NEW ORLEANS — King cakes — the treats that come around only during Mardi Gras — are rich in history and tradition, but many bakers push the boundaries with quirky ingredients.


SKIP SWEET FOR SAVORY

Twins Burgers and Sweets makes the Boudin King Cake. The savory creation is hamburger bun dough, with boudin (a Cajun-style sausage) stuffed inside, sprinkled with crackling crumbs and bacon bits and served with a bottle of Steen’s pure cane syrup. Bill Guilbeaux, who owns the bakery with his twin, says it’s been labeled the most Cajun thing you’ll ever eat: “It’s round, it’s the shape of a king cake and it’s delicious.”


FLAVOR TRIFECTA

District Donuts. Sliders. Brew. offers one king cake through the season, with the traditional braided cinnamon-laced dough. It’s the Mardi Gras-colored cream cheese topping that gets exotic: The green is a matcha pan dan, the purple is an ube coconut, and the gold is a satsuma vanilla. Aaron Vogel, co-owner, says: “It is fun to produce something for our bakers that is very different and out of the norm.”


FIT FOR THE KING

Elvis Presley’s birthday — Jan. 8 — falls within the Mardi Gras season, so Maggie Scales, executive pastry chef at the Donald Link Restaurant Group , turned his favorite sandwich into a king cake for restaurant Cochon. Using cinnamon roll-style dough, she then adds peanut butter and bananas, marshmallow, and candied bacon. “Talk about heavy and sweet,” Scales said. “That hits all of them. But that is delicious.”


LAMINATED … WITH BUTTER

At Willa Jean , chef Kelly Fields starts with a Danish dough, laminates it (basically layer lots of butter inside) and spreads the dough with a generous dose of espresso pastry cream and espresso chocolate sugar before rolling it up and topping it with caramelized chocolate and small pops of cholate: “We … wanted to present a new idea that seemed out of the ordinary where we were actually really just getting back to basic French techniques.”

VIAThe Associated Press
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