Despite being in my second year at Tulane, I’ve never quite joined the king cake craze that seems to engulf the city of New Orleans, especially during Mardi Gras. Although I tried it a few times during last year’s carnival season, I was never fully impressed. However, this Mardi Gras I made it my mission to find my favorite king cake shop in the city.
Slices of king cake can be harder to come by than one might expect. Many of the famous king cake shops only sell whole king cakes, of which they run out of quickly every day during this time of year. Since I wanted to try as many as I could without breaking the bank, I tracked down some great spots that sell king cake by the slice or make their own unique king cake.
My absolute favorite slice of king cake that I sampled was from Breads on Oak, an adorable coffee and pastry place not far from campus. The main reason this piece stood out to me is because I don’t like overly sugary treats, and this had just the perfect amount of sweetness. It had a delicious pecan custard filling that set it apart from the other, more classic, king cakes I tried. The creaminess of the filling prevented the cake from tasting too dry and was overall the perfect combination of flavors.
Although the slice from Willa Jean was much different, I also thoroughly enjoyed it. Their gooey cream cheese frosting tasted phenomenal and I could eat that part alone by the spoonful. Getting this slice requires a little more adventuring away from campus but add a few of their famous chocolate chip cookies to the order and it’s absolutely worth it!
I lucked out when one of my professors brought king cake from Dong Phuong to class for us all to sample. Since I couldn’t get my hands on just a slice in my initial search, I was really excited to give it a try. The amount of sprinkles intimidates me and I thought it would be too sugary, but I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first bite. Both the original cinnamon cake and the cream cheese cake were amazing and had the perfect balance of textures and flavors. It’s safe to say this is another favorite!
Antoine’s Famous Cakes and Caluda’s King Cake were the two big-name king cake places that I went in already knowing of. Since they only sell the full cakes in the stores, I researched places I could procure these cakes by the slice.
I came across a piece of Antoine’s king cake at French Press Coffeehouse over in Metairie. Honestly, this slice looked like one the best, but the flavor fell a bit short for me. It was a little dry and really sugary. However, if you have a major sweet tooth, this might be the king cake for you!
At Zara’s Lil’ Giant Supermarket, I got a miniature Caluda’s king cake. This was one of the only cakes without filling, and that made it a little on the dryer side. Interestingly, it had a citrusy tang to it, which gave its flavor a more unique angel. The biggest perk of this king cake: it came with a baby inside!
Overall, trying king cake from all around the city allowed me to explore new parts of New Orleans that I had yet to visit. Although I didn’t love every cake I tried, I found one that truly blew my expectations and I can confidently say I am converted to a king cake lover.
Cover Photo: Whereyat.com