Mardi Gras History

King Cakes

One of the most popular foods during Mardi Gras is the king cake, consumed by the carload and traditionally sold in bakeries, grocery stores and delis from January 6 to Ash Wednesday. Locals and visitors alike eat king cake for breakfast, coffee break, and dessert. In fact, almost any excuse to grab a slice will do.

The tradition of king cake dates back to the Middle Ages when a popular devotion during Christmas was placed on the Three Wise Men (or Kings) who followed the North Star to find Christ. The twelfth night after the birth of Christ marks the end of Christmas and the celebration of Epiphany. Thus, Twelfth Night in some cultures became a time for pageants and giving special presents to children. Along with gifts came the celebratory cake, or king cake.

King Cakes

Today's king cake is a confection made of braided Danish pastry, laced with cinnamon. It is always iced in the Mardi Gras colors of purple (justice), green (faith) and gold (power). Hidden in each king cake is a tiny plastic baby. The person who finds the baby must buy the next king cake or host the next party. Contemporary king cakes are often filled with cream cheese, fruit fillings, such as apple or strawberry, and other fillings.

New Orleanians love king cake for its taste and tradition. We invite you and your family to come to Mardi Gras to taste one for yourself or order from one of the providers below.

Mardi Gras King Cake Providers
Bittersweet Confections
725 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70130 [Map It]
(504) 523-2626

Neighborhood: Arts District/Convention Center
Shopping Type/s: Candies, Fine Chocolate and Pralines, King Cakes

Description: "Bittersweet Confections is a locally owned chocolate, cake, and desert boutique dedicated to supporting the New Orleans community. The store uses locally produced ingredients and names its decadent creations after popular city landmarks and neighborhoods, such as Canal Street and the Garden District. Each treat is homemade and handcrafted using Swiss Chocolate and fresh, natural ingredients. Bittersweet confections are made with love and passion for bringing the most delicious deserts to New Orleans. "
Croissant D'or Patisserie
617 Ursulines Ave., New Orleans, LA 70116 [Map It]
(504) 524-4663

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Shopping Type/s: King Cakes

Description: Le Croissant d’Or is a French bakery, pastry, and sandwich shop located in the heart of the French Quarter. This boutique bakery is known for its savory and sweet items, each homemade and handcrafted with locally produced, fresh ingredients. Le Croissant d’Or has been serving made to order sandwiches, soup de jour, quiches and specialty sweets for over thirty years and is regarded as an original French café in New Orleans.
Gambino's Bakery
4821 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, LA 70006 [Map It]
(504) 885-7500 , (800) 426-2468

Neighborhood: Jefferson Parish
Shopping Type/s: King Cakes

Description: Gambino's ships king cakes year-round.
Haydel's Bakery
4037 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, LA 70121 [Map It]
(504) 837-0190, (800) 442-1342

Neighborhood: Jefferson Parish
Shopping Type/s: King Cakes

Description: A full-line bakery. Specialties are King Cakes, Cajun Kringles, Doberge, wedding cake and birthday cakes. Convention work and mail order year-round. We ship overnight air to your door.
King Cakes Online
(504) 460-7127, (877) 261-0429

Neighborhood: Jefferson Parish
Shopping Type/s: King Cakes

Description: Over 20 different flavors of king cakes baked and shipped the same day.
La Boulangerie
4526 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 [Map It]
(504) 269-3777

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Shopping Type/s: King Cakes

Description: The St. Charles La Boulangerie serves coffee, breakfast and lunch. Some of the favorites at the downtown La Boulangerie include the hot open-face sandwich with bacon and blue cheese and hot soups changing daily and fresh bread.
Manny Randazzo's King Cakes
3515 N. Hullen St., Metairie, LA 70002 [Map It]
(504) 456-1476, (866) 456-1476

Neighborhood: Jefferson Parish
Shopping Type/s: King Cakes
New Orleans Cake Cafe and Bakery
2440 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA 70117 [Map It]
(504) 943-0010

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Shopping Type/s: King Cakes
The Praline Connection
542 Frenchmen St., New Orleans, LA 70116 [Map It]
(504) 943-3934

Neighborhood: Faubourg Marigny/Bywater
Shopping Type/s: King Cakes

Description: The Praline Connection offers a variety of "soul food" recipes from three generations of great family chefs, including New Orleans gumbo, jambalaya, red beans & rice, smothered pork chops and famous pralines.
3025 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70116 [Map It]
(504) 520-8311

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Shopping Type/s: King Cakes

Description: New Orleans gets a little sweeter with Sucre, the Uptown sweet boutique. Sucre, the French word for sugar, features an assortment of handcrafted chocolates, fresh gelatos, one-of-a-kind pastry masterpieces and super-premium coffees.
Ye Olde Bake Shoppe
3000 S. Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118 [Map It]
(504) 418-6072

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Shopping Type/s: Foods - Retail and Mail Order, King Cakes
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