King Cakes have been a tradition during the Mardi Gras season since the late 1800s.
Not only are they delicious but they also provide entertainment as people check their slice for the hidden baby. The baby symbolizes luck and prosperity. It also determines who will buy next year’s cake or throw the next Mardi Gras party.
Emily and I completed a thorough search of the Pensacola area for the best King Cake. Let’s just say there are many options. Individual, small, or large. Traditional, cream cheese, or fruit filling.
One thing we discovered is that it is important to buy local. The local cakes trumped the chain stores (Publix, Walmart) in aesthetic and taste, and they got our children’s votes because the baby is baked into the cake rather than placed on top (seriously, what is the fun in that). Keep in mind, if you need a specific flavor or size, most local bakeries need the order placed a day or so in advance.
Here’s a look at what we found:
J’s Pastry Shop, a favorite of locals since 1946, won among the children in our taste test. The 8 ounce size is perfect for a small family and the larger 1-pound and 2-pound sizes would be great for a crowd. We purchased an 8 ounce plain, and it was delicious.
Nancy’s Haute Affairs does catering and events. Nancy’s also has a wonderful Gourmet-To-Go menu, and the desserts are delicious. The banana pudding and chocolate mousse are irresistible, and I was excited to try the King Cake. We sampled the filled cake and loved it! There is a raspberry filling, but it is not overwhelming, and picky children can easily eat around it. Not only was the King Cake from Nancy’s very tasty but also it received our award for the most attractive King Cake in the area.
Oh Snap! is another favorite local bakery that has been open for almost five years. Oh Snap! has more than 50 cupcake flavors and also offers vegan and gluten-free options. Our cake from Oh Snap! was almond flavored and a favorite among the adults in our tasting. Oh Snap! is also selling King Cake by the slice.
If King Cakes are not your bag but you still want to be in the Mardi Gras spirit, try these delicious truffles from Truffles in Paradise. They are Oreo truffles decorated in traditional Mardi Gras colors and made by Laura Weston.