One of the most important traditions for celebrating a true Mardi Gras is eating a king cake with family and friends on “Fat Tuesday," the last day of the Carnival season, which falls on February 16 in 2021.
King cakes are a centuries-old tradition brought to Louisiana from Spain, and modern-day cakes come in all types of varieties, including popular flavors like praline, cream cheese, strawberry, or cinnamon. A small figurine is baked into the cake—the exact object depends on the baker—and whoever gets the piece of cake with the hidden item traditionally must purchase the following year's king cake.
Fortunately, you don't have to live close to New Orleans or even in Louisiana to enjoy these famous cakes as there are plenty of places in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area (as well as online) where you can buy a delicious king cake and celebrate like you're on Bourbon Street.
If you're planning to pick up a king cake from a specialty bakery in the Metroplex, it's a good idea to call ahead and reserve one, especially if you're looking for one close to Fat Tuesday. Most bakeries do a lot of business on these peak days, so place your order early so you can make sure you'll be celebrating correctly this year.
Blue Bonnet Bakery
First opened in 1934, Blue Bonnet Bakery is a Fort Worth staple, serving generations of Texans quality, handmade products including delicious king cakes during the Carnival season. Their traditional king cake features raisins, apples, and pecans, but you'll need to place an order in advance of Mardi Gras if you hope to pick up your cake on Monday or Fat Tuesday.
Blue Bonnet Bakery also has a selection of sweet and savory breakfast and lunch items. And in addition to your purchases supporting this family-owned small business, the Blue Bonnet Bakery donates all of the baked goods that aren't sold each day to the First Street Methodist Mission, an organization that helps feed the homeless in DFW.
Casa Linda Bakery
Serving the Dallas-Fort Worth community for over 75 years, Casa Linda Bakery is located in Garland. During the Mardi Gras season, you can find their signature cinnamon king cakes, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Be sure to call ahead to make sure they have them in stock. Casa Linda Bakery is a popular place and their king cakes always sell out quickly, but they also have plenty of delicious things to choose from, including iced Clown Cookies, fudge bars, cupcakes, and other sweet treats.
Bread Winners Cafe
With locations in Uptown, Inwood Village, and NorthPark Center in Dallas and another in Plano, Bread Winners Cafe is an excellent choice for ordering a king cake. You can choose between a praline cake or berries and cream, or get one of each (the holiday is all about excess, after all). Bread Winners Cafe also has iced sugar cookies and cupcakes decorated in the festive Mardi Gras colors for the occasion, which are typically available in the shop (no need to order these in advance).
Available as early as mid-January in plain or strawberry flavors, Kroger's king cakes are some of the best in the area, and some of the most readily available, too. It's never too early for a king cake at this national chain grocery store, which has locations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. However, you should place an order in advance if you want to ensure you have a king cake on Mardi Gras, as many other people rely on Kroger's bakery for special occasions throughout the year.
Located in Fort Worth, Texas, Ember's Cakes is a home-operated specialty bakery that prepares made-to-order artisan king cakes throughout the Mardi Gras and Carnival seasons. Ember's Cakes can be ordered online by e-mail or by phone, and all confections are handmade by a pastry chef who just happens to be a long-time resident of the DFW area. Apart from seasonal king cakes, you can also purchase elaborately decorated cakes throughout the year for all occasions. They're so visually appealing, it may be hard to cut into it.
Another great place to get delicious cakes year-round, Central Market offers king cakes in strawberry cream cheese, almond, and traditional flavors around Carnival season. With locations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Central Market is a great destination for a last-minute king cake, as these Mardi Gras treats are typically well-stocked throughout the Carnival season.
Traditional king cakes are available at Market Street locations throughout the DFW region, and you should place an order in advance if you want to guarantee availability on Fat Tuesday.
Since Market Street is a popular grocery and baked goods store, you should head there early on Monday morning if you haven't placed an advanced order for a cake. While there will surely be plenty of Mardi Gras-themed confections available throughout Carnival week, king cakes are likely sell out quickly at most locations.
Another popular place to pick up prepared foods, Tom Thumb offers king cakes in traditional, raspberry, apple, and cream cheese varieties. Tom Thumb's traditional king cake has an almond flavor to it and it's served with three beads and a baby. You can also add some decaf hazelnut coffee to your order or a variety of other delectable treats decorated in typical Mardi Gras colors of green, purple, and gold.
Whole Foods Market
For an organic king cake, you can stop by the bakery inside any of Dallas' many Whole Foods Markets. King cakes are typically available in traditional cinnamon, raspberry cream cheese, chocolate, praline, regular cream cheese, and berry chantilly.
While a limited variety of king cakes will be available throughout Mardi Gras week, you should place your order at the Whole Foods Bakery at least a week before the event to ensure you have a king cake to take home to your family on Fat Tuesday.