5 ways to get your King Cake fix in Fort Worth (without eating King Cake)
Mardi Gras in 2023 is February 21, and that means king cake, the flashy seasonal treat that has been a New Orleans tradition since 1870.
With its proximity to Louisiana, Dallas-Fort Worth has always had a bounty of king cake options from which to choose, everywhere from supermarkets to local bakeries. Whether any of those king cake options are any good is another topic.
The baby is a cute schtick. King Cakes come with a little toy plastic baby that gets baked into the dough; whoever gets it and doesn't choke on it supposedly has good luck. There's that.
But the cake itself .... NewOrleans.com says that a prototypical king cake is somewhere between cinnamon roll and coffeecake, and is "frequently packed with fruit fillings and decadent cream cheeses."
That might be true in New Orleans — but DFW king cakes always seem dry and bready, with the only distraction being the signature garishly colored sugar, so crunchy, it hurts your teeth.
It's almost as awful as kolaches.
Fortunately, Fort Worth has creative king cake spinoffs that celebrate the spirit of king cake without forcing you to actually eat king cake.
Here are five:
Dusty Biscuits' beignet version of a king cake.Dusty Biscuits
Mardi Gras beignets at Dusty Biscuit Beignets. Fort Worth beignet shop does one of the most clever New Orleans crossover items, combining two NOLA favorites — King Cake + beignets — into one. Fluffy fried beignets get drizzled with a sweet cream cheese glaze, dusted with cinnamon sugar, then colored powdered sugar. They're such a signature that they do them year-round, and are 3 to an order for $6. During Mardi Gras season, they also do a mini-king-cake version, using their same beignet dough, but in a traditional round, with an iridescent purple plastic baby in the center. The mini-cake is $12 and officially serves 2 to 4.
Like a King Cake but in a drinkable form.Tricky Fish
Mardi Gras Mambo at Tricky Fish. Small seafood restaurant chain owned by Razzoo's is channeling its King Cake spin in the very best possible form: a cocktail. Called a Bacardi Mardi Gras Mambo, it features a blend of Bacardi rums, Ube (which is what gives it the Mardi-esque purple hue), King's ginger, pineapple, and lime. It's served tableside with a Tricky Fish shake which you get to take home for free. They'll be pouring it from February 10-21 at all four locations including Waterside in Fort Worth at 5917 Convair Dr., plus Dallas, Richardson, and Frisco.
King Cake Sugar Cookies at Blue Bonnet Bakery. Sometimes you just want a sugar cookie, and that happens to be a specialty at Fort Worth's legacy bakery. Their King Cake Sugar Cookies are their classic decorated sugar cookie, done with a backdrop of white icing and Mardi Gras-colored sprinkles on top, for 90 cents each. Simple but perfect. (They're also doing King Cakes, if you must.) 817-731-4233.
King Cake Danish from La MadeleineLa Madeleine
Mardi Gras Danish at La Madeleine. The French bakery chain first introduced this seasonal pastry in 2019. It's described as a flaky Danish with a strawberry & cream cheese filling, topped with a fondant glaze and dusted with purple, yellow, & green sugar. It's basically croissant dough, fashioned into a Danish-like round shape, similar to their other Danish offerings such as lemon-blueberry Danish and ham & Swiss cheese Danish. $3.99, and it'll be available through March 7.
Keto King Cake at Unrefined Bakery. This roundup is supposed to be all things that are not King Cakes, but this local allergen-free bakery chain is the exception, since their King Cakes are not like the rest. It's a cute mini-Bundt cake version that's Gluten Free, Grain Free, Low Carb, Zero Sugar, Keto, Dairy Free, and Eat Fit, featuring a light glaze on top that sinks down into the cake, with a sprinkling of zero-calorie Swerve tinted gold, green, and purple. Think pound cake meets king cake. They're $15 each at all four locations including 3250 Hulen St., in Fort Worth.