Why are king cakes made of brioche?

…asks reader Kendra. That’s a good question, since many other types of kings’ cakes made outside New Orleans (notably galette des rois) are made with flaky dough. To that I’d say that while the brioche ring is the most famous of the New Orleans king cakes, some bakeries do make the French-style flaky galette. In fact I was steered in that direction by more than one local who believed that the French style was both better-tasting and truer to the king cake aesthetic. I’ve already done that one, of course, so my thought was to press on with something new.

But to the question, while New Orleans culture is heavily influenced by the French, it’s a melting pot of many other traditions, including Spanish. It’s my feeling, though I don’t have any specific proof, that a New Orleans king cake is more closely related to a Spanish rosca de reyes.

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