The most wonderful time of the year has arrived: Mardi Gras season in New Orleans. The hype produced by the Big Easy’s biggest event of the year is unrivaled by any other celebration throughout the country. Portrayed by the media as being concentrated in the French Quarter and teeming with tourists, Mardi Gras is actually a month long family affair that fills New Orleans with a sense of anticipation and the aromas of freshly baked king cake.
Bakeries around the city create unique renditions of this staple pastry, which is only featured in the month leading up to Mardi Gras. This year’s King Cake Festival, which took place on the weekend leading up to the main parades, brought together the best vendors in the city. Here are some of our favorites from the day:
1. King Cake Burger from Food Drunk NOLA
Food Drunk NOLA nailed it with this killer sweet and savory rendition. The fresh house angus brisket burger sandwiched by a brioche bun was topped with frosting and sprinkles to add the perfect amount of king cake flair.
2. Almond Cream Cheese King Cake from Broad Street Baking Co. & Cafe
Brought to us by Broad Street Baking Co. & Cafe, this king cake version had a great flavor ratio between the almond cream cheese, fluffy cake middle, and the light frosting.
3. Woodland Plantation King Cake from Maurice’s French Pastries
Filled with bavarian praline cream with praline morsels, flavored with Southern Comfort Liquor and Chantilly cream, this decadent dessert was brought to us by none other than Maurice’s French Pastries. There’s a reason why this vendor has won the People’s Choice Award for the past two years.
4. King Cake Donuts from Terrytown Cafe
Terrytown Cafe put a twist on the traditional cake form by taking the donut route. Their risk paid off, and the lightness of the dough offered a nice reprieve to the denser traditional version. Complete with the lucky baby in the center, these donuts didn’t disappoint.
5. Caribbean Banoffi Spiced Curry King Cake from Hyatt Regency
Provided by the adjacent Hyatt Regency bakery, this king cake impressed us with its unique flavors and its blend of tradition and creativity. Topped with a curried coconut crumble and drizzled in a banana toffee frosting, this sample left us wanting more.
The food is also accompanied by quality live music from local jazz bands, as well as an opportunity to stock up on some Mardi gear before the big weekend. To add to the perks, it is near the parade route, so it gives the perfect opportunity to fill up before heading out for the day. This festival is a can’t miss event; you could even say it ‘takes the cake.’