It is no longer news to report about the expansion of the king cake industry. We all know about the many new bakers and the plethora of innovative flavors.

But now there is a new development.

This pastry that once was just all about trying to avoid the plastic baby has evolved another dimension.

No longer is king cake simply a vehicle for containing different flavors.

Now king cake itself has become a flavor and the possibilities are limitless.

It was while watching the Krewe du Vieux a few years ago that a paradegoer offered me a squirt from her wineskin of the then novel king cake flavored rum. The mostly cinnamon concoction was unusual at the time, not something I would want another sip of, but it was a prelude of what was to come.  

I saw the future last Saturday at an event called King Cakes and Conversation at WYES. Among the vendors was the Elmer’s Fine Food company, the maker of CheeWees. They have a new product – king cake flavored cotton candy.  A gob of the cotton candy comes packed in a plastic bag suitable for throwing from floats. An Elmer’s employee told me, “this is the future of Mardi Gras throws.” He confided that there have been many large orders from parade riders who will be flinging what is labeled as “Mardi Gras Cotton Candy.” (A legal note: in New Orleans it is illegal to throw food from floats unless it is properly packaged. The cotton candy is prepared by the same people who bag CheeWees and even features the same cartoon mouse found on the CheeWees bag only depicted as a second-liner.)

King Cakes: The Next Dimension

Also on display at the WYES event were king cake flavored syrups. One entrepreneur explained that he created the product to splash on day-old king cake so that it could be moistened.

Do you prefer bread pudding? One baker features cubed bread pudding topped with the king cake sauce.

Once king cake rum was available could beer be far behind? Not in the age of craft breweries. Gulfport based Chandeleur Island Brewing Company markets a “King Cake Ale.” Abita Brewery produces a “King Cake Soda” and, of course Taaka has a king cake vodka. (No this is not a Russian invasion. The Taaka label is now owned by the local Sazerac company headed by New Orleanian Bill Goldring.)

So, the possibilities are limitless.

This raises the question though. What exactly should king cake flavor taste like? The question is complicated because king cake now comes in so many flavors. To try to replicate the classic flavor cinnamon always seems to be a key ingredient with various sweet spices. Of note is that the listed ingredients for Elmer’s cotton candy includes “birthday cake flavor.”

King cake, not just as a pastry but as a flavor, will probably become as diverse as themed throws and blinking beads. I say let the market have its way. But please, no king cake flavored crawfish seasoning.

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Have something to add to this story, or want to send a comment to Errol? Email him at errol@myneworleans.com. Note: All responses are subject to being published, as edited, in this article. Please include your name and location.

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BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s books, “New Orleans: The First 300 Years” and “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2017 and 2013), are available at local bookstores and at book websites.

WATCH INFORMED SOURCES, FRIDAYS AT 7 P.M., REPEATED AT 9:30 A.M. SUNDAYS.WYES-TV, CH. 12.