Publix is a popular grocery store chain found predominantly in the southeastern United States. King cake is a traditional dessert served around Mardi Gras and the Carnival season. With Mardi Gras approaching, many people may be wondering if they can still find king cake at their local Publix supermarket this year. In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of king cake, examine Publix’s king cake offerings in previous years, and determine if Publix is likely to carry king cake for 2023.
What is King Cake?
King cake is a celebratory cake that is traditionally eaten during the Carnival season leading up to Mardi Gras. The ring-shaped cake is decorated with the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold. King cakes often contain a small plastic baby figurine or trinket inside the cake. The person who finds the trinket in their slice is said to have good luck and must provide the king cake for the next party or celebration.
King cake originated in Europe during the Middle Ages and was brought over by French and Spanish settlers to Louisiana. It has since become a staple food during the Carnival season across the Gulf Coast region. The cake represents the three kings who visited the Christ child, which is why it is named king cake.
There are several traditional fillings and toppings for king cake. The most common are cream cheese, cinnamon, praline, strawberry almond, Bavarian cream, raspberry, and lemon. The classic New Orleans style king cake contains a sweet bread-like dough braided into an oval shape and topped with sugar and purple, green, and gold sprinkles. Cajun king cakes often use a Danish dough with cinnamon or praline filling.
Mardi Gras Traditions
Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday” and refers to the evening before the Christian fasting period of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It typically falls in February or early March. Mardi Gras celebrations include parades, costumes, music, and feasting. Eating rich, fatty foods like king cake was a way to use up indulgent ingredients like butter and sugar before the Lenten fasting period.
New Orleans is famous for its elaborate Mardi Gras celebrations and colorful parades. Major krewes or organizations spend all year organizing their parade floats, costumes, and balls. Mardi Gras season kicks off on January 6th each year with King’s Day and continues with a series of parades and parties leading up to Fat Tuesday.
Other cities along the Gulf Coast like Mobile, Pensacola, and Galveston also hold large Mardi Gras festivities with parades and balls. Everywhere king cake is served to celebrate the Carnival season. Bakers start producing king cakes after the Christmas holiday to meet the demand.
History of King Cake at Publix
Publix is known for carrying specialty baked goods that reflect the regions its stores serve. With hundreds of locations across southern states like Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana that actively celebrate Mardi Gras, Publix has a history of offering king cakes during Carnival season:
Early 2000s: Customer reviews indicate some Publix bakeries carried king cakes as early as the 2000s. Selection and availability varied by location.
2011: By 2011, more Publix stores consistently offered king cakes through Fat Tuesday. Some bakeries had expanded flavor options beyond just cinnamon.
2015: A wider variety of king cake flavors were reported at Publix in 2015, including cream cheese, strawberry cream cheese, chocolate chip, raspberry, and praline cream cheese.
2019: Many Publix bakeries sold full king cake orders and by-the-slice. Specialty flavors like cookies & cream, apple, and key lime pie were spotted.
2022: Last year Publix provided traditional cinnamon, cream cheese, and praline king cakes, plus specialty flavors like cookie butter cream cheese.
Based on this history, we can reasonably expect Publix to offer king cakes again this Mardi Gras season. The assortment of flavors may vary by location.
Publix King Cake Availability for 2023
Although Publix has not made any official announcements about king cake offerings for 2023, there are a few positive signs that they will be available again this Carnival season:
- Publix has consistently sold king cakes for over a decade, making them a reliable source.
- Specialty flavors were expanded in recent years rather than scaled back, indicating strong ongoing demand.
- Publix aims to tailor baked goods to local preferences, and king cakes are extremely popular across their southern markets.
- Major competitors like Walmart, Whole Foods, and local chains confirm they are selling king cakes.
- Early social media posts from customers indicate some Publix stores have already started selling king cakes.
While availability and selection will depend on the individual store, the history and trends both point to Publix stocking king cakes through Mardi Gras. Customers should start seeing king cakes on bakery shelves by early January. Calling your local store bakery department can confirm availability and place special orders.
Now let’s take a closer look at what king cake varieties shoppers may find at their Publix this Carnival season.
Traditional King Cakes
The classic cinnamon sugar king cake with purple, green, and gold sprinkles will likely be available to provide that authentic Mardi Gras flavor. Praline and cream cheese fillings are also popular options for traditional king cakes. These offer a rich, sweet indulgence perfect for celebrating Fat Tuesday.
Fruit and Sweet King Cakes
Publix has expanded their king cake choices in recent years to include more decadent flavors made with fresh fruit or inspired by favorite desserts. These creative takes provide a unique twist on the classic cake. Previous options have included strawberry cream cheese, apple cinnamon, lemon, key lime pie, and blueberry cobbler. Customers with fruit preferences may have several festive flavors to choose from.
Specialty and Signature King Cakes
Publix also developed specialty king cakes to match their over-the-top signature cakes. These cakes combine rich ingredients like fudge, caramel, peanut butter, and chocolate chips for totally unique king cake experiences. Examples include cookies & cream, Mississippi mud pie, s’mores, red velvet cheesecake, and cookie butter flavored king cakes. Bakers have plenty of room for creativity with specialty flavors.
How to Order and Price
Publix king cakes are available to pre-order in whole cakes or to purchase by the slice in-store during Mardi Gras season.
Whole King Cake Orders
Customers can call their local Publix bakery department to place an order for a whole king cake. It’s best to order 1-2 weeks in advance for availability. A whole king cake generally serves around 12 people and costs $8.99 to $16.99 depending on the size and flavor.
By the Slice
Individual king cake slices are sold at the bakery counter during Mardi Gras season for customers looking for just a taste. Slices are neatly cut from whole cakes and range from $2.49 to $3.99 each. Quickly grab a slice instead of a whole cake to enjoy the holiday flavors.
King Cake Quantity and Prices
|King Cake Type
|Whole Cake Price Range
|Slice Price Range
|$8.99 – $12.99
|$2.49 – $3.49
|$10.99 – $14.99
|$2.99 – $3.99
|$14.99 – $16.99
|$3.49 – $3.99
Prices vary but are in line with premium cakes and seasonal specialty offerings. The unique flavors and festive colors make enjoying king cake a fun fat Tuesday tradition.
How to Enjoy
King cake can be enjoyed in many celebratory ways during the Mardi Gras season. Here are some serving ideas:
- Bring a king cake to a Mardi Gras party for guests to slice up and enjoy finding the baby!
- Surprise family or coworkers with a king cake at breakfast or dessert.
- Slice up individual portions to have as an afternoon snack.
- Pair slices of king cake with coffee or tea for a festive fat Tuesday treat.
- Top your king cake slice with fresh berries, whipped cream, or ice cream for extra decadence.
- Satisfy a sweet tooth craving in seasonal style with a thick slice of king cake.
The colorful almond icing and sprinkles on Publix king cakes make them ideal for celebrating Mardi Gras. Customize your cake with your favorite filling and enjoy the holiday flavors.
Publix has a long tradition of providing delicious king cakes baked fresh in their store bakeries during Mardi Gras season. While availability varies, signs point to Publix stocking king cakes again this year in a variety of traditional and specialty flavors. Their unique king cake options put a creative spin on satisfying Carnival cravings. Calling local stores in January can confirm selections. Pre-order whole cakes or visit the bakery counter during Mardi Gras to pick up festive slices. King cake from Publix makes a perfect addition to any Fat Tuesday party or celebration. The sweet indulgence of king cake gives us one more reason to look forward to Mardi Gras and savor the rich traditions of the season.