Make a bedazzled king cake and get NOLA chefs' Mardi Gras secrets

February 2016
By: Abby Reisner, Tasting Table

Mardi Gras has, well, a reputation.

"I was not prepared for the amount of items thrown off of a float, and I got a black eye from a flying stack of cups," Lisa White, partner/baker of Willa Jean in New Orleans, says about her first Carnival season.

Another way Fat Tuesday (happening this year on February 9) can leave a mark: one too many slices of king cake, the bedazzled centerpiece of a Mardi Gras celebration meal. New Orleans-born David Guas of Virginia and Washington, D.C.'s Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery remembers his high school days, when he would have king cake-eating competitions with his friends on their way to swim practice. "Needless to say, we weren't the speediest (or most buoyant) swimmers during Carnival season."

We're not one to pass up an opportunity to make an all-frills cake. And since a celebration this large calls for serious pastry, we layer the twisted brioche dough with filling inspired by bananas Foster, another classic New Orleans dessert (see the recipe). Then we top it with a sugary rum glaze before adding a crowning glory of way too much glitter dust.