Happy (almost) Mardi Gras!! With Mardi Gras being the day before Valentine’s Day this year, we have a lot of excitement to look forward to the second week of February. So to get ready, how about 2 king cake recipes (one easy and one a little bit more labor-intensive) AND a round-up of all the amazing king cakes here in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, AND New Orleans? You know, just in case you want to just pick up a king cake instead…
King Cake Recipes
Easy King Cake Casserole Bake
My mom made a french toast bake version this year for Christmas, and talk about delicious and easy-peasy! Because your normal grocery store is unlikely to have brioche, head to you local bakery or specialty food store (like Whole Foods) and pick up a brioche loaf. Simply slice and use in the recipe!
- 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened (optional)
- 1 loaf brioche bread
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Colored sugar (purple, green, yellow) for sprinkling
- For the icing:
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons + 1 to 2 teaspoons milk, enough to make a thick but pour-able glaze
Melt your butter in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted. Then add brown sugar and stir thoroughly. Pour it into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan and spread into an even layer. Beat your eggs, milk, vanilla, and cream cheese (cream cheese optional) until smooth, and set aside. Slice and lay a single layer of your brioche in the pan on top of brown sugar/butter mixture.
Spoon 1/2 of egg mixture on bread layer, then add 2nd layer of brioche, then spoon on remaining egg mixture. Cover & chill in fridge overnight (or a few hours until you’re ready to bake!). Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes (covered for the first 30 minutes). While that’s baking, prep your icing. Once casserole is done cooking, allow it to cool before drizzling your icing. Sprinkle with colored sugar and serve!
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Traditional King Cake
This recipe is a little more complicated, so you’ve been warned! If you’re the type that boils water, you should 100% start off with the easy recipe first!
- For the cake:
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) Quick Rise yeast
- 1 cup milk (120º to 130º)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, cut into 12 pieces
- For the filling:
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
- dark green, purple, and yellow or gold sugars
Add 2 1/2 cups flour and yeast in mixing bowl and, using the paddle attachment, mix on low for about 30 seconds just to gently mix your dry ingredients together.
Heat milk, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and milk is between 120º to 130º F. Once melted, set your mixer on low and pour in liquids and mix until incorporated. Add eggs one at a time. Continue mixing until a shaggy dough forms. Clean off paddle and switch to dough hook. Mix in the remaining 1 cup flour a little at a time, adding more or less flour as needed to make a soft dough. Add the softened butter, kneading thoroughly.
Knead for eight minutes on low. The dough shouldn’t stick to the sides of the bowl at all. If it does, it’s too sticky, and you’ll need to add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing in thoroughly before deciding to add more. If the dough seems too dry/cakey, spritz with water from a spray bottle a couple of times, mixing in thoroughly before adding more. Every few minutes, stop your mixer to scrape the dough off the hook before continuing kneading.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times by hand to be sure it’s smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball. Place dough into a greased bowl. Turn once so greased surface is on top. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. While the dough is chilling, make cinnamon filling. Combine the brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Combine butter with cinnamon mixture and mix well.
Roll the chilled dough into a 10 x 20 inch rectangle. Spread the filling on half of the long side of the dough. Fold the dough in half covering the filling. Pat dough down firmly so the dough will stick together. Cut dough into three long strips using a pizza cutter. Press the tops of the strips together and braid the strips. Press the ends together at the bottom. Gently stretch the braid so that it measures 20 inches again, then move onto a lined or greased baking sheet.
>> You can also skip the braiding process and just roll it up instead! <<
Shape it into a circle/oval and press the edges together, then cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled (about 1 hour). While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350º. Bake the cake until golden brown, 20–35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before icing.
In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth (add additional milk if mixture is too thick or powdered sugar if too thin). Spoon icing over top of the cake. Immediately sprinkle on colored sugar, alternating between the three colors.
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Ultimate King Cake Roundup
Down here in Louisiana, we take our King cake pretty seriously. So if you live in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, or New Orleans, here’s THE ULTIMATE list of amazing king cakes in each city. I even noted which places ship for all you out-of-towners!
Locations noted with (***) offer shipping!
Baton Rouge King Cakes
- Tiger Deaux-nuts: The Mid City doughnut shop offers traditional and special flavors by request in small, medium and large sizes. They even offer a sweet, savory maple bacon king cake! facebook.com/tigerdeauxnuts.
- *** Thee Heavenly Donut: This local doughnut shop calls itself the home of the fried king cake, filling its doughnut-like version with everything from sweet to savory. Defintiely check them out for some crazy cakes! theeheavenlydonut.com.
- Mary Lee Donuts: Various Locations around Baton Rouge. Mary Lee is my donut shop of choice, and with one right around the corner from our house, it’s easy to see why! They offer a variety of fillings or a more traditional cinnamon/sugar, topped with icing and colored sugar. maryleedonuts.com
- *** District Donuts: This recently opened Baton Rouge location of the NOLA doughnut shop offers a king cake doughnut once a week as well as Cuccidati king cakes, with a swirled filling of fig, walnut, date, raisin, orange and spices. districtdonuts.com.
More Traditional Cakes:
- *** The Ambrosia Bakery: A staple in the capital city, this bakery and deli offers traditional and filled styles, king cake kits, and a Zulu king cake with coconut, cream cheese and chocolate. Side note: their fresh strawberry cake is THE BOMB. ambrosiabakery.com.
- Les Amis Bake Shoppe: This tiny little bakery offers a traditional cake as well as king cake cheesecake, cake balls, macarons and bread pudding. lesamisbakeshoppe.com.
