As the king cake joins a long line of New Orleans food traditions up for reinterpretation, bakers and shoppers alike have decisions to make.
King cakes used to be easy. You waited — usually — until the start of Carnival season to get one, you argued about your favorites through the season and eventually you’d groan when yet another cake materialized in the office break room. You had one last slice on Fat Tuesday and that was that.
Other cities might be trudging through cabbage season at this point in winter, but New Orleans is eating cake. From Twelfth Night to Mardi Gras, which is Feb. 12 this year, daily consumption of king cake — a round of sweet dough glazed with purple, gold and green sugar — is more or less compulsory.