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. Though she passed away in February 2022, Ms. Loretta's legacy lives on. Alongside her specialty pralines, beignets, cookies, and pies, there's also 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 a new specialty flavor that changes annually. This year’s is Bananas Foster, made with classic king cake dough complimented by banana liqueur and vanilla extract and filled with a creamy banana-flavored filling. Outside, this twist on Brennan’s world famous dessert is coated in a boozy icing made with brown sugar, condensed milk, and butter rum. Order online or pick these cakes up at the King Cake Hub. We won’t judge you for snatching up all three.
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, a vegan option, and even a savory crawfish king cake. 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.
Cochon Butcher and La Boulangerie — Chef Maggie Scales of Link Restaurant Group is staking her name in the world of sweet-and-savory king cakes this year with two mouth-watering options. The first, dubbed the “Elvis,” is a traditional brioche cake filled with the King’s favorite combo of peanut butter and roasted banana, and topped with house-cured bacon, toasted marshmallow, and the classic Mardi Gras sprinkles. La Boulangerie is also offering a 9-inch pretzel king cake adorned with Mardi Gras-colored salt and served with Cochon Abita mustard.
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. Named for a famous Mardi Gras krewe, the Zulu Coconut Iced Mocha is a must this Carnival season. 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.
"Other" King Cakes
Ice cream, chocolate, and more
King Cake Mile High Pie — There's a saying that goes: "where there's cake, there's ice cream" and at Jack Rose, this couldn't be more true. A creative twist on their signature dessert, the King Cake Mile High Pie is a multi-colored layer concoction of ube, mango, and pistachio ice creams with coconut merengue and a coconut-cornflake crumble. This is topping our list of king cakes to try this season.
Copeland's of New Orleans — Copeland's announced it's newest Carnival-inspired desserts: Mardi Gras King Cake Rum Cream Bread Pudding and King Cake Cheesecake. Have the best of both worlds with two desserts in one.
District Donuts.Sliders.Brew — The only thing better than a king cake might be a king cake donut like the ones they serve up around this time of year at District. It even comes topped with a baby!
Saba's Babka King Cake — New Orleans culture meets this traditional Jewish dessert with Saba's babka king cake. Ooey, gooey, and dripping in caramel, this cake is available for local pickup and shipping nationwide.
New Orleans Ice Cream's King Cake Ice Cream — Need some ice cream to go with your king cake? Well, how about a pint of king cake ice cream from this local creamery. It's rich cinnamon ice cream with a creole cream cheese flavored swirl, packed full of king cake pieces — drool-worthy if you ask us.
Piety & Desire's King Cake Bon Bons — Almost too pretty to eat, these bon bons from local chocolatier Piety & Desire are just one of several Carnival-themed confections. It's milk chocolate king cake ganache with notes of cinnamon and lemon in a dark chocolate shell - yum!
The Big Book of King Cake — Now, this is something you can enjoy even once king cake season ends. The Big Book of King Cake features all your favorite king cakes in all their glory. It'll surely give you ideas for what to try next.
Get Your King Cakes Here
One stop shops for multiple king cakes
King Cake Connection — Serving as a hub for Black-owned bakeries, King Cake Connection premiered this year and features cakes from 11 different businesses. The King Cake Connection is at Seven Three Distilling. It is open Wednesday/Thursday 12-6 p.m. and Friday/Saturday 12-7 p.m.
King Cake Hub — Returning for another year, King Cake Hub features over 16 bakery partners with king cakes in a variety of flavors, plus king cake ice cream, Mardi Gras apparel, and king cake books. The hub is located at Zony Mash Beer Project and is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.