5 Mardi Gras king cake finalists named! Now, vote in 1 wildcard bakery

The eaters have spoken: Our Best King Cake poll for Mardi Gras 2012 is complete and after a whopping 15,443 votes cast, the five finalists are: Randazzo’s Camellia City Bakery in Slidell, Manny Randazzo King Cakes in Metairie, Nonna Randazzo Bakery in Chalmette and Covington, Haydel’s Bakery in New Orleans and Sucre in Metairie and New Orleans. 

Different-styles-of-king-cakes-2011.jpgKing cakes come in all kinds of styles!

Editor's note:

We know our readers love their king cake, but it appears that some of you got carried away in our “Wild Card” king cake poll.

After analysis of the votes submitted through our PollDaddy.com poll, we’ve determined an excessive number of votes were cast from the same computer(s), benefitting two bakeries. In both cases, thousands of votes were tracked back to single machines, overriding a safeguard that we had in place. Neither The Times-Picayune, nor NOLA.com thinks that either bakery had anything to do with this.

Please note: The original king cake poll containing all 36 bakeries was analyzed as well, and we found no such irregularities in that poll. The voting irregularities only appear in the “Wild Card” poll.

The “Wild card” poll remains open until 5 p.m. today. At 6 p.m., we will share the results of the poll, adjusted to remove the irregularities.

And, remember, the winner of our King Cake King quest will be determined by our team of tasters, not by the reader poll results. Tastings run Jan. 10 through Feb. 7 Thank you.

Here are the results once the irregular votes were removed.

Find complete results visit from the first poll here: "Poll: For Mardi Gras 2012, vote for which New Orleans area bakery makes the best king cake"

Five of the other 31 reader-nominated bakeries in the poll garnered more than 300 votes apiece, so we have decided to make one a “wildcard” bakery that our panel of judges will visit.

Wildcard contenders are: Dianne’s King Cakes, Harahan; Gambino’s Bakery, Gretna and Metairie; La Dolce Nola, Metairie; Rouses Supermarkets, various locations; and Tastee Donuts’ McKenzie’s, various locations. Vote for your favorite before 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9, in this poll.

Then, join us to watch the tastings. We kick things off on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Nonna Randazzo’s Covington location, 2033 U.S. 190.

Our tasting team will be led by food editor Judy Walker, with news reporter Danny Monteverde and a mystery tasting judge.

Evaluations will be based on objective criteria and the results kept confidential until Feb. 16, when the final taster scores are revealed in print and online, and the 2012 King Cake King crowned.

Join us at the bakery to watch the deliberations. Or, visit nola.com/mardigras for Doug MacCash videos, staff photos and blog posts as our tasters continue their King Cake quest.

Add your comments as we go, and follow along on Twitter: @NolaNews, @JudyWalkerTP, @DMonteverdeTP and @DougMacCashTp.

Let the feasting begin!