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Cavan’s crawfish-stuffed king cake
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The Most Incredible King Cake-Inspired Dishes To Try Right Now

From crawfish-stuffed to cricket-stuffed

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Cavan’s crawfish-stuffed king cake
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King cake, the tasty symbol of Carnival, is a staple for everyone here from Twelfth Night (January 6) until Ash Wednesday. By now, you’ve likely had many, many incredible king cakes, which means it’s time to tee up that palette with some curve balls — the delicious and, at times, wild and wacky, world of king cake variations and other food and drink items that the sweet cinnamon brioche flavor inspires.

Besides, it’s important to keep eating more king cake than anyone should, if only so you can welcome the end of Carnival season with open arms.

As usual, the map points are grouped by neighborhood, not by ranking.

Have you seen any other king cake-inspired creations that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments or via email.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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On any given day, the crown jewels of Tastee donuts are the buttermilk drops. Not gonna lie — lots of justly people go here to relive McKenzie’s (RIP) king cake, but the buttermilk drop version is also super-addictive (and also a McKenzie’s recipe). It’s basically a ring of those little dreams topped with icing and Mardi Gras colored sugar. What could possibly go wrong with that?

The buttermilk drop king cake
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Atomic Burger

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When in doubt, throw it all in the blender with ice cream. King cake-flavored ice cream and a big ol’ dollop of cheesecake filling get topped with purple, green, and gold sprinkles. The shake is frozen-to-order, flash chilled with liquid nitrogen at -321 degrees Fahrenheit. The whole thing is presented in a color-changing, Mardi Gras go-cup.

Courtesy Atomic Burger

DTB, the creative Cajun restaurant from Eater NOLA’s Chef of the Year, Carl Schaubhut, has a king cake soufflé for its debut Carnival offering. It has an traditional king cake flavors, plus a Creole cream cheese and citrus glaze poured tableside.

 

King cake souffle
Courtesy DTB

Creole Creamery

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Local favorite Creole Creamery dishes out king cake ice cream this season — sweet cream and cinnamon ice cream with pieces of real king cake, cinnamon chips, and Mardi Gras sprinkles. If that sounds good, go nuts with an ice cream king cake: Eight big scoops of king cake ice cream, topped with purple, green, and gold vanilla créme anglaise, sprinkles, and cherries. There’s a baby inside too.

King cake ice cream at Creole Creamery

Frey Smoked Meat Co.

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We live in a world of souped-up milkshakes, as evidenced by the many viral Instagram shakes of the world. It’s possible Frey Smoked Meat has outdone them all with its king cake a la mode made with none other than hometown favorite, James Beard Award-winning Dong Phuong king cake. The vanilla milkshake is all dressed up with purple, green, and gold sugar, topped with whipped cream, and a big slice of Dong Phuong king cake. And — yes -- there’s a baby on it.

Angelo Brocato

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This Italian gelateria is over a century old — plenty of time to perfect a craft. For Carnival season, the adorable spot is offering vanilla gelato studded with Caluda’s traditional king cake (one of Eater NOLA’s top king cakes this season).

King cake gelato
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Beth Biundo Sweets

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Super-stylish bakery Beth Biundo Sweets is here to make Carnival dreams come true with a multi-layered, Mardi Gras-inspired cake with purple, green, and gold wedding cake-flavored layers held together by vanilla buttercream. The thing is that it tastes as good as it looks. It’s available by the slice at the bakery, or in 6” ($34), 8” ($47), and 10” ($69) rounds by pre-order. Tip: Stop by Martin’s Wine Cellar around the corner from Beth Biundo to grab a bottle of Champagne or sparkling dessert wine to take to the bakery and enjoy with a slice.

The smartest and very best savory king cake out there. Chef Nathan Richard makes the dough from white mountain roll and stuffs it with crawfish and goat cheese. A slightly sweet pepper jelly cream cheese plays the part of the icing, while chili flakes, dehydrated crab fat “sugar,” and green onions stand in for the tri-colored sugars. To make it truly fit for a king (or “make it a Rex”), ask for some Cajun Caviar on top. A small (without caviar) is only going to run you $16, with a $3 upcharge for caviar. Note: Orders must be placed 24 hours in advance.

