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What's on Tap

Finding a good King Cake in the Triangle

Posted February 18, 2014
Updated March 3, 2014

— I grew up just outside of New Orleans and I can't remember a carnival season going by where we didn't have at least one King Cake in our house. In fact, in elementary school every Friday someone would have to bring a King Cake to class to share. The teacher would start the season with a cake and then the child who got the baby (the little plastic doll inside the cake) would have to bring the cake next week. 

If you aren't familiar with King Cakes, they are tasty circle cakes made from French bread and decorated with purple, green and gold-colored sugar. Many are filled with fruit or cream cheese. They are a huge part of the Mardi Gras season in Louisiana. 

While you can get them shipped from some Louisiana bakeries, since I moved to North Carolina I have been searching for places offering these cakes. 

Below is a list of local places where you can get a King Cake this carnival season. 

La Farm Bakery (Cary) - Their bread is out of this world, so their King Cakes will undoubtedly be tasty! 

Papa Mojo's (Durham) - This Cajun restaurant will be selling Gambino's King Cakes, according to our friends over at Durham Mardi Gras. You can order by phone at 919-361-2222. Gambino's is a famous bakery in New Orleans, so they must be getting the cakes shipped in. 

Whole Foods (various locations) - Durham Mardi Gras is reporting that you can order King Cakes at this grocery store. The cakes are being prepared in their in-house NOLA bakery and being shipped. A cream-cheese filled cake will run you about $15. You can order the cakes at the bakery counter. 

UPDATE: Stick Boy Bread Company (Fuquay-Varina) and Lowes Foods in Knightdale have them!

Balcazar Bakery at 4020 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh has Colombian King Cakes. They are filled with fruit and contain some cream on top. Good, but not like the traditional New Orleans' King Cakes. Much less sugar. 

Mardi Gras is March 4 and there are several events happening in the Triangle to help you get into the carnival spirit. Look for a post about that next week. 

4 Comments

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  • Thomas Fenske Feb 19, 2014
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    I know Lowe's Foods used to have them ... because I remember the "Warning, Plastic Baby Inside" label on the package. Who could forget that?

  • shan725 Feb 19, 2014

    Stick Boy Bakery in Fuquay Varina always has delicious King Cakes. Being a NC native I had never even heard of them until they started making them during Mardi Gras season.

  • dwntwnboy2 Feb 18, 2014

    I just make my own and there is no wrong way to make a King Cake. With our without fillings, it's still a King Cake. Some are round and no center, some are solid, some are shaped like crawfish. NOLA.com is doing a different King Cake every day of carnival season this year since it's such a long season- 58 days. I NEVER just make a "plain" cake, always have either nuts or spices, sometimes chocolate or cream cheese- just ads to the excitement to it all- just remember to add the plastic baby AFTER baking the cake.

  • cpeninja Feb 18, 2014

    "Many are filled with fruit or cream cheese."

    I take umbrage with this statement - many cakes are simply the rolled cinnamon dough covered in icing and sugar. The filled king cakes do make up a share of them, but the vast majority are the original style.

    I do say this with a level of bias against filled king cakes (which I refer to as "Satan's King Cake" because reasons).

    Other great places to get king cakes (if you don't mind ordering) include Pouparts bakery out of Lafayette and Keller's bakery (also out of Lafayette). They're also a cinch to make, as they are effectively sweetbreads.