The Austin Chronicle

King Cakes

By Virginia B. Wood, March 4, 2011, Food

In New Orleans, King Cakes are a regular feature of the carnival season, showing up for the Feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6) and holding a place of honor at parties and celebrations through Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Lent begins (March 8 this year). 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 his or her 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 hours notice.

Bakerman's Patisserie and Chocolatier (120 E. Seventh, 476-0060) The New Orleans-style sweet yeast dough cakes are filled with traditional cinnamon-sugar; napped with frosting that is dusted with bright green, purple, and gold sanding sugar; and topped with plenty of Mardi Gras beads. Half-sheet, $13; full sheet, $23. This year, Bakerman's also has King Cakes with cream cheese or apple filling for $18 and $28.

Sweetish Hill Bakery (1120 W. Sixth, 472-1347) Austin's oldest French bakery is preparing both the traditional French galette du roi with almond-paste filling and the New Orleans-style sweet yeast dough filled with cinnamon-sugar.

La Madeleine (three locations) This French bakery/cafe always features the classic French galette du roi.

Whole Foods Market (both locations) New Orleans-style, sweet yeast dough braids filled with cinnamon-sugar ($10.99), pecan praline, chocolate, berry chantilly, or raspberry cream cheese ($12.99).

Quack's 43rd Street Bakery (411 E. 43rd, 453-3399) Quirky Quack's will offer its personal King Cake interpretation the weekend before Mardi Gras.

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

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

Fiesta (both locations) Small, New Orleans-style cakes fully decorated ($7.99).

Cypress Grill (4404 W. William 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.

Russells Bakery & Coffee Bar (3339 Hancock, 419-7877). The 8-inch round cakes are made with Danish dough and retail for $28.

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