For years since I have moved to the Denver metro area, I have searched high and low for a proper Mardi Gras King Cake but right under my nose, Rheinlander bakery has been selling King Cakes. They call their mission, “King Cakes for Katrina.” Proceeds go to support the Katrina disaster relief which is still ongoing believe it or not. What a great cause and a tasty one at that!
For $18.99 you get a king cake (choice of cinnamon or cream cheese filled only), with a gift pack of beads, and a doubloon with a plastic baby Jesus and a pamphlet on the history of Mardi Gras and the Mardi Gras King Cake. Having lived in New Orleans for 17 years and growing up there, I was suspect but decided to try one out anyway. The first two or three bites immediately transform you back to the Big Easy, celebrating Mardi Gras and enjoying the festivities. The Rheinlander Mardi Gras King Cakes resemble more of the modern king cake – the cinnamon one is covered with an icing and then three colored sugars: yellow, purple and green (the Mardi Gras colors). Here comes the part where I think Rheinlander can improve on their cakes, being a connoisseur myself: I would recommend less of the colored sugar and more of something like the Haydel’srecipe- a cinnamon twisted bread in an oval, glazed with white icing (lightly), and then on that layer of white icing, another layer of LIGHT sugar topping in the Mardi Gras colors. This allows everyone to taste the bread and the cinnamony goodness underneath all that sugary stuff. I really think less sugar and more just bread and icing would really help the flavor because as I bit along, it just got too sweet and too overwhelming.
But that one suggestion aside, I have to say, this is the closest taste of home I have had in some time. I have tried imitation beignets but no one comes close to Cafe Du Monde. I have tried red beans and rice but again, no one comes close to what I used to eat on Mondays in my hometown affectionately called the Big Easy. Ahhh… the flavors of New Orleans and now, Rheinlander bakery has brought it very close to home for me. I am excited about my purchase and plan on going back for more. If you want your very own taste of New Orleans without ordering on-line and spending upwards of $30, come check out Rheinlander Bakery in Olde Town Arvada, and get your own Mardi Gras King Cake and a taste of the BIG EASY.