Take a Bite Out of Mardi Gras with a Sucre King Cake {Giveaway}

This post is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Now that my New Orleans Saints are out of the Superbowl hunt (cue very sad music here), I can focus on the next big thing here in NOLA….Carnival! January 6th, also known as King’s Day, begins the Carnival Season which ends on March 4th or Fat Tuesday.

There are so many reasons why I love Carnival. The friends, the parades, the throws, and the music all top the list. But my favorite has to be the traditional New Orleans king cake.   Never heard of a King Cake?  The king cake is as rich in history as it is in flavor. Since the 1800s, New Orleanians have celebrated the beginning of the Carnival Season with a “King’s Cake” on Twelfth Night. A small plastic baby symbolizing the baby Jesus is inserted in the cake, and the reveler who finds it is said to have good fortune for the year. The recipient then continues the festivities by having another party and providing the next King Cake.

It’s a safe bet that most offices and schools in the New Orleans area will have a King Cake every Friday throughout the Carnival season.  It is also a safe bet to assume that I have eaten more than my fair share of this tasty treat in my 39 years of life.  A few years ago, I was introduced to the King Cake from Sucre and I have never looked back.

Voted “A Favorite” By The Times Picayune 2012 King Cake Contest and 2011 “BEST” King Cake by a Washington Post blind taste test. Sucre’s signature buttery danish pastry is sweetened by cinnamon and raw cane sugar then folded with a light layer of creole cream cheese. Serves 8-10 people.
One thing they forgot to mention on their website, purely unintentional of course, is that I crowned the Sucre King Cake best in New Orleans. Not only is it the prettiest King Cake I have ever seen, my taste buds love it, too!  Is your mouth watering yet?  If you are longing for a taste but don’t live in New Orleans, don’t worry!  A Sucre King Cake can be delivered right to your door!  Plus, one Experimental Mommy reader will win one right here.  Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Make French Macarons from Sucre New Orleans

If you are a dessert lover, and have a knack for creating delicious treats in the kitchen then this is the perfect French Macaron recipe for you, straight from the world renowned Pastry Chef Tariq Hanna at Sucré.

The macaron dates back to France where Queens and Kings served them to their guests. Executive Chef Tariq has handcrafted this classic into his own masterpiece.  Sucrè offers seasonal flavors that make them the perfect gift all year long. They offer macarons for all dessert lovers: chocolate, pistachio, almond, hazelnut, bananas foster, and a variety of other delicious handcrafted macarons! Whether you choose to keep them all for yourself, or decide to share with a friend, you are sure to be impressed with these gourmet confections. Chef Tariq, named one of the top 10 chocolatiers in North America is sharing his classic recipe with Experimental Mommy! Push up your sleeves and be prepared to create your own masterpiece! Feel free to add your own flare to the recipe, and have fun adding your favorite flavors. Make sure to let us know if you discover a new brilliant flavor!

Tariq’s Top Secret French Macaron Recipe

 What you need:

250g TPT = almond powder and icing sugar – sifted

100g sugar

100g egg white

25g sugar

* add color as desired

Filling:

200g pistachio paste or other flavoring

200g butter cream

* Amounts of flavors, pastes etc. will vary with personal taste

 

How to Make It:

To make the macarons, sieve the sugar and the TPT very fine. Put aside.

Now whisk the egg white together with the second part of sugar at middle speed.

Gradually whisk the egg white mixture to become very stiff. * if cooking the sugar for the meringue cook to 245° F and follow the standard procedure for making a cooked meringue adding color in the end.

* Add natural powder color

Fold the TPT mix into meringue.

Setting: With a whole nozzle pipe, pipe small discs on a baking parchment. Bake for 2-3 minutes at 200° C/ 392° F closed, 8-10 min at 170° C/ 338° F open. Remove from the oven and let the macarons cool. Whisk the pistachio paste with the butter cream and pipe the mix on the macarons.  Pipe the filling between two macarons and sandwich them.

Enjoy!

Sucrè is a sweet confections boutique located in New Orleans, with a team of professionally trained chefs working hard to bring you the freshest and tastiest authentic handcrafted delicacies! Sucrè offers gourmet handcrafted chocolates and desserts that will inspire any taste buds! You can find exquisite handmade truffles, amazing King Cakes and the most delightful macarons, which are so delicious, they have gained the attention of Oprah Winfrey, and were featured in O Magazine.

Don’t forget, if you can’t make it to New Orleans for Super Bowl, Sucrè can ship New Orleans to you! Anything you desire can probably be found on Sucrè’s website, and it can be delivered to your door in just a few days.

How to Host a Mardi Gras Party (from a NOLA Native)

Here in New Orleans, Carnival is in full swing!  Parades are rolling, bands and marching and the food is plentiful as we await the coming of Mardi Gras Day.  Want to bring the Mardi Gras spirit to your part of the world?  Just follow these easy steps and “Laissez Bon Temps Rouler!

