A King Cake recipe for every year I’ve lived in New Orleans – cinnamon-scented, pecan-filled, with yeast or without, super simple to make or deliciously complex. Whether you want your King Cake sweet or savory, your perfect recipe is here. I love dancing in the street every Mardi Gras season but Mardi Gras is also a state of mind. Wherever you find yourself this Carnival season (in the streets of New Orleans with me or not), let there be CAKE. Here are my ten best recipes, plus a lagniappe because I love you.
• I made this Classic King Cake when I first moved to New Orleans and lived deep down in the French Quarter. I’d come home from the grocery and find beads mysteriously thrown on my balcony because a random parade had passed. It was a magical time and this remains a magical cake.
• The same sort of enriched buttery dough can make a same but different Pull Apart King Cake. This rendition is sheets of dough stacked with butter, cinnamon and sugar baked in a cast iron skillet. This cake is very sharable without even so much as a knife because the sheets of cooked dough just peel away. If you don’t need a party-sized King Cake situation, these Small Batch Pull Apart King Cake Muffins make for a festive weekend treat.
• Traditional French King Cakes are different from the cinnamon-forward twisted American cakes. Galette des Rois are made with puff pastry and a sweet and fragrant almond filling. Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I like to make my galettes with either pecans (because they’re native to Louisiana) or pistachios (because they’re just lovely). You can absolutely buy an all-butter puff pastry from the freezer section of your grocery, though a rough puff pastry is fun to make a mess with at home. Make either a whole cake or Galette des Rois Cookies – both are super impressive.
• Ok so you don’t have a sweet tooth. Honestly, congratulations. I still want cake for you but let’s sub the cinnamon sugar with sausage and onions. It’s giving jambalaya inside a whole mess of dough. These Sausage Rolls are smeared with cream cheese and topped with garlic butter and I promise at least one person will try to tuck of those these pillows into their pocket. You might also consider this Savory King Cake which is the only cake my boyfriend Will has requested more than twice which is really saying something.
• If working with yeasted dough and rolling and folding feels intimidating or like…. EH, what’s the fastest way to cake? The answer is this Easy One-Dish King Cake. It’s a quick and dirty way to make the kitchen smell like a cinnamon roll and the real wonder is that the cake is both mixed and baked in the pan. You could almost make this cake with your eyes closed though I don’t actually recommend that.
• Inspired by traditional Galette des Rois is this orange and almond Bostock. Bostock is a French pastry that’s basically leftover bread turned almond croissant. Spread buttery bread slices generously with a luscious almond paste and orange marmalade. This is the most elegant Mardi Gras brunch moment or breakfast dessert. King Cake-Inspired Bostock
• Okay hear me out: cake made of biscuit dough! We’re doing it for the butter alone. This Pull Apart Biscuit King Cake is a no-yeast way to King Cake and makes for the most tender, buttery little loaf cake. There are no rules, right?
Happy Mardi Gras! Let the good times roll!