For the past five years, Sean and Chamain O’Mahony have brought artisanal French loaves and vegan pastries to New Orleans’ Riverbend with their bakery, Breads on Oak. At their boulangerie, Sean and Chamain are committed to producing traditional French specialties in a healthy, environmentally friendly way. So, a few years ago, when they decided to introduce their line of king cakes, it was a no-brainer that the treats would be made with vegan ingredients. “There wasn’t a true vegan king cake, and so, I set out to develop one and try and come up with a recipe that would bring out the flavors and the textures that I wanted in a king cake,” says Sean, who honed his craft at the French Pastry School. All of the Breads on Oak king cakes are made with organic ingredients and are decorated with naturally colored sugar. Last year, the bakery offered four flavors—cinnamon, almond cream, persimmon pecan, and cream cheese. Breads on Oak also offers “adult” king cakes, which have alcohol infused into the fillings. Last year’s adult king cakes included bourbon tiramisù, champagne orange almond cream, bourbon apple cream cheese, and rum strawberry cream cheese. Their king cakes are available both in store and for shipping.
For traditional French king cakes, or galettes des rois, La Boulangerie in Uptown New Orleans is one of your best bets. During Carnival season, the bakery and café, known for its artisan pastries and breads, sells more of these than any other king cake. It features beautifully browned and glazed puff pastry layers filled with frangipane, a dense almond paste.
La Boulangerie also offers New Orleans-style king cakes, which are made with cinnamon roll-style brioche dough and come with a variety of fillings, including cinnamon, strawberry almond, and flourless chocolate cake. The finished cakes are smeared with cream cheese frosting and topped with sprinkles.
In lieu of plastic king cake babies, La Boulangerie includes unique trinkets with each of their king cakes. Their New Orleans king cakes come with plastic pig figurines (since the bakery is owned by pork-centric Link Restaurant Group), and each galette des rois is accompanied by a porcelain trinket and gold paper crown.
“We have a company in France that hand-makes [our porcelain trinkets],” says Executive Pastry Chef Maggie Scales. “They are really fun and different, and it’s fun that everybody gets a different one.”