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In true Mardi Gras spirit, man tries 66 king cakes during Carnival

An array of King Cakes graded and recorded by Matt Haines.

By Claire Byun

If you think you didn’t try enough versions of king cake this Mardi Gras season, don’t worry. A local man did the legwork – and recorded his results – for you.

Matt Haines tried 66 different King Cakes from 54 different eateries this year – for research purposes, obviously.

Haines, who lives in the Bywater, spent Carnival trying as many cakes as possible while keeping a spreadsheet of the flavor, style and personal grade of each delicacy. The spreadsheet also says whether or not the bakery mails cakes and sells them by the slice.

“I’ve thought a ton about why more places don’t sell King Cakes by the slice,” Haines said. “If you sell it $3 of $4 per slice, you just have to sell one or two slices to make cost.”

His grading system ranges from A+ to B-, with the lowest grade given to Gerald’s Donuts’ traditional cake in Chalemtte. Mid-City’s Blue Dot Donuts’ Donut cake earned an A and sells cake by the slice – a winner in Haines’ book.

Shake Sugary’s banana Nutella King Cake (via Matt Haines).

Gracious Bakery’s almond-filled queen cake and Norma Sweet’s Bakery’s guava cheese-filled cake both earned B+ on the spreadsheet.

Haines’ absolute favorite cakes is a toss up between Shake Sugary’s banana Nutella cake and Bittersweet Confections’ chocolate cream cheese version.

“I didn’t realize how many insane and creative varieties,” Haines said.

To see all the cakes Haines tested, or to get some ideas to jumpstart next year’s Mardi Gras, check out his spreadsheet.

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