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Sucré (Multiple Locations)

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Macaroon-obsessed Sucre has purple, green, and gold macaroons filled with a king cake-inspired mousseline. Order them individually or get 15 of them all wrapped up and tied with a bow in a Mardi Gras colored box. The 15-piece box is $37.50.

District Donuts Sliders Brew

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District elevated New Orleans’ doughnut game when it opened in 2013, and the spot now has over one hundred different doughnut variations, but the one to have during Carnival is the king cake donut. They go fast, so get there early. Also, the District’s actual king cake this year is inspired by the Italian cuccidati cookie with brioche dough spiked with cinnamon, and stuffed with fig, walnut, raisin, date, orange, and spices, so try that too while you’re there.

Bourbon House

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Seasonal favorite, the king cake bevvy cocktail, returns for its ninth year in a row for good reason. It’s a riff on Bourbon House’s beloved and much-lauded frozen bourbon milk punch -- and it’s probably enough to stop at that. For those who need more convincing, it’s Old New Orleans rum, orgeat, cinnamon syrup, Louisiana citrus, and housemade vanilla gelato topped off with purple, green, and gold sprinkles. It comes with its own king cake baby stir stick and tastes remarkably like its name-sake.

Bakery Bar

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This seven-layer dream combines two classic New Orleans desserts — king cake and doberge. The seven layers of cake held together by cream cheese pudding, and topped with buttercream frosting and cream cheese icing. The flavors of the cake undeniably taste like a bolder version of the king cake. Slices and whole cakes are first-come, first-served at the Bakery Bar, unless you placed an order before January 5. Either way, the bar and sweet shop is worth a visit.

King cake doberge at Debbie Does Doberge
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Emeril's

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Emeril’s goes nuts with king cake monkey bread, which is king cake dough tossed with cinnamon sugar and topped with vanilla icing and Mardi Gras-colored sugar. The flavors have been changing throughout the season. Strawberry and Creole cream cheese runs through February 5 followed by cookies and cream, which runs through February 12. If you’re curious what you missed already: Smores was on through January 22, while coconut was the flavor du jour through January 29.

The coconut monkey bread from Emeril’s
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Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

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So, this is a real, traditional style king cake, but it’s a king cake filled with crickets (and topped with crickets), which is just so wacky that it landed on this list. Jayme Necaise, Director of Animal and Visitor Programs at Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, says the cricket-stuffing lends “a nice nutty flavor.” The cricket topping adds a little crunch, kind of like a Danish topped with pecans. (Tastings are included with general admission while supplies last through Mardi Gras season.)

SoBou Restaurant

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Head over to SoBou for a king cake sua da. With espresso, king-cake infused brandy, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, this cocktail takes a cue from New Orleans’s large Vietnamese population and the iconic cafe sua da (or Vietnamese iced coffee).

Courtesy SoBou

Flamingo A-Go-Go

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This sprawling new bar with 7,000 square feet of outdoor seating has a king cake daiquiri this season. Plus, the bar is conveniently located to the parade route, making it a convenient stop to grab a drink without missing much. Plus, there’s a full menu for snacks.

King cake daiq at Flamingo A-Go-Go
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Tastee

The buttermilk drop king cake
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On any given day, the crown jewels of Tastee donuts are the buttermilk drops. Not gonna lie — lots of justly people go here to relive McKenzie’s (RIP) king cake, but the buttermilk drop version is also super-addictive (and also a McKenzie’s recipe). It’s basically a ring of those little dreams topped with icing and Mardi Gras colored sugar. What could possibly go wrong with that?

The buttermilk drop king cake
FACEBOOK

Atomic Burger

Courtesy Atomic Burger

When in doubt, throw it all in the blender with ice cream. King cake-flavored ice cream and a big ol’ dollop of cheesecake filling get topped with purple, green, and gold sprinkles. The shake is frozen-to-order, flash chilled with liquid nitrogen at -321 degrees Fahrenheit. The whole thing is presented in a color-changing, Mardi Gras go-cup.

Courtesy Atomic Burger

DTB

King cake souffle
Courtesy DTB

DTB, the creative Cajun restaurant from Eater NOLA’s Chef of the Year, Carl Schaubhut, has a king cake soufflé for its debut Carnival offering. It has an traditional king cake flavors, plus a Creole cream cheese and citrus glaze poured tableside.

