Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's Your King Cake Pleasure?

I am a king cake aficionado. I have heard some blasphemous talk that they are just big cinnamon buns but when was the last time you had a moist, springy cinnamon bun that was filled with almond-scented cream cheese and fresh berries? And covered with purple, green and gold sprinkles?

I admit, part of my obsession can be attributed to the laws of supply and demand. Their supply is only around for a few months of the year, therefore my demand for them is on high when 'tis the season. I also enjoy tradition and ritual and so if my forebearers ate cinnamon buns, umm, I mean king cakes, during Carnival season, then by golly, so will I! Each year, I like to sample just about as many as I can, I'm a king cake flirt if you will and see no reason to stay in a rut with just one bakery's king cake for the rest of eternity.

Last year, I sampled Randazzo's (my favorite), Rouse's (just fine and the best bang for your buck), Winn Dixie (nasty, inedible even), Cake Cafe and Sucre. Cake Cafe does have that wonderful goat-cheese apple combination and Jackson Pollack like frosting, unfortunately their "cake" is more like dry bread and so that was the last of Cake Cafe for me.

Sucre's iteration was a pastel-sparkly number that my friend Corinne gasped at and called it "unicorn food" when she saw it. It is awfully pretty but it is also awfully expensive, just like everything at Sucre, and it wasn't really worth the price to me. It was smallish and had a poor filling-to-cake ratio.

This year, there are some new players on the field! And mini king cakes are all the rage, which is great, because then I don't have to live in a constant sugar-glazed haze of guilt after demolishing a regular size king cake in just one evening. La Divina Gelateria has minis filled with Nutella! Must try this. Hubig's, that elusive beast, has made minis as well but I can't find them anywhere. Cochon Butcher has minis too and last night I picked up a chocolate one. I was sort of expecting chocolate pudding or a Nutella type filling but instead it was a drier, crumbly, cocoa powder based filling. It was STELLAR!!!!! The cake was soft and moist. The frosting was right on, filling super and all three were in proper proportion to each other. Definitely my favorite so far this year and that says a lot because last week, we took down an entire Chantilly Berry king cake from Whole Foods, also very good. We've got more than a month left until the season is over so I anticipate many more king cakes in my immediate future. I'm even going to make my very own for the Endymion party I am having so come on by and indulge in a slice or seven with me!