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Manny Randazzo's King Cake
Manny Randazzo's King Cake
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KING CAKES

Mardi Gras: eat king cake, find the king cake baby, buy the next king cake, and repeat

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.

Rebecca Todd
King Cake Festival

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.

Paul Broussard, NOTMC
Dong Phuong Pecan-Filled King Cake

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.

Can I Make King Cake at Home?

Yes! You can definitely start a tradition of making your own king cakes at home with your loved ones. Check out Sucre’s award-winning king cake recipe for inspiration this Mardi Gras season. Voted "A Favorite" by the Times-Picayune King Cake Contest and "BEST" King Cake by a Washington Post blind taste test. Sucre's signature buttery danish pastry is sweetened by cinnamon and raw cane sugar then folded with a light layer of creole cream cheese.

Gracious Bakery's King Cake Recipe

Dough

  • 180 grams bread flour
  • 54 grams all purpose flour
  • 129 grams whole milk
  • 24 grams granulated sugar
  • 21 grams whole eggs
  • 4 grams direct instant yeast
  • 4 grams salt
  • 2 grams malt powder
  • 35 grams butter, cut in 1/4 " chunks

In the bowl of a standing mixer, put the flours, yeast, salt and malt. Put the bowl on the mixer fitted with the dough hook. Pour in the eggs and milk. Mix on Speed 1 for 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on, stream in the sugar. Mix on speed 1 for minutes. Stop the mixer and add the butter. Now mix on speed 2 for 2 minutes.

Spray a medium sized bowl with non-stick spray. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 12 hours/overnight.

Filling

  • 170 grams sugar
  • 47 grams bread flour
  • 2 grams salt
  • 10 grams cinnamon
  • 20 grams vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. 

Icing

  • 445 grams confectioner's sugar
  • 15 grams corn syrup
  • 118 grams water

Whisk together thoroughly all of the ingredients for icing in a mixing bowl. Make sure there are no lumps. Best to do this while the cake is baking.

Assembly

The next day, roll the dough out on a floured surface to 3" by 20" rectangle. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar all over the dough. Roll up from long seam, creating one long roll. Pinch the ends together. Place king cake on a parchment lined sheet pan for 1.5 to 2 hours, in a warm place, and covered with a dishtowel. Preheat over to 350F.

When cake is fully poofed, remove dishtowel and bake in oven at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. 

When cooled, glaze with icing, and decorate with purple, green and gold decoration.

Recipe courtesy of Gracious Bakery - www.graciousbakery.com 
Megan Forman
Gracious Bakery King Cake

WHERE TO BUY KING CAKES

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