Last Updated: Dec 28, 2022 @ 11:09 am.

What is the best King Cake? And where did this carnival tradition come from anyway? We tasted King Cake from several top brands to find the best bets. Here are the ones we like best.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. Our work is 100% reader-supported!

A Brief History of King Cake—And Our Taste Tests!

Let’s talk King Cake!

This sweet treat is a staple at Mardi Gras parties. But where did it come from? And how did it evolve into the King Cake we know today? 

Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday, is the traditional day of excess before Lent, that 40-day period of fasting before Easter.

As part of Mardi Gras celebrations, King Cake traces its roots back to Roman times, when a slave would become “king for a day” during the celebration known as Saturnalia. 

With the Roman Empire’s spread across Europe, King Cakes developed as a tradition from Greece to Portugal, France to Bulgaria. Of course, each country put its own spin on King Cake. (Hidden inside the King Cake is a tiny plastic baby or coin—whoever gets the prize is King for the day—and gets to host the next party and provide the cake).

In New Orleans, King cake is typically a sweet yeast dough cake braided with a praline or cinnamon filling. White icing is sprinkled with colored sugar (purple, green, gold—which symbolize, justice, faith and power, respectively). Here’s a look at a sliced King Cake from one of the brands that topped our taste tests:

Best King Cake inside

(Photo credit: Manny Randazzo Bakery)

Speaking of taste tests, we did a blind taste test of King Cakes from several brands. Then we also tried out King Cake mixes, for those do-it-yourself bakers out there. 

Here are the ones we liked the best:

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Best Traditional Taste

Super moist and fresh
Love the cinnamon swirl in this cake—and the icing was delicious. Also nice: it comes well-boxed for transit.

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Best Mix

Praline filling is divine
Great cake kit with everything you need (mix, filling, glaze and plastic baby). The cake tastes great, with vibrant colors of colored sugar glaze.
$14.28 ($0.50 / Ounce)

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Best Moist Cake

Made in New Orleans
This cake impressed our taste testers with its overall flavor and freshness.

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Best Portuguese Style

Not too sweet
We like the taste of this cake, which reminds us of Italian Panettone, but is somewhat denser. Topped with nuts and fruit, it was a treat.

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About the Authors

Denise & Alan Fields are consumer advocates and best-selling authors. The Fields have authored 12 books with three million copies in print, including the best-selling guide to baby gear, Baby Bargains.

The Fields have been featured and quoted in the New York TimesWall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

As consumer products experts, the Fields have been guests on the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America and ABC’s 20/20.

How We Pick Products To Recommend

We often turn to our readers (3 million strong!) to find products to recommend. We ask our parent readers for their favorites and consider their real-world experiences in our recommendations.

When we test a product, we always purchase it with our own monies. We do not take free samples, as we believe that compromises our independence.

We also fact check manufacturer information with our own measurements. If a maker claims a product weighs X pounds, we will weigh it to make sure. If the battery life is supposed to be six hours, we will see how it stands up in the real world.

In some cases, we will do interviews with experts in the field to get additional feedback on products.

To get hands-on time with products, we regularly meet one-on-one with gear companies and even tour manufacturing facilities. (When we do this, we pay our own travel expenses).

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

We make our living from affiliate commissions, but we always recommend what we think are the best bets for our readers (not the ones that are the most expensive). We are always looking for products that offer the best bang for the buck.

Our independence is a key reason why we have been doing this so long. As we mentioned above, when we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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