One of our favorite holidays is around the corner! Fat Tuesday is a cherished holiday for many reasons. For some, it marks the end of Carnival. For others, it marks the beginning of Lent. And for us, it kicks off the triple crown of drinking holidays, followed by St. Paddy’s Day and Cinco de Mayo.
It’s a day all about indulgence. By Fat Tuesday, we have collectively given up on those silly resolutions, paid off (most) of our holiday purchases and we’re ready to treat ourselves.
During King Cake season which runs from Three Kings Day to Fat Tuesday, we treat ourselves to as many king cakes as we can acquire every year. If you’ve never tried king cake, It is a sweet pastry full of gluten that’s braided into a giant ring and topped with disgustingly delicious amounts of icing and sprinkles. Hidden inside every king cake is a tiny plastic baby — because choking hazards are A-OK as long as they bring you luck.
Now that you’re sold on our Mardi Gras tradition, we need to find you a king cake of your own. Not in New Orleans? Neither are we. Thankfully, you don’t have to be in NOLA to get your hands on a slice of cake. Here’s our tried-and-tested plan of attack to put the ‘Fat’ in ‘Fat Tuesday.’
For the freshest cakes, start your search with your local bakeries. A few of our favorite homegrown king cakes have come from Olde Hearth Bread Co. in Audubon Park and Benjamin French Bakery in Thornton Park. (Donut King’s Mardi Gras donut deserves an honorable mention.) Keep in mind Fat Tuesday is just a few days away, so your local mom and pop may have already run out of yellow, green and purple sprinkles!
Most local grocers will carry some type of Mardi Gras dessert on Fat Tuesday. But buyer beware, they’re usually just day-old bundt cakes loaded with cheap candy crystals passing as a legit king cake. With that said, when we’ve been in a pinch we have had many-a-king cakes from Publix and The Fresh Market and they do a dang good job.
Thanks to the Internet, online retailers can ship them to your doorstep. We love you, Internet!
This year we ordered our king cake from Sucré, a New Orlean’s staple. This metallic cake is like a cross between a honey bun and cream cheese coffee cake, plus it ships in Instagram-ready condition. Score! Manny Randazzo and Ambrosia Bakery are a few other mail order options that come highly recommended. But hurry quick if you want to ensure a Fat Tuesday delivery.
Bake It ‘Til You Make It
For those who couldn’t place an online order in time, this is your last resort. Slaving over a hot oven. Tragically this isn’t something we’ve been able to do this year because we’re too busy marketing restaurants. Baking bread is no joke and If you have the time yourself we think you’ll agree it’ll all be worth the work when you get to taste the fruits of your labor.
We have a king cake recipe that we’re just not ready to share publicly yet (we have to keep some secrets). Of course, there is no shortage of king cake recipes out there. The fine folks at Southern Living shared this classic recipe to make a king cake just like a true southern belle. But for those who are cooking inept, there are also some quick and easy recipes that involve canned cinnamon rolls.
Just don’t forget the most important part! The baby, which you can get in two days with Amazon Prime.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!