The Austin Chronicle

Carnival Season Means King Cake Time

By Virginia B. Wood, February 6, 2013, 12:45pm, On the Range

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 on 24 hours notice.

Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden (709 E. Sixth, 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,

Bakerman’s Bakery (120 East 7th, 476-0060) The New Orleans-style sweet yeast dough cakes here are filled with a choice of traditional cinnamon-sugar, napped with frosting dusted with bright green, purple, and gold sanding sugar and plenty of Mardi Gras beads. Half-sheet $14.50/Full sheet $23.00. Cakes filled with cream cheese are $18/$28.

Sweetish Hill Bakery (1120 West 6th, 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.

La Madeleine (three locations) This French bakery/café always features the classic French Galette du Roi.

Quack’s Bakery (411 East 43rd, 453-3399) Quirky Quack’s will offer their personal King Cake interpretation the weekend before Mardi Gras.

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

Whole Foods Market (both 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 (both stores) Small New Orleans-style cakes fully decorated ($7.99)

Cypress Grill (4404 W. Wm. Cannon, 358-7474) This popular Cajun/Creole restaurant imports King Cakes from the legendary Gambino’s Bakery in New Orleans every week. Enjoy slices with your meal or order a whole one to take home.

Russell’s Bakery (3339 Hancock, 419-7877). The 8” round cakes here are made with Danish dough and retail for $28.

Royal Blue Grocery (609 Congress) owner and Louisiana native George Scariano says he'll be selling authentic NOLA muffalettas, chicken and sausage gumbo, seafood etouffee, and po'boys while giving away slices of homemade, Louisiana-style King Cake all day Tuesday, Feb. 12

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