- La Divina Italian Cafe: This restaurant and gelateria near the intersection of Perkins Rowe and South Acadian Thruway is known for its gelato, sandwiches, soups and quaint, cozy atmosphere. They also offer smaller, personal-sized versions of king cakes with different flavors. facebook.com/ladivinabatonrouge.
- *** Gambino’s Bakery: Gambino’s is one name that always pops up in when you ask where to find a great king cake. The special recipe has cinnamon infused into the dough and can be filled with cream cheese, pecan praline, and lemon, among many other options. And it’s HUGE so call your friends. With locations also in Lafayette and New Orleans, you can’t go wrong with this one! gambinos.com.
- Gourmet Girls: Katia Mangham’s storefront in the Perkins Road overpass area offers exquisite catering options, cakes and pastries. During Mardi Gras, the shop also offers king cake cookies, mini Brioche cinnamon king cakes (or baby cakes), macarons, cupcakes as well as regular or large king cakes with a variety of flavors, fillings and toppings. gourmetgirlsbr.com.
- Flambée Cafe: Offers a French-fired Mardi Gras pot au feu. The dish uses the restaurant’s Tarte Flambée dough as a base, rolls it up, stuffs it with filling, then tops it with icing and sprinkles. YUM. flambeecafe.com.
- *** Baum’s: Offering sweet treats since 1934, this bakery has a variety of king cake options ranging from sweet to savory. baumspastries.com.
- Calandro’s Supermarket: This local supermarket bakery and deli offers around 50 flavors, from the pretty crazy (and delicious), including a Who Dat (with peanut butter, chocolate and cinnamon) and the Touchdown (Nutella, Bavarian cream and butter pecan), to savory options. calandros.com.
- Rösch Bakehaus: Their specialty king cakes sell out quick. Certain flavors are available weekly for pre-order, and they always have some unique and delicious flavor combinations! tiny.cc/order-bread, facebook.com/rosch.bakehaus.
- *** Strands Cafe: The downtown pastry and coffee shop offers traditional French king cake, or Galette des Rois, as well as more traditional, glazed and sugary Louisiana-style king cake, and seasonal king cake cheesecake and lattes. strandscafe.com.
- Whole Foods: I had their ambrosia king cake recently, and it was oh so good. Definitely check them out if you don’t want to deal with the hassle or pre-ordering a cake! wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/batonrouge.
Lafayette King Cakes
Donut Style Cakes:
- *** Ricky Meche’s Donut King: When talking about King cakes, Meche’s is a popular choice. And with a large variety of fillings, it’s easy to see why! rickeymechesdonuts.com, mecheskingcakes.com.
- *** Cajun Market Donut Company: Another popular option for donut-style cake lovers. This donut shop offers both sweet and savory options! cajunmarketdonutco.com.
- *** Twins: With sweet and savory options and the option to ship, this bakery caters to everyone! Plus they have a ton of delicious sweet treat and lunch specials. twinsburgersandsweets.com.
- Southside Bakery: From burgers to cakes, this bakery offers a little of everything. Obviously their king cakes wouldn’t be any different! With a variety of fillings to choose from, you’ll definitely find something to please everyone! southsidebakery.com.
- Keller’s: A long-time Lafayette favorite, including my dad’s! Their delicious + traditional cakes are sure to please, and they also offer a variety of fillings! kellersbakerydowntown.com.
- *** Poupart’s: Offers both a traditional french king cake and mardi gras cake, and ships! poupartsbakery.com.
- *** Crystal Weddings: While they mainly do wedding cakes throughout the year, things crank up during Mardi Gras season with their king cakes! With a variety of fillings to choose from, you can’t go wrong! crystalweddings.net
New Orleans King Cakes
- Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery: This little bakery on the east side of NOLA offers a huge variety of sweet treats, including their ever-popular king cakes. Definitely worth the short drive out of the city to pick one up! dpbakeshop.com/
- *** Manny Randazzo: Open only during Mardi Gras season since 1965, this crazy-popular bakery will frequently have lines wrapped around the building. randazzokingcake.com/
- Maurice French Pastries: Offers a traditional glazed brioche cake as well as some other non-traditional (but still delicious) ones! mauricefrenchpastries.com/
- Maple St. Patisserie: Offering fillings from sweet to savory and even gluten-free + vegan options, everyone will find something at this little bakery. https://www.facebook.com/maplestpatisserie/
- La Boulangerie: With all sorts of fun and cooky stuffing options, it’s easy to see why this bakery is a NOLA favorite! https://laboulangerienola.com/
- Bywater Bakery: Offers a variety of traditional and non-traditional options, and even sells their cakes by the (giant) slice! https://www.bywaterbakery.com/
- *** Caluda’s: Has a pretty-darn-amazing traditional cake, but their weekly special flavors are what draws a crowd! Cookie dough king cake? Yes please! https://www.kingcakeshop.com/
- *** Haydel’s: Holds the world record for largest king cake – at 8,000 lbs and using over 2,000 gallons of icing, it was definitely a doozie! But their cakes aren’t just huge, they’re delicious too! haydelbakery.com
- Willa Jean: Arguably the prettiest king cakes in NOLA, but definitely some of the tastiest! http://www.willajean.com/
- La Petite Sophie: Serves up some beautiful sandwich-style stuffed cakes, as well as traditional braided ones. Definitely worth the short drive out of town! http://www.lapetitesophie.com/
- *** Bittersweet Confections: 5 words. Chocolate. Cream. Cheese. Stuffed. Cake. Yes please! http://www.bittersweetconfections.com/
Are you ready for Mardi Gras? Want to try some king cake? Let me know!
Comment below or email me at email@example.com!