*Editor’s Note - these cakes are just a sampling of what was available during Mardi Gras 2021. Please check back in early January to see what new cakes and flavors will be available in 2022.
While everyone else is beginning to track their New Year’s resolutions and saying goodbye to sweets, New Orleans is preparing to welcome back one of its sweetest and most beloved delicacies: King Cake. Since we adopted the tradition in 1870, the classic king cake has started a revolution in the culinary scene, inspiring everything from twists on the traditional dessert itself to king cake flavored pastries and even drinks – think a very New Orleans-specific version of pumpkin spice If this is your first time in New Orleans during Mardi Gras and you’re ready to indulge like a native, check out a few of these places listed below to fulfill your king cake curiosities, or check out these bakeries that ship king cakes both nationally and internationally to get a taste of New Orleans wherever you are.
Classic King Cakes
Household staples among the locals – both old and new
Manny Randazzo's King Cakes — Boasted by locals far and wide as the best king cake in the state, Randazzo’s is a Metairie-based bakery dedicated to king cakes and only king cakes. Once the shop opens in mid-December, patrons can expect lines wrapped around the building and down the block for one of their famous king cake creations. You can choose from flavors such as strawberry cream cheese, pecan praline, lemon, apple, and more, but most will tell you that the traditional king cake from Randazzo’s does the trick. Won’t be in the city for Mardi Gras? No worries. Order one of Randazzo’s specialty king cakes online with their overnight delivery.
Loretta’s Authentic Pralines — It should come as no surprise that the queen of pralines makes her mark on another legendary New Orleans dessert. Alongside her specialty pralines, beignets, cookies, and pies, Ms. Loretta also serves praline cream cheese-filled king cakes that locals and visitors alike can’t pass up. Beginning in December, stop in for a slice or even a whole cake.
La Boulangerie — This French bakery creates a variety of creative king cakes and a great traditional one. Enjoy traditional cinnamon, strawberry almond, pretzel, or chocolate. As for the baby, you will instead find a miniature pig tucked inside.
Angelo Brocato — For over 110 years, Angelo Brocato’s has made its mark as a local Italian sweet shop offering gelato, cannolis, biscotti, and other pastries and treats. With the aid of the Harahan-based Caluda’s King Cakes, Angelo Brocato’s offers up some of the tastiest king cake in the city. Traditional, praline filled, raspberry cream cheese, and more are brought from Harahan to Mid-City each and every Mardi Gras season!
Brennan's King Cakes — They say three’s a crowd, but we think “the more, the merrier” better describes the trifecta of king cakes from Brennan’s. The parade of the Brennan’s three king cakes includes a Traditional King Cake, the Pink Parade King Cake — filled with luscious strawberry jam and whipped cream cheese — and the Black and Gold King Cake, a rich chocolate brioche dough twirled with a center of chocolate icing and topped with chocolate ganache. Order online or pick these cakes up at the King Cake Hub. We won’t judge you for snatching up all three.
Creative King Cakes
Beyond cinnamon or cream-filled, these cakes are big on unique flavors.
Bywater Bakery — Located in the heart of the Bywater, stop by Bywater Bakery for a selection of unique and freshly baked king cakes this Mardi Gras season. Like many others, Bywater Bakery begins its king cake storm Jan. 6. Their array of cakes includes cheesecake-filled, Chantilly-filled and even a savory crawfish option. Shake up your king cake selection this year at Bywater Bakery!
Willa Jean King Cake — This decadent king cake comes from James Beard Award-winning chef, Kelly Fields. Known as the Caramel Crunch King Cake, this treat flies off the shelves every Carnival season. Order in advance and pick it up in-store between January 6 and March 1.
Gracious Bakery King Cake — Gracious Bakery releases new takes on king cake each year, and after last season’s Bananas Foster cake, we can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next. . Best of all, they have multiple locations for you to find them. They are also known for their “queen cakes,” which have frangipane filling. In 2021, the bakery introduced its Gracious Bakery King Cake Kit as a fun way to get your try your hand at king cake baking from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Adrian’s Bakery — Known for treats that offer “a taste of New Orleans,” Adrian’s Bakery offers a selection of their special king cakes year-round. For the indulgent and the indecisive alike, their double-filled or supreme king cakes ensure you’ll never have to choose between flavors again! Make sure to call two days in advance for orders outside of the Mardi Gras season, so you can enjoy king cake on any given day of the year.
District Donuts King Cake — It's no surprise that this top-rated shop – known for its outrageous donuts – makes delicious king cake as well. This sweet treat is filled with cream cheese and dark chocolate and topped with a vanilla bean glaze and sanding sugar in the classic purple, green, and gold.
Sippable King Cakes
Coffee or cocktails: have your king cake and sip it, too
King Cake Latte at CC’s — Come Carnival season, you’ll find Mardi Gras-inspired drinks taking over at CC’s Coffee House. Try the King Cake Latte or Mochasippi for a frozen treat.
Mardi Gras King Cake Blend Coffee — This blend from Community Coffee is a balance of cinnamon and vanilla with a full-bodied, light-roast taste. Find at local grocery stores or order online here.
King Cake Protein Velvet Ice at PJ’s Coffee — If you’re looking for a “healthier” option when it comes to king cakes, the King Cake Protein Velvet Ice is for you. If you want to indulge, order the King Cake Latte. Missing Mardi Gras? Celebrate any time of year with PJ’s Carnival blend, available online or at Rouses Marketplace. Multiple locations.
King Cake Brews from Abita — Pure, Louisiana cane sugar (lots of it) and artesian spring water are the basis of Abita’s King Cake Soda. The taste is reminiscent of frosting and cinnamon dough. Pick up a six-pack at any local grocery store. Or, if you prefer something a little stronger, wait until you get a taste of their Mardi Gras Bock. Find this malty, full-bodied German lager in grocery stores or online here.
Bacchus Blonde Ale from Port Orleans Brewing Co. — Inspired by the Superkrewe Bacchus, this beer is for the all-day parade-goer – the one who likes to party nonstop. Bacchus Blonde is a light-bodied ale that gives off a mild malt character. It can be purchased at Winn-Dixie and Rouses locations, as well as at other local grocery stores.