A big part of the Mardi Gras celebration is the King Cake. It’s a tradition that is thought to have been brought to New Orleans from France in 1870. Typically, a King Cake is an oval-shaped bakery delicacy, often described as a cross between a coffee cake and a French pastry that is as rich in history as it is in flavor.
Decorated in royal colors of purple which signify “Justice,” green for “Faith,” and gold for “Power,” the colors used for the cake are also the signature colors used for Mardi Gras. The particular colors were chosen to resemble a jeweled crown honoring the Wise Men who visited the Christ Child on Epiphany. In the past, things like coins, beans, pecans, or peas were hidden in each King Cake.
Today, a tiny plastic baby is placed inside the cake. At a party, the King Cake is sliced and served. Each person looks to see if their piece contains the “baby.” If so, then that person is named “King” for a day and designated to host the next party and provide the King Cake.
1. Merridee’s Breadbasket
110 4th Ave S, Franklin, Tennessee
Louisana natives claim Merridee’s has the best King Cake around. And they have them available in the bakery right now. Or you can order one by calling 615-790-3755.
Merridee McCray, the founder of Merridee’s Breadbasket, grew up baking breads, pies and sweets from scratch with her mother. It was a tradition passed on to her by her grandmother, Anna Maria Faust, who once served as head cook for the Pillsbury family. When Merridee passed away in 1993, Jim Kreider bought Merridee’s Breadbasket. Today, Jim and his exceptional team are still making everything from scratch, creating products that not only have a great taste, but are nutritional as well. Merridee’s features a variety of baked goods, homemade soups, quiches and fresh salads.
Find more information on their Facebook page
2. Puffy Muffin
229 Franklin Rd, Brentwood, TN 37027
At Puffy Muffin, you can order small (serves 8) or large (serves 12) King Cakes online. Last year, they sold out, so order yours today! Order here.
About Puffy Muffin
Before there was a Puffy Muffin™, there were women in Lynda Stone’s life who shared a love of cooking. Not simply “cooking”, but “creative cooking”. Her mother, grandmothers and aunts – all excellent cooks – taught Lynda just how imaginative cooking could be, and shared with her many of their favorite recipes. Lynda caught their passion for creative cooking, which to this day inspires her imagination and pursuit of excellence.
In 1986, Lynda and her husband Jack were raising two daughters, Kristi and Ali, in Franklin. For years, family and friends enjoyed Lynda’s cooking, continually raving about her homemade bread and rolls. Lynda, who had dreamed of starting a home-based business, wondered if perhaps this was the answer – selling her homemade rolls and bread to Nashville area restaurants. And there, in the family kitchen, Puffy Muffin™ was born. The dream of a home-based business was about to be realized. It wasn’t long before orders outgrew her kitchen’s capacity. It was time for the next step – renting commercial bakery space in a local grocery store. Not long after that, in 1992, Puffy Muffin™ moved to the H.G. Hill Center in Brentwood where it became a bakery and a restaurant. Lynda’s hard work and initiative had taken Puffy Muffin™ from family kitchen to prime retail location. It went beyond bread and rolls to an imaginative palette of dessert bakery goods and delightful food. The love of family and creative cooking had successfully made its way from her home into the lives of guests and the community.
Find more information on their Facebook page.
3. Whole Foods
1566 W McEwen Dr, Franklin, Tennessee
Whole Foods has you covered this Mardi Gras season with King Cakes!
About Whole Foods
Founded in 1978 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market is the leading retailer of natural and organic foods, the first national “Certified Organic” grocer, and uniquely positioned as America’s Healthiest Grocery Store™.
For more information, visit their website.
4. Triple Crown Bakery
118 4th Avenue North, Franklin, Tennessee
This quaint little bakery in downtown Franklin will draw you in the door with the smells of fresh-baked cupcakes, cookies, scones, and cakes. King Cakes will be available this year by special order online here.
About Triple Crown Bakery
Triple Crown Bakery is owned by Pastry Chef, Alena Vaughn, a Southern California native. After graduating from The California Culinary Academy (now Le Cordon Bleu) in San Francisco, she began her career cooking at the Ritz Carlton, and then baking at Zov’s Bistro & Bakery. Alena and her family moved to Franklin and Triple Crown Bakery was born.
