Over the past decade, local bakeries and pastry chefs have made a concerted effort to elevate the Carnival Season favorite to something worthy of fine china and in varieties that delight every palate. Here are four you should pick up before Fat Tuesday.
The signature baked good of Carnival season in New Orleans, king cake is comprised of a ring of rich, brioche-like dough and any number of sweet fillings, from cinnamon to cream cheese. (Also, watch out from the plastic baby inside!)
Candy hearts are a centuries-old, endearment embossed sweet that have become synonymous with shoeboxes full of Valentine's Day cards and a chalky, (potentially tooth-shattering) texture. Learn what candy inspired them, what flavors the colors are supposed to mean, and more!
With its decadent layers upon layers of cherries, chocolate, whipped cream, and sponge cake, the Black Forest cake is perhaps Germany's sweetest export.
Cinnamon rolls (aliases: coffee scroll, cinnamon bun, cinnamon snail) combine a belly-warming, spicy center with a stick-to-your-ribs pastry exterior. But the world didn't get to enjoy these sweets until the 17th century. Find out why!
Perhaps the only food that often appears shaped like a tiny, edible man or a miniature house, gingerbread's soft texture and warm blend of holiday spices makes it a centuries-old favorite in any form.
It's time we stop making the fruitcake a laughing stock, get it a better PR agent, and instead celebrate this rich (and often boozy) dessert for its prominent place in history.
It's doubtful that there's a candy connoisseur among us who hasn't enjoyed the sticky-fingered bliss of a minty-fresh candy cane. Ever wonder how they got their shape, or their stripes? Read on for the full history of this holiday treat.
Planning to eat your weight in pumpkin pie this week? We hope so. Here's the history of the beloved dessert.
The cranberry (alias: bearberry) is one of only three fruits—including blueberries and Concord grapes—that can truly claim roots in North American soil. Why, then, did it take the sweet-tart side dish cranberry sauce almost a century after settlers arrived to find its way to our thanksgiving tables?
This highly moldable, rich, firm mixture of confectioners' sugar, butter, and spirits is the traditional addition to any number of holiday sweets. When paired with a steaming hot pudding or piece of pie, it slowly melts into a deliciously sweet coating.
There's nothing more quintessentially American than apple pie, and no wonder: the dessert has been a United States favorite since colonial days. While it might be the perfect patriotic dish, this sweet combination of crisp apples, flaky crust, and rich spices has been enchanting sweet lovers across Europe since the time of Chaucer.
The first superstar ice cream flavor outside of the freezer section's big three (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry), this combination of marshmallow ribbons and almond bits in a creamy chocolate base is a sweet textural treasure.
Baked Alaska (aliases: Norwegian omelet, glace au four) is a classic dessert of the Gilded Age best known for magically combining ice (an interior cake made up of sponge cake layered with ice cream) and fire (a torched meringue shell). Find out what New York City restaurant made it a classic, the origin of the name, and more!
Perhaps the most famous export of the Florida Keys outside of Earnest Hemingway and his six-toed cats, Key Lime Pie is a tangy, creamy delight made with sweetened condensed milk and the small, delicate limes of the region. Are you a fan? Check out the true story behind this beloved American dessert.
Perhaps the 20th Century's most notorious, retro-chic dessert creation, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake flips the traditional notion of a baked good on its head, pairing a spongy, yellow cake bottom with a glistening spread of pineapple rings and maraschino cherries on top. Learn about the moment when it became a party favorite, its variations, and more.
Banana Pudding (aliases: Nana's Pudding, Wafer Pudding) is an unassuming, delicious Southern staple featuring layers of rich, custardy vanilla pudding, crunchy vanilla wafers, and slices of banana. Learn all about its history here.
Funnel Cake (aliases: Dribble Cake, Funny Cake) is a carnival classic that has all the trappings of the perfect fairground food: it's fried, it's doughy, and it's a fantastic vehicle for any number of luxurious, extra-sugary toppings. Find out what international desserts it resembles and which town in the US has worked hard to claim funnel cake as its own.
Lane Cake (Alias: Prize Cake, Alabama Lane Cake) is the crown jewel of Alabama confections: a four-layer sponge cake filled with a mixture of thick custard, raisins, coconut, and bourbon, topped off with a fluffy frosting. Learn about the invention that made this cake accessible to the masses, plus our favorite special ingredient.
Shoofly Pie (Aliases: Shoo Fly Pie, Shoo-fly Pie, Shoe Fly Pie) is a gooey molasses-based confection best known as a regional specialty of Pennsylvania and for its association with Amish and Mennonite Country. Want to know about the wet- versus dry-bottom debate or which molasses to use? Read on.
This Pear Sour Cream Pie is a mouthwateringly humble dessert with a cornmeal crust that some might want to call rustic, but I'll just call classic.
While pie's handheld variety hasn't seen the national spotlight quite like other baked goods, here in the South the pocket pie is something of a regional treasure. The name might be up for discussion, but whether you call them hand pies, pocket pies, or fried pies, this Southern staple has all the hallmarks of a perfect picnic treat, and these banana Nutella cardamom pocket pies are no exception.
It's time to breathe new life into the black sheep of the dairy family. The German classic recipe for cottage cheese pie elevates the once lowly ingredient to an almost cheesecake-like status, with a homey, heirloom taste that is pleasing for even the most diehard cottage cheese detractors.
In this Apricot Almond Pie, the vowel-heavy dynamic duo brings just the right balance of tart and crisp to a dessert that's just itching for a dollop of ice cream.
A buttery poppy seed shell filled with lemon curd makes for a light summer pie.
Have you finally retired your scarf and gloves and are itching to get in the kitchen to start whipping up some summery delights? Nothing screams humid, dawdling evenings quite like a scarlet strawberry baked good. Before you head out to pick a pint of these supple delights, though, brush up on some tips and tricks to ensure your first toe-dip into summer is a refreshing experience.