Even though parades are canceled, the spirit of Carnival lives on through other local traditions — especially king cake.
Many local bakeries are proving that you can’t cancel king cake by finding ways to make the Carnival treat more safely accessible. This season, some bakeries will offer pre-orders, curbside pickup, local delivery and national delivery for the first time.
Some bakers are also launching new creations during this season that always inspires some of the best creativity.
Here’s a look at some new king cakes rolling out for the 2021 Carnival season.
It’s another history-making moment for the famed French Quarter restaurant known as the birthplace of Bananas Foster.
Executive corporate pastry chef Brett Gauthier and the culinary team joins the parade of king cakes in New Orleans as newcomers with three different varieties: traditional, the “Pink Parade” king cake and the “Black and Gold” chocolate king cake.
Each king cake starts with the same dough, with a light, fluffy, yet moist, brioche texture. However, a unique, natural process called tangzhong, with origins in Japan, allows the cake to remain fresh for an entire week without any additives.
King cake lovers can order Brennan’s king cakes online for nationwide shipping or for local pick-up.
Brennan’s offers several options for local pickup from Jan. 6 to Feb. 15: Brennan’s Restaurant, Ralph’s on the Park, Café NOMA and King Cake Hub.
According to a release, other select specialty retailers in the New Orleans Metro area will also sell the king cakes. Customers can order for delivery via D’Livery Nola.
Gracious Bakery + Café
Each year, Gracious Bakery surprises king cake lovers with new, specialty flavors. This year, the team debuts a Bananas Foster king cake.
Inspired by the New Orleans-born dessert, the king cake is filled with rum-doused cinnamon brown sugar and topped with banana and caramel glazes, gold leaf and Valrhona crunchy chocolate balls.
Gracious Bakery says it will only sell its Bananas Foster flavor in retail stores.
Another new addition to Gracious Bakery’s offerings this season is a new packaged king cake kit for people to bake and decorate their own cakes at home. Gracious is selling the kits online and at other local stores.
The bakery also brings back its Queen Cake with almond paste, chocolate-filled king cake and galettes des rois.
Gracious Bakery has three locations in the New Orleans area.
New Orleans boutique bakery and dessert shop Sucre resurrects its famed king cake this Carnival.
More than a year after closing doors, Sucre reopened its original flagship Magazine Street location in December 2020.
Now operating under new female ownership, the bakery didn’t waste any time bringing back its sparkly king cake and king cake macaroons.
Sucre’s Instagrammable king cake gained popularity over the years for its rich, brioche texture and shimmery, glazed exterior.
Business owner Ayesha Motwani and executive pastry chef Ashley Macmillan said the bakery will retain all the original flavors and recipes.
“We are reviving a beloved New Orleans classic, transformed as a destination dessert and coffee boutique with a sophisticated new atmosphere,” owners said in a statement about their reopening.
This year, customers can only purchase the king cake from the original Magazine Street location, and shipping won’t be available.
King Cake Hub
The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts partners with chef Steve Himelfarb of Cake Café to offer the bakery’s popular Goat Cheese and Apple King Cake as well as a brand-new Café-Au-Lait king cake.
Himelfarb’s beloved king cake featured a filling of goat cheese and fresh, sliced apples inside a sweet dough and topped with bright squiggles of purple, gold and green icing.
The new Café-Au-Lait king cake comes filled with cream cheese and three kinds of New Orleans’ own French Truck Coffee.
The king cakes are available at King Cake Hub, as well as the NOCCA Institute and French Truck Coffee.
Bywater Bakery is known for incorporating signature twists on classic sweets into its cutting-edge king cakes.
Owner Chaya Conrad, known for her iconic Chantilly cake creation, has a new addition to her line of king cakes this season.
For 2020, the bakery debuts a new lemon cream flavor. The bakery also brings back its Azul Dulce Blueberry King Cake, which debuted in 2019, along with other filled king cakes from past years. Conrad’s savory line with crawfish, boudin and spinach and artichoke king cakes also make a return trip.
For the first time, Bywater Bakery also offers shipping this year.
Levee Baking Co.
This is the second Carnival season for Levee Baking Co. at its Magazine Street cafe.
In addition to bringing back its pecan citrus queen cake, Levee’s version of the French galette de rois, the bakery says it’s planning a few specials in coming weeks.
Owner Christina Balzebre says look out for a queen cake with lemon almond filling and a classic cinnamon king cake with dulce de leche.
Levee Baking Co. is also known for including a special, handmade ceramic fève from local artist Jackie Brown instead of the traditional plastic baby.
The Station Coffee Shop & Bakery
The Station Coffee Shop and Bakery rolls out personal-sized king cakes this Carnival.
One new king cake offering for 2020 is coconut cream with chocolate chips. The bakery also brings back its savory muffuletta king cake, strawberry with balsamic glaze and “kouign” cake — a kouign-amann rolled in cinnamon sugar.
The Station Coffee Shop says cakes will also available to try by the slice soon. Personal-sized king cakes serve approximately six slices each. Customers can also place an order three days in advance for a larger-sized cake.
Breads on Oak
The vegan king cake experts at Breads on Oak adds a newbie to the roster this season.
Co-owner Chamain O’Mahony says the bakery plans to debut a Baileys and Cream king cake.
The new king cake features a filling of Baileys almond milk liqueur with a plant-based, house-made Bavarian cream inside a plant-based cinnamon king cake. The king cake is topped with a maple glaze and plant-based Mardi Gras colors.
Over the years, Breads on Oak has become known for its organic, vegan king cakes. Even the Mardi Gras colors on top are made of natural plant-based ingredients, with an almond in lieu of a plastic baby. The bakery also breaks the mold by infusing alcohol into their adult double filled cakes.
Know about any other interesting king cakes? Tell us about the hottest new king cakes this season here. Bakers, let us know about your king cake plans for the 2021 Carnival season!
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