King cakes we love in 2023

King cakes laid out in a kitchen
Five Mile Eatery offers a sourdough spin on the king cake, a reader favorite. Photo courtesy Five Mile Eatery

Mardi Gras season is in full swing, and it’s hard to imagine celebrating it without a slice of that sweet, sweet (but not too sugary!) king cake.

We’ve got plenty of tasty options to choose from in Acadiana. And they come in all shapes and sizes: Traditional and radical. Brioche or sourdough. Donuts or not-donuts

We asked our readers to weigh in on their favorites. Here are king cakes they say are the Bavarian cream (ahem) of the crop. Use the map to plot your next king cake tour.

Five Mile Eatery
Lafayette

Co-founded by Chef Kelsey Leger and Sarah Trotter and tied for our readers' top choice, Five Mile Eatery Market & Co-op is an up-and-coming restaurant focused on local, farm fresh ingredients with a seasonally rotating menu. Their sourdough-based king cakes are unlike any other king cakes out there. Don’t sleep on the vegan version, says reader Elizabeth Patterson. Orders yours by Thursday evening for pick up by Saturday afternoon.

Elizabeth’s tip: Sourdough king cake in three flavors —cinnamon butter, pecan praline and Cajun cacao — all are awesome! They also make a vegan version which is to die for.

Sunny Akers Bread

If you want Sunny Akers, you’re going to have to plan ahead. Kaylyn Akers, a self-taught baker, operates the micro-bakery from Maurice. Her brioche-based king cake is soft and moist — and most certainly not a donut. Perfectly baked bread is what makes this king cake shine, says reader Ashlyn Landry. Order Sunny Akers’ king cakes for pick up at the Moncus Park Farmer’s Market.

Ashlyn’s tip: “It’s handmade by the sweetest family, and it’s the perfect amount of bread and icing!”

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Fremin's Food and Furniture
New Iberia

A community staple in New Iberia for 73 years, Fremin’s is a one-stop-shop. The family owned business isn’t just a supermarket–it’s also a furniture store, an event rental and catering company. They also churn out some great king cakes, says reader Shelby Sand.

Shelby’s tip: “Moist and dense, the best flavor is pecan praline and cream. It's your one-stop-shop for all your furniture, grocery, and king cake needs! Who could ask for more?!”

Classic Golden Pecans
Lafayette

Lafayette owned and operated for over 25 years, Classic Golden Pecans is maybe better known for its gourmet and specialty pecans and other confections. But their king cakes are every bit as gourmet and special, says reader Cindi Axtell. Crucially, it’s got the perfect balance of sweet.

Cindi’s take: The cake is sturdy enough to hold up the icing instead of being drowned as some are, which just makes them so sweet they’re barely edible. It tastes like a true king cake — not a donut. I did a taste test last year with my family and this was the winner, chosen by everyone.

Keller's Bakery
Lafayette, Youngsville

A cornerstone of Downtown Lafayette, the red building on Jefferson popped up 1929 and has had a grip on Lafayette denizens ever since. Keller’s king cake is a mainstay on the Mardi Gras scene. The secret to its longevity? Thin layers and none of that crunchy sugar, says reader Leslie Tidwell.

Leslie’s tip: “King cake can often be dry, so even if it tastes good, the experience can be less than stellar. Kellers' thin layers between filling makes for a more balanced and enjoyable eating experience. I feel like I'm eating a dessert and not a piece of bread with crunchy sugar on top.

Village Deaux
Maurice, Carencro, New Iberia

Village Deaux is a donut shop, but don’t let that fool you. Their king cake menu is robust: you can get boudin, french toast, apple pie, banana pudding, beignet and more. Don’t think a donut is a king cake? They got you, fam. Village Deaux also offers a more traditional take. The key, says reader Sarah Sabala, is variety.

Sarah’s take: “Village Deaux has the best king cakes! So many different types of specialties, and they’re all delicious 😋”

Twins Burgers and Sweets
Lafayette, Youngsville

Twins is a burger joint with an impressive pastry case. The bakery puts out delicious stuff year round and during king cake season. Our readers crave two favorites: pecan praline and cream cheese.

Crystal Weddings

Crystal Weddings does it big on wedding cakes, so it’s not surprising they know their way around a king cake. And their king cakes get around. You can find Crystal Weddings king cakes in a whopping 42 stores across Acadiana. Wherever you find them, the texture is just right, says reader J Martinez.

J’s tip: Crystal’s king cakes are most similar to the New Orleans style, with a consistency not too doughy nor too thin. The filling options are abundant and always fresh, never overwhelming the entire king cake either.

Poupart's Bakery
Lafayette

Come for the baguettes, and stay for the French king cakes at Poupart’s, the legendary bakery founded by French immigrant Francois Poupart. He and his son Patrick Poupart offer the familiar Louisiana take on the king cake and its French ancestor, consisting of a round puff pastry with almond filling.

Pro tip: Reheat it in the microwave for a flaky, gooey slice of paradise.

Rickey Meche's Donut King
Lafayette, Youngsville

Meche’s is best known for donuts and (surprise) the donut king cake. Is it a king cake? A giant donut? Can it be both? Whatever it is, it’s among the most popular cakes on the market. Forget tradition and do what tastes right, our readers say.