Mardi Gras 2018: How to find the best king cakes

Is there a king cake for every taste? We're beginning to think so, after updating our guide to New Orleans king cakes for Mardi Gras 2018.

We found vegan and gluten-free cakes. There are king cakes with bacon, and there is even a kosher king cake. (It comes with a tiny driedel, y'all.) For purists, there are brioche cakes without a whisper of fondant anywhere near them. For the sweets lover, bakers are dishing out over-stuffed king cakes just oozing cream cheese and strawberry jam.

On Jan. 6 -- King's Day, or Epiphany - we mark the start of Carnival season, and that is when tradition dictates we begin eating king cake. Find the right one for you in our searchable 2018 king cake guide.

We have tasted at least one king cake from each of these more than 60 businesses within the last couple of years. (Click on the link above to find the guide.)

HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE: This guide allows you to ...

1. Find a specific bakery by name.

2. Search by a single term, such as the city (for example, Arabi, Metairie or New Orleans).

3. Choose multiple terms. For example: Select New Orleans and then click on "our favorites" and "shipping" to find our favorite cakes in New Orleans from baker that will ship out of town.

The guide is full of cool little finds. Here are some surprising and uncommon king cakes types and trends we discovered as we updated our guide:

* Special dietary needs? Sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan and kosher

Need a sugar free cake? There are at least two: One is at Adrian's Bakery on Paris Avenue in New Orleans and the other is at Dorignac's. on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie.

Want a gluten free king cake? Cake Cafe and Bakery on Chartres Street in New Orleans has you covered.

If it is a vegan king cake you are after, check out Breads on Oak bakery on Oak Street in New Orleans.

Want a kosher king cake? Hillel's Kitchen on Broadway is baking one.

* Need a king cake at 1 a.m.? These bakers are open 24 hours.

* Are you a do-it-yourself?

Randazzo's Camelia Bakery in Slidell let's you pick and choose which extras -- king's crown, beads, doubloons, aprons --  go into your shipped king cake package.

At the Cajun Pecan House, you can order a king cake kit and have a plain cake, with containers of icing and sprinkles, shipped to friends or loved ones.

* Do you want a savory king cake?

We plan to check out the muffuletta king cake we've heard about at Mister Gregory's French Casual Cafe on North Rampart Street. We know Cake Cafe and Bakery makes one with boudin and there is crawfish in the one at Bosco's Italian Cafe on the North Shore.

* In the mood for an "adult" king cake?

Maurice's French Bakery's has cakes with a creamy chocolate custard flavored with Kentucky Bourbon and another with Bavarian Praline Cream juiced with a bit of Southern Comfort. Breads on Oak has added "adult" flavored cakes as well, with  bourbon tiramasu, almond orange champagne and strawberry rum cream cheese.

Is your favorite bakery missing? Send an email to Ann Maloney at amaloney@nola.com. We'll make every attempt to taste it and consider it for inclusion. We can't get to everyone, so please be our eyes and taste buds around town.