Your King Cake Connection in Houston
LAISSEZ LES BONS TEMPS ROULER is the Cajun French saying for “let the good times roll” or, in the case of the delectable king cake that’s made around this time of year, “let the good times cinnamon roll.”
A Fat Tuesday celebration, better known as Mardi Gras, is the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the Catholic season of Lent begins. The Mardi Gras feast isn’t complete without its signature dessert: king cake.
According to Caluda’s King Cakes, the king cake tradition is said to have been brought to New Orleans from France in 1870. The braided, cinnamon-filled cakes are coated with white icing and topped with purple, green and gold sprinkles, matching the celebration’s bright colors. And, of course, you can’t forget the tiny toy baby that’s said to bring you luck and prosperity if you find it inside a slice.
If you want to bring the sweet taste of New Orleans’ French Quarter to the Bayou City, we’ve rounded up some of the best restaurants and bakeries to get your king cake fix.
If there’s anybody who knows how to get festive, it’s chef Sara Brook and her sweet staff at Dessert Gallery. The secret to all of the tasty custom desserts? Good old-fashioned hospitality, and making sure that king cakes are iced to perfection. If you really want to feel the spirit of Mardi Gras, order a side of strawberry or wild Maine blueberry sauce to drizzle on top.
$24.95, through February 21.
French Gourmet Bakery
If you want an authentic taste of king cake or, as they call it, galette des rois, French Gourmet Bakery is where to get it. Founded by Mary and Patrice Ramain in 1973, the River Oaks bakery has become a destination for Houstonians who love French (and American) confections. Leading up to Mardi Gras, the bakery has multiple king cake offerings: the New Orleans-style king cake that comes in almond, cinnamon and cream cheese flavors; Mini king cake rolls, and the flaky original French-style king cake filled with almond cream. Be sure to call ahead—these sweet treats require careful prep.
More information here.
greenway plaza, Heights, Kingwood
Rejoice, Houston kolache fans! During the month of February, all three Kolache Shoppe locations will be dishing out Mardi Gras-inspired kolaches. Made in the bakery’s signature fluffy yeast dough, these kolaches will be a fully realized Texas-Louisiana culinary crossover event. As is traditional with king cakes, Kolache Shoppe’s king cake kolaches come filled with cinnamon cream cheese and pecans and are topped with an almond-vanilla glaze and dustings of colored sugar.
$2.75 each. Available on weekends and on Fat Tuesday (February 21).
Located right off of Katy Freeway, Memorial Bakery is the sweets kitchen that has something for every holiday—literally. The neighborhood bakery isn’t cutting any corners for Mardi Gras, either. Chef Richard Lin’s version of the king cake comes with a more bittersweet dough than a traditional cake, but it’s still flavorful. If you’re not in the mood for king cake, order the Mardi Gras-themed petit fours or cupcakes.
Prices vary. More information here.
The city’s oldest family-owned and operated bakery, founded in 1930, makes some of the best desserts in the area. The quaint pastry shop located in West University makes king cakes that are beautiful to behold, thoroughly dusted in gold, purple, and greens. You’ll have no problem finding the baby in this cake because you’ll be eager to eat the whole thing in one sitting!
Cakes start at $55. More information here.
If you’re not in the mood for a full king cake, Pier 6 has you covered this year. The Gulf Coast seafood and oyster house draws on chef Joe Cervantez’s years at Brennan’s of Houston to create a mashup of two favorite New Orleans treats: bread pudding and king cake, available starting on February 10.
$10. Available starting February 10.
Beverage director Marc Borel is a Louisiana native, so you know that the swanky Rainbow Lodge in The Heights is getting in the spirit of carnival season. You’ll see it in Borel’s latest creation: king cake milk punch. The drink is a fun combination of Rainbow Lodge’s signature milk punch with touches of rich, pecan-infused bourbon, milk, and king cake spices like cinnamon and vanilla. To bring it all together, king cake milk punch is topped with purple, yellow, and green sugars.
$10. Through February 21.
Rustika Cafe & Bakery
This pastry institution has garnered a following in Houston since chef Francis Reznick opened it in 1994. Nearly twenty years later, Reznick is still utilizing knowledge passed down for generations, using recipes originating in Austria, Spain, France, and Russia, giving her version of king cake a unique twist. Made on brioche-style bread, the sweet loaf is soaked with enough icing to get lost in. Available in traditional cinnamon, cream cheese, and strawberry cream cheese flavors.
Three Brothers Bakery
Rich history and good food go hand in hand, and that’s exactly what you’ll get at Three Brothers Bakery. The brothers brought their European roots to Houston, so they’re no strangers to Mardi Gras. The bakery has a robust menu of king cake offerings, from classic king cake to Mardi Gras cheesecake, petit fours, and cookies.
Prices may vary. More information here.