1.  Invite the Revelers:  Gather the crowd and invite your guests to dress in costume or traditional Mardi Gras masks.

2.  Set the Scene:  What’s a party without balloons, streamers and confetti?  The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold, so you are going to want to grab these colors for decorations.  I love this Mardi Gras tableware from Party City!

3.  Fun with Food:  New Orleanians know how to eat!  The centerpiece of every party is the food, so start will a traditional menu of jambalaya (try the Zatarain’s mix) or seafood gumbo.  Don’t forget the dessert!  You absolutely HAVE to get a King Cake.  Check out my Top 5 Places to Get an Original New Orleans King Cake.

4.  You’re gonna need some music:  Dance, eat and dance some more!  Check out my favorite New Orleans Party Classics.

5.  Second Line the Night Away!  Don’t know how?  Check out this video and grab a second line hanky.

6.  Throw Me Somethin’, Mista! Send your guests home with Mardi Gras beads so they remember the night forever!

In 2012, Mardi Gras will be on February 21st, so get those invites out now and start planning!

Top Five Places to Get King Cake in New Orleans

UPDATED for the 2018 Carnival Season!

If you are not from New Orleans, January 6th might just be an ordinary day, or perhaps you know it as the Epiphany or King’s Day.  But for us New Orleanians, January 6th marks the start of something spectacular….CARNIVAL!  The parades, floats, marching bands, traditions and throws are all great fun, but my favorite part of Carnival is the KING CAKE!

where to get king cake

King’s Day (January 6th) is celebrated as the date the gift-bearing kings visited the baby Jesus. The King Cake is baked in honor of the three kings and the baby (plastic, porcelain or gold) placed inside the cake symbolizes the baby Jesus. Originally, these oval cakes were a simple ring of dough with a small amount of decoration. Today’s King Cakes are much more festive! After the rich Danish dough is braided and baked, the “baby” is inserted. The top of the ring or oval cake is then covered with delicious sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors: purple, green and gold.

king cake

In New Orleans, King Cake parties are held throughout the Carnival Season (generally on Friday). The person who receives the slice of cake with the baby inside is asked to continue the festivities by hosting the next King Cake party.

If you are looking to be a part of this NOLA tradition, I thought I would help you find some of the BEST places to buy King Cake (and I should know because over the course of my 42 years, I have tasted a LOT of King Cake!).

5 (tie).  Party Palace: Typically, I have seen these King Cakes in PJ’s Coffee stores, but now you can order these thick, heavy on the icing cakes online, too!

5 (tie). Marguerite Cakes: If chocolate is what you love, Marguerite offers a Brownie Delight cake that is truly spectacular. Their traditional King Cake (in my opinion) has a hint of almond flavoring making this cake different than the rest.

4.  Gambino’s:  While Gambino’s is known for their Doberche Cakes, they make a mean King Cake, too! These King Cakes can be stuffed with cream cheese, pecan praline, raspberry, peach, pineapple, blueberry, strawberry, lemon, apple, cherry or chocolate brownie!  I recommend the cream cheese!  Gambino’s offers some great packages to give out-of-towners a real Carnival experience.

4. (tie) Haydel’s:  In September, Haydel’s created a World’s Record for the largest King Cake ever made… it actually circled the New Orleans SuperDome! This Carnival, they are celebrating by offering the World Record King Cake Care Package which includes one large Traditional or Filled King Cake plus Haydel’s own Mambo Beat Mardi Gras Magazine, a king cake history scroll, one pack of Haydel’s Coffee and Chicory, Haydel’s Specialty Bead Pack, this year’s handcrafted Porcelain Collectible (while supplies last), Mardi Gras CD, Mardi Gras poster and a World Record Edition Mardi Gras cup.  Follow Haydel’s on Twitter so you don’t miss any special deals!

3. Nonna Randazzo’s (Covington):  Not on the Southshore?  No problem!  Try out this Northshore favorite! Closer to Baton Rouge? Try the Zulu King Cake (pictured below) at Ambrosia’s Bakery!

Zulu King Cake

2. Randazzo’s:  Making King Cakes since 1965, Randazzo’s is the favorite of many locals.  The line remains out of the door, through the parking lot and down the street which means they are doing something right! From now through Mardi Gras Eve (known as Lundi Gras), you can have a King Cake shipped just about anywhere!

2.  Sucre:  Even though I was born and raised in New Orleans, I was just introduced to the Sucre King Cake a few years ago for a product review.  This is by far the prettiest King Cake I have ever seen….and one of the tastiest.  For only $20, you can own a slice of heaven! I absolutely cannot wait to get one this year.  In fact, I loved it so much, I shipped a few of these to friends last year so I wouldn’t be the only one to love Sucre!

