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Food & Drink

The Ultimate New Orleans King Cake Guide

Whether you crave something classic, creative, savory, or sippable, we’ve got the best of all things king cake this Mardi Gras.

The Caramel Crunch King Cake at Willa Jean (Photo courtesy of Willa Jean)
- Photo by Willa Jean

Ed. note: this post was published in Feb 2020, and as a result may contain some outdated information. Please see our most current post on king cakes, on our main site, NewOrleans.com for the most up to date info on this delicious tradition. Thanks!

Eating a king cake before or after Carnival is sacrilege here in New Orleans, which is why you can bet we indulge from Twelfth Night (January 6) through Mardi Gras Day. We’re getting y’all ready for the season with our roundup of all things king cake. Without further ado, here’s our list, whether you crave something classic, creative, savory, or sippable. Happy Carnival, y’all!

Randazzo’s King Cake (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Classic King Cakes

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Antoine’s Famous Cakes — Venture over to the West Bank or Metr’y and get yourself one of our favorite classic king cakes at Antoine’s. They also offer custom king cakes, and deliver. Yup, you don’t even have to leave your house to get your King Cake fix. 1300 Stumpf Blvd. and 3030 Severn Avenue.

Manny Randazzo King Cakes — Using an original recipe that dates back 50 years, Randazzo’s king cakes are a fan favorite. Pick up a cake (or three) at their outpost in Metairie. 3515 N. Hullen St.

Haydel’s Bakery — Their original cake comes in a variety of shapes and colors, but you can order special Christmas and Saints-themed king cakes as well. This year, be on the lookout for the much-anticipated éclair king cake, featuring a glossy dark chocolate coating. 4037 Jefferson Hwy.

Dong Phuong These king cakes were so popular last year, you were lucky if you got your hands on one. Choose from classic cinnamon, cream cheese, strawberry, coconut, or pecan this Mardi Gras season. Order online here. 14207 Chef Menteur Hwy.

Caluda’s King Cake— With unique flavors such as chocolate chip cookie dough, bananas foster, and Oreo cream cheese rotating each week during the Mardi Gras season, you’ll have the chance to sink your teeth into something new over and over again. Trust us, you’ll be back at this shop more than once this Carnival season. 1536 River Oaks Rd.

Green Fork — As far as “healthy” goes when put in front of the words “king cake,” there aren’t many options. Luckily at Green Fork, their vegan and gluten-free king cakes are here to save the day. 1400 Prytania St. and 1021 Veterans Blvd.

Bywater Bakery King Cake (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Bywater Bakery — This bakery offers 11 different flavors of king cake. Flavors include a cheesecake king cake, a chantilly-filled cake, Azul Dulce blueberry, and a savory crawfish king cake topped with colorful Parmesan cheese. 3624 Dauphine St.

Heavenly Sweets Bakery — This Gentilly bakery has all the classics, including traditional and filled king cakes. 5242 Elysian Fields Ave.

Shake Sugary It’s sugar overload at this bakery in the Bywater, and Mardi Gras is no different. Stop in for a variety of flavors this Carnival season. 3304 St Claude Ave.

Eat Fit King Cake (Photo by Swerve Sweetened)

Eat Fit King Cake Those looking to stick to their healthy new year’s resolutions will appreciate the Eat Fit King Cake, a a mini 11-oz bundt-style king cake that’s gluten-free, grain-free, dairy free, sugar-free, low-carb, and even Keto-approved. It’s available at local retailers like Robert Fresh Market, Langenstein’s, and Whole Foods. You can also order online here.

Laurel Street Bakery — Indulge in just a slice of Laurel Street Bakery’s king cake, or splurge for the whole thing. Either way, you’re in for a treat. 2701 S Broad St. 

La Boulangerie — Arguably the most classic of the bunch, La Boulangerie’s king cake takes it way back to the original French gallette des rois. No colorful frosting here (although they do offer those, too). Just buttery, flaky puff pastry with dense almond cream. 4600 Magazine St.

The Caramel Crunch King Cake at Willa Jean (Photo courtesy of Willa Jean)

Creative King Cakes

Beyond cinnamon or cream-filled, these cakes are big on unique flavors.

Willa Jean — This year’s specialty king cake at Willa Jean is the Caramel Crunch King Cake. This cake is almost too beautiful to eat with its perfect cream cheese frosting petals. Orders must be placed online 48 hours in advance, and then picked up on location. 611 O’Keefe Ave.