 

King cake souffle
Courtesy DTB

Creole Creamery

King cake ice cream at Creole Creamery

Local favorite Creole Creamery dishes out king cake ice cream this season — sweet cream and cinnamon ice cream with pieces of real king cake, cinnamon chips, and Mardi Gras sprinkles. If that sounds good, go nuts with an ice cream king cake: Eight big scoops of king cake ice cream, topped with purple, green, and gold vanilla créme anglaise, sprinkles, and cherries. There’s a baby inside too.

King cake ice cream at Creole Creamery

Frey Smoked Meat Co.

We live in a world of souped-up milkshakes, as evidenced by the many viral Instagram shakes of the world. It’s possible Frey Smoked Meat has outdone them all with its king cake a la mode made with none other than hometown favorite, James Beard Award-winning Dong Phuong king cake. The vanilla milkshake is all dressed up with purple, green, and gold sugar, topped with whipped cream, and a big slice of Dong Phuong king cake. And — yes -- there’s a baby on it.

Angelo Brocato

King cake gelato
FACEBOOK

This Italian gelateria is over a century old — plenty of time to perfect a craft. For Carnival season, the adorable spot is offering vanilla gelato studded with Caluda’s traditional king cake (one of Eater NOLA’s top king cakes this season).

King cake gelato
FACEBOOK

Beth Biundo Sweets

Super-stylish bakery Beth Biundo Sweets is here to make Carnival dreams come true with a multi-layered, Mardi Gras-inspired cake with purple, green, and gold wedding cake-flavored layers held together by vanilla buttercream. The thing is that it tastes as good as it looks. It’s available by the slice at the bakery, or in 6” ($34), 8” ($47), and 10” ($69) rounds by pre-order. Tip: Stop by Martin’s Wine Cellar around the corner from Beth Biundo to grab a bottle of Champagne or sparkling dessert wine to take to the bakery and enjoy with a slice.

Cavan

Courtesy

The smartest and very best savory king cake out there. Chef Nathan Richard makes the dough from white mountain roll and stuffs it with crawfish and goat cheese. A slightly sweet pepper jelly cream cheese plays the part of the icing, while chili flakes, dehydrated crab fat “sugar,” and green onions stand in for the tri-colored sugars. To make it truly fit for a king (or “make it a Rex”), ask for some Cajun Caviar on top. A small (without caviar) is only going to run you $16, with a $3 upcharge for caviar. Note: Orders must be placed 24 hours in advance.

Courtesy

Sucré (Multiple Locations)

Macaroon-obsessed Sucre has purple, green, and gold macaroons filled with a king cake-inspired mousseline. Order them individually or get 15 of them all wrapped up and tied with a bow in a Mardi Gras colored box. The 15-piece box is $37.50.

District Donuts Sliders Brew

District elevated New Orleans’ doughnut game when it opened in 2013, and the spot now has over one hundred different doughnut variations, but the one to have during Carnival is the king cake donut. They go fast, so get there early. Also, the District’s actual king cake this year is inspired by the Italian cuccidati cookie with brioche dough spiked with cinnamon, and stuffed with fig, walnut, raisin, date, orange, and spices, so try that too while you’re there.

Bourbon House

Seasonal favorite, the king cake bevvy cocktail, returns for its ninth year in a row for good reason. It’s a riff on Bourbon House’s beloved and much-lauded frozen bourbon milk punch -- and it’s probably enough to stop at that. For those who need more convincing, it’s Old New Orleans rum, orgeat, cinnamon syrup, Louisiana citrus, and housemade vanilla gelato topped off with purple, green, and gold sprinkles. It comes with its own king cake baby stir stick and tastes remarkably like its name-sake.

Bakery Bar

King cake doberge at Debbie Does Doberge
FACEBOOK

This seven-layer dream combines two classic New Orleans desserts — king cake and doberge. The seven layers of cake held together by cream cheese pudding, and topped with buttercream frosting and cream cheese icing. The flavors of the cake undeniably taste like a bolder version of the king cake. Slices and whole cakes are first-come, first-served at the Bakery Bar, unless you placed an order before January 5. Either way, the bar and sweet shop is worth a visit.