King Cake season officially begins in New Orleans on King’s Day, January 6th. But it reaches an epic height once the floats start rolling with the first parade, Krewe du Vieux. New Orleanians are fiercely loyal people. That applies to their city, their Saints, and which King Cake they buy every year. If they had the legal rights, they would probably fight in court to make King Cake PDO (Protected Designation of Origin).
While the purple, green, and gold icing cake is sacrosanct, there are a few takes on the classic that are welcomed. They just have to be extra delicious. This gallery is a comprehensive guide of New Orleans’ most beloved King Cakes, and the few deviations that are allowed into the club. For those who don’t live in the Big Easy, check out the websites, as many of these bakeries ship across the country. For those in town, sample a bunch of King Cakes on January 31st at the annual King Cake Festival.
Madina Papadopoulos is a New York-based freelance writer, author, and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow her food adventures on Instagram and Twitter.
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Chef John Caluda's King Cakes are not to be missed. These local treasures are a glutton's dreams come true.
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New Orleans' classic French Bakery, La Boulangerie, serves up both the traditional Gateau des Rois and the New Orleans King Cake.
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Haydel's Bakery is famous for its classic NOLA King Cake, but it also has some awesome carnival-inspired delights, like their fudge, popcorn, and Mardi Gras Crunch.
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Randazzo's King Cakes are a local legend.
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Cochon Butcher sticks a piglet instead of a baby inside their savory Elvis King Cakes.
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Westbank's Hi-Do Bakery is known for its intricate King Cake shapes, this one in the fleur-de-lys.
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Gambino's is another local staple for the classic King Cake, but stretch their wings with petit-fours, cake balls, and jester cake.
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Seek out the Food Drunk food truck for their King Cake Burger.
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Coffee lovers can get their caffeine and sugar fix all in one go with PJ's Coffee King Cake-flavored beverages
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The drizzled beauty from Cake Café and Bakery.