Gracious Bakery — Choose from traditional or try one of Gracious Bakery’s creative flavors, like Cherries Jubilee with cherry and rum filling or Moon Pie with chocolate schmear, graham crumbs, marshmallow fluff, and chocolate chips. Multiple locations

Cochon Butcher — At Cochon, their “Elvis” variety is a perennial favorite with peanut butter, banana, and house-cured bacon topped with marshmallow. 930 Tchoupitoulas St.

District: Donuts.Sliders.Brews — This shop known for its outrageous donuts is back with two new king cakes this season. The “Old School” King Cake is a pillowy soft brioche bread topped with light icing and dusted with sanding sugar. The “New School” King Cake is a Danish-style dough lightly spiced with cinnamon and a touch of cream cheese. Multiple locations

The Press Street Gardens Satsuma Almond King Cake care of NOCCA. (Photo: Elizabeth McMillan)

NOCCA — Once again, NOCCA’s Culinary Arts department is offering its take on this seasonal, sugary treat with the Satsuma Almond King Cake. Layers of flaky puff pastry with rich almond paste and cream cheese, with a bright, refreshing, citrus filling with local satsumas. These king cakes are perfect for serving at parties, gifting, or for enjoying at home with family. You can pick one up at the King Cake Hub in Mid-City. 4800 Canal St. 

Maurice French Pastries — Jean-Luc’s specialty king cakes are a must-try at Maurice French Pastries. This year’s specialty king cakes include Bourbon Street, a creamy chocolate custard flavored with Kentucky bourbon, toasted pecans, and Chantilly cream; Pontchatoula, filled with Bavarian cream and fresh strawberries; Woodland Plantation, a Bavarian praline cream with praline morsels, Southern Comfort liquor, and Chantilly cream; and General Foster, Bananas Foster folded into vanilla and Chantilly cream. 3501 Hessmer Ave., Metairie

Breads on Oak — All traditional and filled King Cakes are both organic and vegan at this Uptown bakery. Boasting natural ingredients and coloring, you can indulge without feeling quite so guilty. Test out the new VooDoo king cake with ghost and cayenne peppers from Louisiana Pepper Exchange. 8640 Oak St.

Saba — The Babka King Cake from Chef Alon Shaya is cinnamon-pomegranate flavored with salted caramel and cinnamon streusel. It’s ooey, gooey, and available for pick-up at Saba. Order online in advance here. 5757 Magazine St.

New Orleans Cake Cafe & Bakery — At this quaint neighborhood cafe and bakery, you’ll find king cakes in traditional, apple goat cheese, raspberry cream cheese, and pecan cream cheese. 2440 Chartres St.

Joe’s Café King Cakes — Joe’s traditional king cakes are light and fluffy, but they also introduce a new flavor every year. This year, it’s Joe’s Original Pecan Turtle King Cake with Holland caramel cream and chocolate ganache. 3616 N Causeway Blvd.

frey-king-cake-milkshake
The king cake milkshake at Frey Smoke Meat Co. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Sippable King Cakes

Coffee or cocktails: have your king cake and sip it, too.

Carnival Cocktail at Josephine Estelle – Beverage director Ryan Anderson (previously of NYC’s The Grill), offers a limited-time carnival cocktail that features brandy, rum, amaretto, cinnamon and a touch of butter extract for some extra volume. The cocktail is garnished with a rim of purple, green and yellow sugar sprinkles. Is there a better way to celebrate?

King Cake Milkshake at Frey Smoked Meat Co. — This Mid-City eatery prides itself on its barbecue plates and hearty sides, but their seasonal king cake milkshake is a showstopper. It’s quite the daunting treat, and we recommend grabbing a friend – or two – to share this dessert with you (which comes complete with a slice of king cake on top, of course). 4141 Bienville St.

King Cake Bevvy at Bourbon House — The delicious King Cake Bevvy at Bourbon House is a cousin of the Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch featuring a dusting of purple, green, and gold sprinkles to the top of the drink. Vanilla ice cream, almond syrup, cinnamon, orange, and Old New Orleans Rum make this drink utterly delicious. This year, the Bevvy celebrates ten years. 144 Bourbon St.

King Cake Mardi Gras Sangria Copper Vine steps out with the King Cake Mardi Gras Sangria, which features New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum, Pinot Grigio, Mardi Gras Simple Syrup, and lime, garnished with sugared colored rim. 1001 Poydras St.

