8 spots in the Milwaukee area to find king cake for Mardi Gras
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Jan. 30, 2018 at 11:01 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
For many Christians, Jan. 6 is known as Kings Day, Epiphany or Twelfth Night (since it falls 12 days after Christmas). As the story is told, it is on this day that three wise men – or magi – followed a star to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus. In New Orleans, this feast day marks not only the end of the Christmas season but also the beginning of Carnival, which lasts through Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).
One of the elements born of Epiphany is the king cake, a sweet, circular pastry, cake or bread baked in the shape of a king's crown. It's an annual tradition observed in Latin and European countries around the world – with a special prize or gift inside the cake. Whoever finds the trinket in their slice of cake is considered "king" for the day, and it is said that good luck will follow them throughout the year. The king is also responsible for providing the king cake for the following year.
In France and Belgium, the galette des rois ("cake of kings") takes the form of a pastry that's typically filled with a frangipane almond cream. In Spain and Latin America, the rosca de reyes is comprised of a ring-shaped sweet dough that's topped with icing and dried fruit.
In America, Louisiana-style king cakes are a more popular style. They are constructed from a buttery brioche-style dough that's twisted into an oval shape and decorated with icing and colored sugars. Most sport stripes of green, gold and purple – the traditional colors of Mardi Gras, which signify the blessings of faith, power and justice. Most cakes feature a cinnamon flavor, and some are filled with fruit or cream fillings. These cakes also traditionally included a plastic or porcelain baby baked inside or sold alongside the cake (some bakeries no longer observe the tradition, as it's been recognized as a choking hazard).
In New Orleans, the cakes are sold widely, and favorite cakes can be procured from bakeries like Joe Gambino's and Haydel's Bakery. In Milwaukee, however, they're a bit more difficult to find – but not impossible.
We've done the research for you and assembled this list of places where you can find (and pre-order) the cakes.
1. Aggie's Bakery
7328 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 482-1288
King cakes at Aggie's are made with a tender sweet dough with a choice of three fillings: cinnamon, cream cheese or a combination of both. They are priced $14.95 to $49.95, depending on size, with the smallest cakes feeding 5-8 and the largest accommodating up to 50. The cakes will be available beginning the first week in February and leading up to Fat Tuesday (Feb. 13).
2. Cranky Al's
6901 W. North Ave., (414) 258-5282
Cranky Al's in Wauwatosa has made it an annual tradition to bake up king cakes for enjoyment on Fat Tuesday, and this year is no different. Pre-orders can be placed for the cakes, which are $30 each, beginning on Jan. 10. All cakes will be available for pick-up on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
3. Grebe's Bakery
5132 W. Lincoln Ave., (414) 543-7000
For the second year running, Grebe's bakery will also offer king cakes. The cakes will be available for purchase on Fat Tuesday (Feb. 13). Pre-orders for the cakes can be made by calling the bakery.
4. Mila's European Bakery
239 N. Main St., Thiensville
Mila's offers two types of king cakes: the Spanish rosca de reyes featuring icing and dried fruit and Louisiana-style cakes made with a sweet Danish-style dough, icing and sprinkles. Cakes will be on hand in the bakery's retail shop during the week of Feb. 13 (Fat Tuesday) in limited quantity; however, pre-orders are recommended. Pricing is available by calling the bakery directly; please give the bakery three days lead time for your order.
5. National Bakery
3200 S. 16th St., (414) 672-1620
13820 W. Greenfield Ave., Brookfield (262) 827-4097
5637 Broad St., Greendale (414) 423-4620
National Bakery will have king cakes available beginning the first week in February. The cakes, which are made with a traditional Danish laminated dough infused with cinnamon, are iced and decorated with green, gold and purple sanding sugars. Each cake is $18.95 and comes complete with a little plastic baby.
6. O&H Danish Bakery
9540 S. 27th St., Oak Creek, (414) 856-1141
717 S. Sylvania Ave., Sturtevant, (262) 898-1950
4006 Durand Ave., Racine, (262) 554-1311
1841 Douglas Ave., Racine, (262) 637-8895
5910 Washington Ave., Racine, (262) 504-7000
If you're looking for a king cake with Wisconsin flair, look no further than O&H Danish Bakery. Their king cake is a cream cheese kringle decorated in green, purple and gold and sold with three strands of beads, a plastic baby and a copy of the king cake story. The cakes can be picked up at one of the O&H stores or ordered online beginning Jan. 8. Pricing for the kringles is $10.75 in-store or $25.99 plus shipping when ordered online.
7. Sendik's Food Market
Multiple locations in metro-Milwaukee
Sendik's will offer king cakes beginning the week of Jan. 15. The cakes ($7.99 each) will be available in all Sendik's stores, with the exception of Fresh2Go locations.
8. Simma's Bakery
817 N. 68th St., Wauwatosa, (414) 257-0998
Simma's bakery will be offering king cake in two flavors (chocolate chip cheese and raspberry cheese) for Fat Tuesday (Feb. 13). The cakes must be pre-ordered on or before Saturday, Feb. 10 for pick-up on the 13th. A limited number of cakes will also be available in the bakery for purchase. Cost is $13.95 each.
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