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Mardi Gras King Cakes, Coming Right Up!

Local vendors providing a key element to pre-Lenten parties
Virginia B. Wood, 11:00am, Tue. Feb. 25
photo by John Anderson
Legendary Gambino's King Cake at the Cypress Grill

UPDATED: Though our list of vendors offering King Cakes is shorter this year, it’s still possible to order these delightful treats for enjoyment at home, the office, or carnival season celebrations between now and Mardi Gras on Tuesday, March 4.

In New Orleans, King Cakes are a regular feature of the carnival season, showing up for the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th) and holding a place of honor at parties and celebrations through Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Lent begins. The brightly decorated crowns of sweetened yeast dough or flaky puff pastry have a baby (representing the Christ child), a bean, or a coin baked into the dough and the person who finds the treasure in their slice is responsible for providing the King Cake at the next party. Though Austin doesn’t celebrate the entire carnival season as yet, King Cakes are growing in popularity and can be purchased at the following local businesses with 24 -48 hours notice.

Curious Confections (www.curiousconfections.com; 512/465-2879) Gemma and Michael Maherne are cottage bakers who maintain a busy stall at the HOPE Farmers’ Market every Sunday. Give them at least 24 hours notice on orders and they’ll whip up traditional, cinnamon-sugar filled New Orleans-style King Cakes ($10 small, $20 large) or more exotic fillings such as lemon curd, Voodoo chocolate, or chocolate hazelnut ($12 small, $24 large); pick up or delivery, by arrangement.

Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden (709 E. Sixth, 512/614-4972) Dough puncher David Norman is the best baker in town for our money, and we really love his King Cake ($15), a twisting circle of buttery Danish dough filled with cinnamon sugar, dusted with Mardi Gras-colored sugars and bright ropes of beads. Order by phone for in-store pick-up,

Sweetish Hill Bakery (1120 West 6th, 512/472-1347) Austin’s oldest French bakery is preparing both the traditional French Galette du Roi with almond paste filling (special order only) and the New Orleans-style sweet yeast dough filled with cinnamon sugar, which they’ll have every day until Mardi Gras.

Upper Crust Bakery (4508 Burnet Road, 512/467-0102) The artisan baker here uses a sweet Danish dough for the brightly decorated cake, $18.

Whole Foods Market (all stores) New Orleans-style sweet yeast dough braids filled with cinnamon sugar, pecan praline, chocolate, or raspberry cream cheese ($12.99). Cake slices are available for $2.49 each.

Central Market (both stores) New Orleans-style sweet yeast dough braids filled with cinnamon sugar ($9.99), cream cheese, or strawberry cream cheese ($10.99).

Fiesta Mart (both stores) Small New Orleans-style cakes fully decorated ($7.99)

Cypress Grill (4404 W. Wm. Cannon, 512/358-7474) This popular Cajun/Creole restaurant imports King Cakes from the legendary Gambino’s Bakery in New Orleans during Carnival season so guests can enjoy slices with meals.

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