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Can you imagine what it would be like to taste dozens of King Cakes at the legendary King Cake Festival that was held at Champions Square for Fat Tuesday? Well, if you were one of the lucky ones who attended between 2016 and 2019, you may have been part of a very unique experience of being one of those judges.

Enough King Cakes to be King for a day (or a Queen)

crowd on King Cakes festival

One of the most incredible aspects of the King Cake Festival was the impressive number of vendors that supplied their best King Cake creations over the years for one very decadent afternoon. On average, there were no less than 25 of the most prominent bakeries and vendors who entered their version of the sacred King Cake at the King Cake Festival. It should come as no surprise that there weren’t any typical judges were sitting at this event at all.

Instead, the task was left up to the attendees who all acted as judges, essentially trying small pieces of each cake with a little help from tasting tickets. These tickets were purchased ahead of time either from VIP ticket holders or anyone who came to attend the festival itself. Unlike other contests that would have surely sent a panel of judges to the ER for consuming too much sugar throughout the day, the public was given this exclusive task!

Each cake entry was given plenty of attention and offered an award system that wasn’t based on 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place but tallied nominations of categories that could define these cakes and flavors much better than a typical jury panel could award. Since we all know that Mardi Gras is all about celebrating the fun, food, and localized parties, cake vendors could enjoy their winning award titles that were very fitting to their selected cake creations.

What kinds of King Cake awards were given?

King Cake piece with award trophy

All flavors are subjective, but the title award given at the King Cake Festival was right on the money. It’s up there on the same level as the Best of the Best’ with plenty of charm that gave every winning vendor a signature title all of their own. In total, there were normally around 7 categories you could nominate a King Cake of your choice. More often, only 6 awards were handed out with one exception to the Best King Cake Booth Presentation’.

The featured awards included:

Best Presentation

Balestra’s: 2018-2019 – Nonna Randazzo’s Bakery: 2017 – Maurices French Bakery: 2016

Best Traditional

Buttermilk Drop Bakery, 2019 – Sierra’s Sugar Love Cakes Bakery: 2018 – Cocoa Bean Bakery and Café: 2017 – Caywood and Randazzo Bakery: 2016

Best Non-Traditional

Balestra’s 2018-2019 – Nonna Randazzo’s Bakery: 2016-2017

Most Unique

Quentin’s Natural King Cake Ice Cream: 2019 – Pain Fraise-Hyatt Regency: 2018 – Cocoa Bean Bakery and Café: 2017 – Nonna Randazzo’s Bakery: 2016

People’s Choice

Cannata’s King Cakes 1st place: 2019 – Sierra’s Sugar Love Cakes Bakery 2nd place: 2019 – Ricky Meche’s Donut King 3rd Place: 2019 – Pain Fraise-Hyatt Regency: 2018 – Nonna Randazzo’s Bakery: 2016-2017

Most Likely To Replace A Meal

Balestra’s 2019 – Food Drunk Food Truck: 2018 – Maurice’s French Pastries: 2017 – Daddy’s Donuts: 2016

Our top King Cake winning recommendations


As you can see this category list is pretty different since you have a great mix of the best King Cakes mixed with winning titles that define each cake. And since each one has something different to offer than most other creations might be awarded, these lucky winning bakeries still hold their titles within their shops since then. But if you’re in New Orleans on Mardi Gras, you still find these award winners baking all year round.

Bakers who still produce their award-winning King Cakes are continual winners that continually have fans racing back to them every year. If you want the best of the best for choosing a King Cake to celebrate with, here are our top recommendations. And while some of the best-known places such as Balestra’s and Pain Fraise at the Hyatt Regency sadly went out of business. But you can still contact these outstanding bakeries for their King Cakes. Also check out our favorite gifts of the Big Easy.

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