Fat Tuesday approaches: Here's how to get a Mardi Gras king cake shipped to your home

Todd A. Price
Southern Kitchen
Brennan's in New Orleans bakes and ships a traditional Mardi Gras King Cake.

In New Orleans and southern Louisiana, Mardi Gras is a season, not a day. It starts on Jan. 6, the Epiphany. Locals mark the occasion with a slice of king cake. The oval-shaped cake, traditionally a brioche dough, is decorated in the colors of Carnival: purple, green and gold. It has roots in Europe, but has become truly American over the years: bigger, brighter and way sweeter.

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Buried inside each king cake is a tiny, plastic baby. Whoever gets the piece with the trinket must buy the next cake. As Fat Tuesday approaches, king cakes appear everywhere: classrooms, parties and office break rooms.

Nothing compares to New Orleans on Mardi Gras, which this year falls on Tuesday, March 1. But if you can’t get a parade krewe to swing by your neighborhood, you can get a king cake shipped to your home for an authentic taste of Mardi Gras.

Here are three Louisiana bakers shipping king cakes this season.

Brennan’s

King cakes have become increasingly baroque in recent years, with every filling and topping imaginable (you can even get a crawfish cake). Brennan’s, the classic French Quarter Creole restaurant, pushes the boundaries of Mardi Gras baked goods with two cakes: a bananas Foster version and another called Pink Parade Strawberry Cream Cheese.

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They’re not even purple, green and gold. Purists can still order a traditional brioche king cake. Cakes must be ordered by Feb. 25 and will be delivered in 24 hours.

$66 for bananas Foster and Pink Parade; $60 for traditional

www.kingcakesbybrennans.com

Brennan's in New Orleans bakes a bananas Foster king cake that riffs on the classic flaming dessert.

Haydel’s

This third-generation New Orleans bakery keeps its king cakes traditional. They are neon-hued, made from braided Danish dough and sweet enough to send you into sugar shock, like a king cake should. Carnival is the season of indulgence, after all. The cakes can be ordered plain or with fillings like cream cheese, praline pecan and strawberry cream cheese. Orders will be accepted until Feb. 21 although availability will become limited later in the season.

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King cakes are topped with official Mardi Gras-colored sugar at Haydel’s Bakery in Jefferson, La., a suburb of New Orleans.

Poupart Bakery

In France, a king cake, or “galette des rois,” is a delicate puff pastry with almond paste filling. This bakery in Lafayette, the capital of Cajun Country, makes and ships French-style cakes. Poupart also makes a Louisiana-style cake with options for rarely seen filings like blueberry with cream cheese, raspberry with cream cheese and red velvet. King cakes are shipped year-round.

News tips? Story ideas? Questions? Call reporter Todd Price at 504-421-1542 or email him at taprice@gannett.com. Sign up for The American South newsletter. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.