French Truck Coffee — Lemony, fruity, well-rounded, and creamy are terms used to describe the French Truck Coffee Mardi Gras Blend known as Big Chief. You’re going to need a lot of coffee to get through the carnival season. You can order the blend here. Multiple locations

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 Mochassippi for a frozen treat. Multiple locations

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.

Mardi Gras Sidecar — This cocktail is made with fresh lemon juice, brandy, Cointreau, and a lemon twist. It’s available all season long at Commander’s Palace. 1403 Washington Ave.

Neutral Ground Side At Compère Lapin, try the Neutral Ground Side cocktail, a King Cake-infused Brazilian Rum, Local Chicory Liqueur, and Roasted Marshmallow concoction that’ll have you coming back for more. 535 Tchoupitoulas St.

Ticket to Mardi Gras This is one of three Mardi Gras-inspired drinks from Jewel of the South. Ticket to Mardi Gras features Hibiscus-infused Vodka, lime, and Fevertree Ginger Beer. There’s also the Lord of Misrule, which promises to be a mischievous marriage of Cocchi Rosa, Aperol Honey, lime juice, and Comte de Lafayette with two sinfully marinated grapes dropped into the mix. Their final Mardi Gras cocktail, Carnival Time, is a real party starter of Herbsaint, lemon, Orgeat, and lemon bitters that honors Al Johnson’s classic anthem bearing the same name. 1026 Saint Louis St.

Disco Punch — Experience this one-of-a-kind party starter at Jack Rose and Bayou Bar in side the Pontchartrain Hotel. Mount Gay Rum, Bigallet China-China Liqueur, Suze Liqueur, Falernum, and lime juice topped with Prosecco is the name of the game with Disco Punch. The large format, which serves six to 12 people, will be available at Jack Rose while the by the glass option will be available for a limited time at Bayou Bar. 2031 St. Charles Ave.

Carnival Cocktail — The Carnival Cocktail from Josephine Estelle is a mix of brandy, rum, and amaretto topped off with a little butter extract. The cocktail is garnished with a rim of purple, green, and yellow sugar sprinkles. 600 Carondelet St.

King Cake Martini — The King Cake Martini from Poydras & Peters is made with local Taaka King Cake Vodka, Nocello, Baileys, and a dash of half & half. The rim is decorated with purple, green and/or gold sugar, and garnished with a cinnamon stick. You may even find a traditional plastic baby fève on the rim, which would make you the designated “king” or “queen” of the evening…but next round is also on you! 300 Poydras St. 

Carnival cocktails from SoBou (Photo courtesy of SoBou)

SoBou Carnival Cocktails — Travel to Venice, Rio de Janiero, and New Orleans with a suite of deliciously festive cocktails from SoBou’s Bar Chef Amanda Thomas. The tropical Rio uses natural fruit flavors to ring in the season; the light, bubbly and over-the-top Venice cocktail is topped with chocolate cotton candy; and the classic New Orleans combines local favorite Sazerac Rye with Allspice Dram and a splash of Crème de Cacao Liqueur for an authentic NOLA confection. 310 Chartres St. 

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. The PJ’s Coffee Mardi Gras menu this year features the Zulu Coconut Iced Mocha. Multiple locations

King Cake Brews from Abita — Pure, Louisiana cane sugar (lots of it) and artesian spring water are the basis of the King Cake Soda from Abita. The taste is reminiscent of frosting and cinnamon dough. Pick up a six-pack at any local grocery store. Or, if you prefer a brewsky, wait until you get a taste of their malty, full-bodied German Lager. Find the Mardi Gras Bock 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.

Grocery Store King Cakes

Because there’s nothing wrong with picking up a king cake when you’re making groceries.

Breaux Mart This locally owned and operated grocery store offers different types of king cake, from unfilled to praline-covered. Pick up a gallon of Blue Bell Mardi Gras King Cake ice cream while you’re there. Locations Uptown and in Metairie

Whole Foods Market — Even if it isn’t healthy, you’ll at least feel healthy indulging in this (probably) GMO-free king cake. Locations in Mid-City, Uptown, and Metairie

Rouses Market — This is aways an affordable way to please a crowd. Pick up a packaged cake at your nearest Rouses, but remember to hide the baby inside before you dig in (it hangs out, totally naked, in the center of the cake to avoid any choking hazards).

King Cake Beignets (Photo courtesy of SoBou)

A King Cake by Another Name

Sweet samplings ideal for the non-traditionalists. 

King Cake Beignets — These buttermilk drop beignets are topped with ginger-whipped frosting, Dixie crystals, and carnival sprinkles from SoBou. 310 Chartres St.

