Mardi Gras Guide: Differences of local king cakes simplified


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It’s the great king cake debacle. Like every other great food unique to New Orleans culture, everyone has an opinion on which king cake is the best, whether it is the old school McKenzie’s king cake, the super-sweet Haydel’s king cake or the newer, flashier king cakes at Antoine’s or Sucré. But which one is truly the best?

McKenzie’s—Tastee Donuts Restaurant

Known as more of a traditional king cake, McKenzie’s Bakery has long been a staple in the king cake world. Though McKenzie’s has been closed for some time, several of its products, including its king cake, are still sold at any of the five Tastee Donuts locations throughout New Orleans.

Though not an exact replica of the original McKenzie’s king cake, Tastee Donuts does a good job of sticking to the dense-breaded, over-sugared McKenzie’s mold, according to Danny Housey, history junior.

“Though not the same as the original, Tastee’s attempt at the McKenzie’s recipe is the best king cake around, hands down,” Housey said.

Manny Randazzo’s

Like McKenzie’s, Manny Randazzo’s provides a gateway to past Carnival seasons, while simultaneously hitting the taste buds with overwhelming satisfaction, according to Wiley Thomas, history junior.

“It’s sweeter than a lot of the other king cakes, but not too sweet. The bread is soft and moist, but also airy. It reminds me of my childhood. I can taste the love in every bite,” Thomas said.

Though the line outside of Manny Randazzo’s makes pickup orders difficult at times, the store also provides an online delivery service that ships throughout the United States

Haydel’s Bakery

Haydel’s Bakery, unlike Randazzo’s or McKenzie’s, coats their cinnamon king cakes in both colored sugar and icing, which, according to Jacques LeBlanc, music industry studies junior, creates the most satisfying flavor.

“Haydel’s is my favorite king cake because it infuses the colored sugar topping with the cream cheese icing. Those two toppings along with the light, fluffy bread, make it almost addicting. I think I could eat half of a Haydel’s king cake in one sitting,” LeBlanc said.

Like Randazzo’s, Haydel’s also provides overnight shipping anywhere in the United States.

Antoines Famous Cakes and Pies

Though not widely considered one of the king cake giants, Antoines’s Famous Cakes and Pies are just as good as any of the most popular king cakes, according to Calder King, graphics design junior.

“Antoine’s has the aesthetics that go along with the taste. The designs in the icing make it pleasing to the eye. It has the perfect amount of cinnamon in the bread, the perfect icing-to-bread ratio, and the perfect affordability,” King said.

Unlike other king cakes, Antoine’s king cakes can be found at most Walgreens locations in New Orleans, which makes it possible to get a king cake at almost any time.


Though Sucré is relatively new to the king cake game, it has quickly become a favorite among those looking for a less sugar-intensive king cake. According to Wilson Smith, music business sophomore, the light, glittery icing makes it stand out amongst its peers.

“I don’t feel like I’m going into a sugar-induced coma after I eat a piece of Sucré king cake. It has a thin cream cheese filling that really makes it taste good. I usually don’t like filling in king cakes, but this hits the spot,” he said

Sucré sells both whole king cakes and pieces by the slice, which helps college students get their fix while not having to buy an entire cake.

Patrick Rafferty can be reached at [email protected]

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