The start of Carnival season brings along a parade of king cakes. Many king cake lovers stick to their traditional favorites. However, many local bakeries are launching new, exciting creations that put an interesting spin on the New Orleans tradition. If you're ready to walk on the wild side of king cakes, dare to try these over-the-top concoctions.
"Elvis" King Cake
Cochon Butcher’s “Elvis” king cake pays homage to the late pop icon’s birthday on Jan. 8. Just like the “King of Rock and Roll,” this king cake doesn’t play by the rules. It comes filled with peanut butter and banana. Then, the cake is topped with house-cured bacon, marshmallow and traditional Mardi Gras sprinkles. Cochon also makes a clever swap for a tiny plastic pig with their king cake instead of the traditional baby. Cochon sells the “Elvis” daily by the slice or as a large special order cake for $40 with a required 24-hours notice. Photo courtesy: Cochon Butcher
Valrhona Caramelized Milk Chocolate + Espresso King Cake
Calling all chocolate lovers! Over at Willa Jean, chef/partner Kelly Fields switches things up with a new non-traditional king cake. The cake has several folded layers of rich chocolate and brioche. Then, it’s topped with pieces of chocolate, painted with gold honeycomb designs. Willia Jean serves slices for $6. You can purchase a whole cake for $32, but customers must order two days in advance. Photo courtesy: Willa Jean
Vegan Adult Filled King Cakes
The king cakes at Breads on Oak are both organic and vegan. Even the Mardi Gras colors on top are made of natural plant-based ingredients, with an almond in lieu of a plastic baby. Aside from their plain and filled varieties, this bakery takes king cakes up a notch with their “spirited” adult king cakes. The adult filled options include Bourbon Tiramisu, Champagne Orange, Strawberry Rum Cheese Cake and Persimmon Whiskey Pecan. Breads on Oak sells its adult filled cake for $30. Photo courtesy: Breads on Oak
Boudin King Cake
Over in the Marigny, New Orleans Cake Cafe & Bakery serves up a bite-sized king cake with a Cajun twist. This interesting option mixes sweet and savory. It comes stuffed with boudin and topped with crisp, candied bacon. A generous drizzle of local cane syrup from Three Brothers Farm tops it off. If you’re looking for more adventure, the spot also serves an apple goat cheese cake. Photo courtesy: Cake Cafe & Bakery
Nectar Cream King Cake
If you’re a fan of nectar cream snowballs, Gracious Bakery + Cafe has a treat for you this year. The spot rolls out a New Orleans-inspired nectar cream king cake this Carnival season. Instead of the traditional Mardi Gras colors, this cake comes dusted pink with edible white chocolate pearls. You can purchase this cake for $25 each, plus tax. If you’re looking for more, try out their “queen cake” filled with almond frangipan or their Meyer lemon curd filled king cake as well. Photo courtesy: Gracious Bakery + Cafe
Crawfish King Cake
Take a bite out of a crawfish king cake from the krewe at Cartozzo’s Bakery — one of the pioneers of savory king cakes in New Orleans. This king cake packs a signature crawfish filling in a golden brioche bread. Then, the cake finished off with a topping of purple, green and gold dyed parmesan cheese. The krewe also offers a Muffuletta king cake. Photo courtesy: Cartozzo’s Bakery
Cinnamon Babka King Cake
The namesake restaurant of James Beard Award-winning chef Alon Shaya also hops into the king cake parade this year. The new pastry chef at Shaya, Bronwen Wyatt, creates a Cinnamon Babka King Cake topped with a sea salt caramel glaze. The restaurant’s first king cake was designed with a rich, spicy blend to complement the similarities between king cake and babka. In lieu of a baby, Shaya provides customers with pomegranates to be stuck into the cake. These king cakes are only offered for a limited time from Feb. 1 to Feb. 27. Customers can call to order by phone and pick-up in store. Photo courtesy: Shaya
Are there other interesting king cakes out there? If you would like to let Nola Weekend know, feel free to drop us a line.