Attention New Orleanians

I’m planning on doing a NOLA-style kings’ cake for mardi gras next month, and am trying to locate something close to a definitive recipe. I have it on good authority that the real deal came from a bakery called McKenzie’s that is now out of business. Anyone who knows where I might be able to source that recipe, or something close to it, please get in touch.

12 thoughts on “Attention New Orleanians”

  1. Joe,

    How’s the search going for the McKenzie’s recipe? I found out that Tastee Donuts “bought” the McKenzie’s recipe and has been using it to make King Cakes in the New Orleans area. Some say that Tastee has altered the recipe because it just “isn’t the same”, but I know that can be subjective. Let me know if the information helps your search or if you still need a recipe. I’ve got some links to a few that might help out!


    1. Hey Christi,

      I haven’t found much as of yet. I got in touch with a restauranteur in New Orleans who pointed me toward Gambino’s, Haydel’s and Croissant D’Or. The first two looked like pretty standard stuff (braided brioche), and the third made a proper galette des rois, which of course I’ve already done. Anything you can find would be great, since I don’t seem to be making a whole lot of headway.

  2. Hey, Joe. Have you ever actually had a traditional king cake? They’re not that amazing, in my opinion. I lived in New Orleans for a while, and I’ve had a McKenzie’s cake; it’s tasty, but far beneath your skill level, in my opinion. It’s like plain coffee cake with colored sugar on top. Pretty boring. I think you should… ahem… jazz it up a little and do an adaptation or one of the richer varieties of king cake that some other folks in New Orleans are making these days. If you need a local taste-tester as you experiment with your recipe(s), let me know.

    1. I think you’re pretty right on about king cake. I’ve sampled them from a couple of famous spots (shipped up north by mail), and they really weren’t all that. I think a homemade one can easily outstrip the mass-produced variety, which is why I want to do one this year. I’ll let you know on the tasting. How’s the diaper business going, by the way? We haven’t talked…

  3. I have one from Handyl’s ( sp) from a taste of the South mag, that they say is authentic.

    The best ones I have tasted are the filled..usually with cream cheese and fruit 🙂

    The plain ones are good, but the sugar on top is sometimes too much ! 🙂 I hope to bake one this year as, well. Good luck!

  4. Joe,
    just catching up on reading… As having lived in Baton Rouge for several years, I’d have to say that the best was at Ambrosia Bakery in BR. I wonder if the shipped king cakes aren’t the suped up ones that you can buy in the bakery nor are they that fresh (?). You can customize the cake with all sorts of fillings (strawberry, blueberry, peach, cream cheese, chocolate, etc.). My favorite was the one filled with Bavarian cream and chocolate. I remember shipping that kind of cake costs a bundle compared to the bare bones version. I actually have made 3 king cakes so far this year using an Emeril recipe I found on food network, but with some modifications. First I doubled the cream cheese filling. Second, the recipe doesn’t call for sprinkling any cinnamon and sugar on butter coated bread dough. I rolled out the dough pretty thin and put cinnamon/sugar/butter on. I folded that in half and rolled it out thin again and spread out the cream cheese filling. Rolled up the dough, pinched the seam shut, and followed the remainder of the recipe. To me, this tasted like what we’d get at Ambrosia or Gambino’s.

  5. I use the recipe from John Folse’s Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine. My father-in-law (born and bred New Orleans boy who owns very successful Cajun/Creole restaurants) adores it and says it is like the ones he grew up eating (more bread-y and less sugary), rather than the sickly-sweet ones that you get now. Everyone that tries it loves it.

    I’ve had king cakes shipped from Gambino’s and they’re good, but nowhere near as good as super fresh king cake.

    1. Thank you, Sadee, this is just what I was looking for. I’ll put it up tomorrow!

  6. There was nothing like a mckenzies king cake mmmm. How i miss them and no tastees was not the same from my understanding they had to retool the recipe because it called for ingredients they could not find which yep can change a recipe .I was born and raised in NOLA and have had many king cakes all good in their own right but there was something to be said about the sheer simplicity of the mckenzies king cake with that colored sugar litgly dusting the top and sort of melting into the doughy fluffy soft goodness beneath it was worse than lays cause ya almost couldnt eat just one slice .It would amazingly disappear in record time EVERYTIME it was served agaisnt any other king cake and I have been searching for just the same thing a recipe for a simple style king cake like that .Im many miles away from home now and missing it dearly so being able to make one would rock !

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