It's carnival season, and Tuesday was Mardi Gras! So I was feeling pretty home sick. Which, of course, meant I just really wanted a classic Mardi Gras delight: a king cake. I LOVE king cake more than almost anything else on earth. It's tough to admit, but I honestly go through about 3 king cakes per season by myself, easily. For those unfamiliar, 'carnival' season is essentially the entire month of February. Tons of parades that lead up to Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in french) all over Louisiana.
A king cake is basically a large cinnamon roll with cream cheese filling (or whatever filling you want, but cream cheese is the classic), topped with icing and beautiful Mardi Gras colored crystallized sugar. They're phenomenal. But it is VERY difficult to find one outside of Louisiana. Honestly, it's hard to find one outside of south Louisiana. They're usually expensive and disappointing. But I was desperate and in need of a king cake, so I found a local french bakery that makes them and decided to give it a try.
I was pleasantly surprised at the result. It was definitely different than a typical king cake, but not in a bad way. Lucette Grace basically makes a large buttery, melt-in-your-mouth croissant, fills it with a pastry filling, tops it with this colorful sugar and also with candied orange slices. The croissant was fantastic, filled with a nice creamy filling, met with the awesome sweet crunch of the sugar. Possibly the oddest addition was the candied orange slices, which were a very good addition. They added some acidity and brightness to this very sweet and buttery dessert.
Overall, this was probably the best king cake outside of south Louisiana that I've ever had. Very interesting take, but they did a great job of making this dessert their own.
Also: instead of the typical plastic baby inside the cake, they had a porcelain chicken-bead inside! Awesome surprise.