Born and raised in New Orleans, I can hardly ignore the fact that down in my hometown, it’s carnival time! My mom still sweetly offers to mail us king cakes every year, but after foolishly “cheating” last year just before my final diagnosis, this will be my very first gluten-free Mardi Gras.
For weeks I have been searching the internet for gluten-free king cakes being sold, salivating over images of purple, green and gold sugar and iced images of the traditional cakes, but I have yet to find a bakery promoting their gluten-free variety available for purchase. And a search for “gluten-free king cake recipes” has left us just as empty handed. Is this famed, seasonal cake an unconvertible treat? Are we who lead our lives without gluten also subject to life without king cake?
Here is what we came up with along the way on our search for gluten-free king cake:
- McKenzie’s Rules: McKenzie’s bakery may have closed down early this decade due to inherited debts and difficulty meeting health code standards, but we stubborn New Orleanians still agree: no king cakes compare to those baked by McKenzie’s. Fortunately, for the gluten-eating community, Tastee Donuts still sells the famed king cakes, but for the rest of us, at least we have the recipes! We found this chowhound.com conversation in which the recipe was listed about 2/3 of the way down the page for the traditional cake, while Uncle Phaedrus (finder of lost recipes) produced this cream cheese filled McKenzies’s king cake recipe.
- Some Recipes May Not Convert: After hours of mixing, kneading, allowing the dough to rise and eventual baking, we wound up with an un risen, rock-solid king cake with the consistency of baked playdough. Unfortunately, we suspect that one of our packets of yeast had gone bad. We tried this recipe listed on chowhound.com and used Whole Foods’ All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix. We blame the yeast, but perhaps we would have had better luck with a gluten-free bread baking flour?
- Leave it to the Bakeries and Bloggers: We may not have had any luck with our version of a gluten-free king cake this year, but we’re already planning to start contacting some of our favorite gluten-free bakeries in a few months to see if by next year’s Mardi Gras season they can’t come up with the answer to our gluten-free carnival wishes! Or perhaps some of the amazing gluten-free blogging bakers can suggest their own gluten-free king cake recipes!
Happy Mardi Gras to all those New Orleanians out there, and laissez les bon temps roulez!