimes King Cake can be more like a Danish with cream cheese and fruit fillings and other times it’s closer to a spiced Brioche, but it’s always delicious. And if you happen to receive the piece with the hidden plastic baby (symbolizing the Christ child), you are supposed to provide next year’s cake.
And if you’d rather leave it to the professionals, here’s where you can find the real deal.
Owned by New Orleans native David Guas, Bayou Bakery serves up NOLA nosh north of the Big Easy from beignets to jambalaya. If you aren’t in Virginia, you can order his raved-about King Cake by calling the bakery.
Meches Donut King
A favorite of Louisiana-native and our Travel and Features Department Fellow , Jeanne Lyons, Meches makes a King Cake that has been compared to a really big donut. Now those are three special words.
New Orleans, LA
If you’re looking for the haute couture of King Cakes, Sucre is the place to go. Filled with a light layer of creole cream cheese, Sucre’s cake is gilded in shimmery icing that’s almost too pretty to eat.