Ace Hotel New Orleans
The King Cake scone is available at Josephine Estelle and Stumptown. (Photo: Ace Hotel New Orleans)

King Cake Scones – Josephine Estelle baker Breanne Kostyk brings back her popular King Cake Scones for the second year in a row this year. These festival treats are made with cream cheese, cinnamon and vanilla. and decorated with traditional Mardi Gras colored sprinkles. They’re available at the restaurant and nearby Stumptown. 600 Carondelet St.

King Cake Profiterole — This dessert from Palace Café is practically fit for a king (or a queen). The King Cake Profiterole is a cream puff with praline croquantine custard filling and a citrus sauce, arriving just in time for Mardi Gras. 605 Canal St.

Tarte Tropezienne  Tableau’s Tarte Tropezienne gets a King Cake twist with with brioche, whipped citrus-infused custard, cinnamon almond flour crumble, and a rum glaze. 616 St. Peter St.

King Cake Gelato and Mardi Gras Cannoli — This duo from Brocato’s puts a Mardi Gras twist on Italian favorites. 214 N Carrollton Ave.

King Cake Scone Josephine Estelle baker Breanne Kostyk brings back her popular King Cake Scones for the second year in a row. For the festival, Breanne creates King Cake Scones made with cream cheese, cinnamon, and vanilla. Decorated with traditional Mardi Gras colored sprinkles, the scones are available at both the restaurant and the nearby Stumptown (610 Carondelet St.). 600 Carondelet St.

King Cake Macarons (Photo courtesy of Grey Bird Baking Co./ Taylor Moore)

King Cake Macarons The King Cake Macarons from Grey Bird Baking Co. are the perfect treat for those looking for the taste of traditional King Cake in a bite-sized package. Order online here.

King Cake Pâté à Choux — This dessert from Station 6 features king cake gelato from Piccola Gelateria, amaretto icing, and colorful sprinkles. 105 Metairie-Hammond Hwy.

Brûléed King Cake Cheesecake King cake cheesecake? Indulge in the Brûléed King Cake Cheesecake with cinnamon cookie crust and a citrus glaze from Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse. 716 Iberville St.

Trio of Almond Citrus TrufflesFor a light bite of Mardi Gras goodness, stop at Bourbon House for these truffles with orange almond cream. Each order comes with a mini king’s crown. 144 Bourbon St.

King Cake Donut — Returning again this Carnival season is the King Cake donut at District Donuts. Pairs well with the shop’s excellent coffee selections. Multiple locations

King Cake Bread Pudding — Copper Vine puts a twist on the traditional king cake with the King Cake Bread Pudding. This dessert features cinnamon, brandy and Creole cream cheese ice cream, and Mardi Gras colored sugar. 1001 Poydras St.

Levee Baking Co. Queen Cake — The Queen Cake from Levee Baking Co. is made with a pecan satsuma filling stuffed inside a handmade puff pastry. Instead of the classic baby that you’d find in king cakes, the Queen Cake will feature handmade figurines known as French fèves. Each week, there will be a different fève such as fava bean and moon pie. 3138 Magazine St, Ste D 

Poydras & Peters King Cake à la Mode 2020 (Photo credit: Loews New Orleans Hotel)

King Cake à la Mode In partnership with Crème Fraiche Café & Patisserie, Poydras & Peters is offering brioche-style king cake served with a scoop of vanilla gelato from Piccola Gelateria. 300 Poydras St.

King Cake Cannoli — Arabella Casa Di Pasta in the Marigny adds new textures to king cake flavors with its crisp on the outside and custard-y on the inside cannoli. No baby, but an elegant dusting of purple, green, and gold sugar will do just fine. 2258 St Claude Ave.

King Cake Tres Leches — Meril puts a Latin spin on the traditional king cake with its tres leches iteration. Cinnamon sponge cake and whipped cream offer a sublime texture with familiar (and delicious) flavors. 424 Girod St.

Doberge King Cake — The New Orleans-style layer cake from Debbie Does Doberge dons a special king cake update during the season. Order online here and pick it up from Bakery Bar. 1179 Annunciation St.

King Cakes: Come one, come all

Stop by these spots that feature multiple king cakes for purchase

King Cake Hub — At the King Cake Hub, you’ll find eight exclusive king cakes, including some already mentioned in this post, all in one place. Pick up Bywater Bakery’s Chantilly King Cake, Gambino’s Traditional King Cake, Girls Gone Vegan’s Vegan King Cake, and much more. 4800 Canal St.

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