1. Don Phuong’s Oriental Bakery: My new favorite for 2018! I am a sucker for cream cheese icing and this King Cake does it perfectly. This bakery is located in New Orleans East but I have found a few places in Lakeview (Pizza NOLA) and Metairie (Pho NOLA) that carry the cakes for those who don’t want to travel (even though it’s totally worth the trip).

Check out these related posts:

How to host a Mardi Gras Party

Bake Your Own Traditional New Orleans King Cake

Happy King’s Day!  Where are you going to get your King Cake?

Win a King Cake from Sucre New Orleans!

Neutral Ground.  Sidewalk side.  Poboy.  Make do do.  Suck the heads.  King Cake.

If these words are in your vocabulary, then you are probably a native New Orleanian.  I am proud to say that I have lived in the Big Easy for my entire life (35 years and counting) and have been fortunate enough to be surrounded with its rich culture and hospitable people.  New Orleans is in my blood and part of my soul and I have to remind myself that not everyone understands our “ways.”  Through my online life, I have met many new friends and it has been great fun to share my City and traditions with them.  With Mardi Gras approaching, it’s a great time to share another New Orleans tradition with you all…..the King Cake!  A little background:

sucrecake “As part of our Christian faith, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. We refer to this as the Feast of the Epiphany or Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night. This is a time of celebration, exchanging gifts and feasting. Today, the tradition continues as people all over the world gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations. A popular custom was and still is the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings called “A King’s Cake.”

Inside every cake is a tiny baby (generally plastic now, but sometimes this baby might be made of porcelain or even gold). The tradition of having King Cake Parties has evolved through time, and the person who receives the slice of cake with the baby is asked to continue the festivities by hosting the next King Cake party.

Originally, King Cakes were a simple ring of dough with a small amount of decoration. Today’s King Cakes are much more festive. After the rich Danish dough is braided and baked, the “baby” is inserted. The top of the ring or oval cake is then covered with delicious sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.”

From the time I was little, I can remember eating King Cake just about every Friday during Carnival, so as you can imagine, I have tried many, many King Cakes.  Some are better than others, but recently I was asked to try a sample of the King Cake from Sucre New Orleans.  A little about Sucre:

From breakfast to a midnight snack, Sucré is available to satisfy your sweet tooth. Sucré (French for sugared) is an emporium of “artisan” sweets. Unlike a traditional bakery, Sucré serves plated desserts with custom garnishes in addition to boxed treats.

When the King Cake arrived, it was packaged very well (saran wrapped in a cardboard box) which would make this an excellent cake to ship to family and friends.  My daughter inhaled her dinner in order to get to dessert….she could NOT wait to dive into the new King Cake (girl after my own heart).  When we opened the box……

Photobucket

…..I was speechless.  The King Cake from Sucre was honestly the most BEAUTIFUL King Cake I have ever seen.  I know it sounds cliche, but I am serious!  The whole cake appeared gold in color with sparkling glitter creating the purple, green and gold sections like a traditional cake.  My daughter exclaimed that it looked like a “princess cake!”  It came packaged with three Mardi Gras beads to add to the excitement as well as a little card that described the King Cake as, “a ring of twisted, buttery dough sweetened with cinnamon and sugar and filled with a whipped cream cheese filling.

Following the directions, we heated the cake slightly and served what can only be described as pure heaven on a plate!  Honestly, this King Cake is one of the best I have ever eaten!  The cream cheese filling is very light and just makes the cake more moist then others I have tried.  The sugar is perfect and not overpowering.  And if that doesn’t say enough, I have already ordered another King Cake from Sucre!  Don’t live in New Orleans?  Don’t worry!  They ship nationwide for a flat $9.95 fee!

Sucre also offers a great selection of Valentine’s Day gifts for your loved one!  Check out the “I Love You” gift box!

Is your mouth watering yet?  Can you *almost* taste the King Cake?  Sucre has generously offered to share the spirit of Mardi Gras with one lucky Not-So-Blog reader who will receive their very own King Cake!!

How to enter:

1. Visit Sucre New Orleans and tell me what makes your mouth water?!

Additional entries:

1. Blog about this giveaway and link to The Not-So-Blog (10 extra entries).

2. Follow me (@BridgetteLA) and @SucreNewOrleans on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway. Every time you tweet you get an additional entry! Unlimited! (You must have over 50 Twitter followers to qualify for unlimited entries!)

3. Subscribe to my blog.

4. Become a Fan of The Not-So-Blog and Sucre New Orleans on Facebook.

5. Place my blog banner on your sidebar.

Contest ends at 11:59pm CST on February 8th. Prizes not claimed in 72 hours will be forfeited. Open to U.S. Residents only.

This product review is the opinion of the Experimental Mommy. Others may have a different experience. Sucre New Orleans supplied me with a sample for review, but all opinions are 100% mine.