Find more details on their Facebook page.
If you’re in search of a King Cake for your Mardi Gras party, check out the bakery at your local Kroger.
Kroger was founded in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Kroger has been recognized as one of America’s most generous companies for our support of more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners, breast cancer research and awareness, the military and their families, and more than 145,000 community organizations including schools.
6. Slowhand Coffee + Bakeshop
1012 Gallatin Avenue, Nashville
(615) 444- 1082
King Cakes are for now available to order. All cakes are $35 and you may choose between Classic Cinnamon and Praline Cream Cheese. Cakes are 10” and feed 8-12 people. Yes, they will include a plastic baby. To order your King Cake, order in-store or call 615-730-6887 during business hours.
About Slowhand Coffee + Bakeshop
Owned by husband and wife duo, Nick and Audra Guidry. The couple started Slowhand as a coffee truck and moved into their first brick and mortar back in 2015. After losing their space, they relocated to East Nashville reopening in 2018. It’s a perfect combination of coffee and their own specially created baked goods all in one spot.
Find more details on their Facebook page.
7. The Cupcake Collection
1213 6th Avenue South, Nashville
Cupcake Collection will offer King Cake cupcakes this year. They are only available in the store until March 1st. You can place an order online here.
About Cupcake Collection
While you are picking up your King Cake, you must try one of the best cupcakes around. The Francois family makes everything from scratch since opening in 2008. Their motto states, “We are just trying to do classic things well. Our cupcakes taste homemade because they are homemade, right in the space where I raised my family.”
Find more details on their Facebook page.
8. Fresh Market
235 Franklin Road, Brentwood
Fresh Market at Hill Center Brentwood now has King Cakes available for purchase.
About Fresh Market
Since 1982, The Fresh Market, Inc. has helped guests make everyday eating extraordinary with time-saving meal solutions, unique ingredients, and delicious food for any occasion. From fresh produce and exceptional meat and seafood to signature baked goods and thousands of organic options, this specialty grocery retailer has something to please every palate. The Fresh Market currently operates 159 stores in 22 states across the U.S.
9. The Lost Cajun
206 A Anderson Lane, Hendersonville
512 Pleasant Grove Road, Mount Juliet
The Lost Cajun offers both traditional and cream cheese icing King Cakes. Stop by one of their locations before they are all gone.
About The Lost Cajun
The Lost Cajun Serves Authentic Cajun Food & Beignets in a Family Friendly Environment. Their philosophy is “We encourage you to bring your kids and pass a good time.”
10. Lili Bella’s Cakes
109 Shivel Dr, Hendersonville
The local bakery is taking orders for Kings Cake this year. You can order traditional, pralines, or cream cheese with or without strawberry filling. Place your order by emailing [email protected] or call the bakery at 615-447-5266.
About Lili Bella’s Cakes
This is a locally owned small-batch bakery and dessert studio that specializes in custom wedding and special event cakes and desserts for all occasions. They offer a full-service coffee and espresso bar with drinks crafted from fresh locally roasted ethically sourced coffee beans.
11. Julia’s Homestyle Bakery
1911 Medical Center Parkway, Murfreesboro
King Cakes are now available at Julia’s Homestyle Bakery. You can select from two sizes- large and mini. They also have strawberry-filled paczki donuts.
About Julia’s Homestyle Bakery
The locally-owned bakery has 33 years of experience in bringing you the best sweets you can find in the area. They bake fresh daily and use only the finest ingredients.
12. Nonie’s Bakery
115 North Maple Street, Murfreesboro
The bakery is typically closed on Tuesday but will open this year for Fat Tuesday so you can pick up your King Cake. You can place your order to secure your cake by calling 615-900-1676.
About Nonie’s Bakery
Nonie’s Bakery offers old-fashioned pastries and desserts, wedding cakes, custom cakes, cupcakes, and pies. They have a coffee bar, drinks to go, dine-in seating, and more.