I grew up outside of New Orleans. I moved to Colorado in 2002, and since then, have always searched for comparable king cakes for Mardi Gras. Nothing compares to New Orleans king cakes, so far, especially my favorite from New Orleans: McKenzie’s or Tastee Donuts, but here are some options you can try if you miss the Big Easy in the Mile High City.
Note: If you come across other options, please share them in the comments. We want to hear from you!
1) Rheinlander Bakery- I posted about Rheinlander king cakes and they even improved their recipe. Below are my two previous posts on Rheinlander King Cakes. Rheinlander is an amazing bakery located in Old Town Arvada, Colorado. They have amazing pastries, coffee, and made to order cakes. Their king cakes are good, and freshly made, and they have improved their recipe a lot.
The bread has just enough cinnamon, and the icing and sugar are not overwhelming. King cakes vary in price based on size, and come in several different filling and flavor options. I still tend to go with cinnamon but there is apple and pecan. I do not like all the extra filling and things. i like the idea of sweet cake with light icing and sugar. I like how Rheinlander provides a baby and some beads and a history on the King Cake and the cheapest is generally about $24.99 (goes up every year). I find this is a bit pricey for king cake, considering you can have one shipped with all the fixings for $30 (includes overnight FedEx).
2) Whole Foods is the latest (just since 2014 for us) to start selling Mardi Gras king cakes and they sell these for about $14.99 – they go up each year. You can choose from filled, generally raspberry, apple or plain cinnamon.
The sugar is a bit coarser and definitely different than the sugar on a traditional New Orleans king cake but these are not very sweet, and I like that. The bread is fine, and the toppings are not overwhelming. You can pick them up and they tend to be fresh, but as with all things baked in Colorado, you have about 3 days to enjoy, freeze or toss. Things just get dry here quicker, especially bread and pastries. Of course, you can always make your own, which Whole Foods encourages you to do. Here is a recipe to make your own delicious knock off King Cake. Will it come to close my favorite from New Orleans? Probably not, but worth a shot!
3) King Sooper’s or Kroger’s – King soopers just introduced, this year (if they had them in the past, I never found it at my local shops), the Mardi Gras King Cake. It is about $6.99 with the card, and is a round, flat (not risen very well) Cinnamon roll with icing on it and sugar. The sugar is like the one from Rheinlander, but this cake is super sweet. You can’t have a lot, but it is flavorful and basically a giant cinnamon roll with icing on it. Add in the purple, yellow and green and some beads, and voila! It is a Mardi Gras king cake. It’s okay, but the price can’t be beat for sure if you are having a Mardi Gras party in the Mile High City. Since the Broncos were in the superbowl this year, I got myself a Blue, Orange, and White one this year in hope they do not get crushed like last time. Don’t forget y’all, Peyton Manning is a hometown New Orleanean, even though he is QB for the Denver Broncos.
I plan to review more if you can share where I can get more King Cakes, but ’til then, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler and have a very Happy Mardi Gras!