Gambino's traditional king cake

Gambino's Bakery Traditional, from one of the temples of king cake.
Gambino's Bakery Traditional, from one of the temples of king cake. (Dinah Rogers, NOLA.com / The Times-Picayune))

Gambino's is a full-service bakery that has been in business since 1949, as the beautifully retro neon wedding cake on their Veteran's Memorial Boulevard sign testifies.

With five locations and a loyal clientele, they are king cake rock stars, shipping them over the country. Several years ago, owner Sam Scelfo Jr. told us about when the bakery switching from bread dough to Danish dough in their king cakes in the early 1980s. This prompted them to include the Danish filling, and filled king cakes were born.

Gambino's traditional king cake

Locations: 4821 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504.885.7500; 300 Lapalco Blvd., Gretna, 504.391.0600; 8646 Goodwood, Baton Rouge, 225.928.7000; 8342 Perkins Rd., Baton Rouge, 225.766.8831 and 3802 Johnston Suite C, Lafayette, 337.406.9066.

Mardi Gras king cake judges try out Gambino's bakery in Metairie After readers picked six favorite king cake bakeries, the Mardi Gras 2012 King Cake King contest judging began. On Feb. 7, the King Cake King judging panel traveled to 4821 Veterans Memorial Blvd. in Metairie Louisiana, near New Orleans, to taste and rate the offerings at Gambinoas bakery. The king cake tasting panel consisted of celebrated artist George Rodrigue, the creator of the iconic blue dog; author and Crescent City cuisine authority Susan Tucker of Tulane University; Times-Picayune crime reporter Danny Monteverde and Times-Picayune food editor Judy Walker. Video by Doug MacCash. Search for other king cake tastings at aMardi Gras king cake judges try out Nonna Randazzo's Bakery,a aMardi Gras king cake judges try out Sucre in Metairie,' 'Mardi Gras king cake judges try out Manny Randazzo bakery in Metairie,' 'Mardi Gras king cake judges try out Haydel's bakery in Jefferson' and 'Mardi Gras king cake judges try out Randazzo's Camellia City Bakery' on NOLA.com.

This king cakes looks like a king cake should, oval and baked to an appetizing brown. The sugar has melted into the poured fondant icing, which is separated in some areas, as if it was put on when the cake was still warm. This is a beautifully textured dough, one of the lightest we have encountered, and also very sweet. It has a thin but consistent layer of cinnamon rolled into the dough. The cake is well-packaged in a box for ease of transportation. Other flavors include: cream cheese, almond wedding cake, pecan praline, chocolate cream cheese, strawberry and raspberry.

Type: Rolled brioche

Baby: Inside the cake, thank goodness.

I said it: "Next time I want to try their praline cream cheese."   

Price: Medium size: Plain, $14.50; filled, $20.50; and $26.50 double-flled. 
Shipping: Yes, via their website.
Lagniappe: Gambino's "party packs" of multiple king cakes as well as other Carnival-themed cakes, including ones shaped like floats, stacked/tiered king cakes for weddings, and a three-layer Jester Cake with purple fondant icing and colored layers. It's perfect for Carnival-season birthdays or occasions when you want something besides a king cake. Also PJ's Coffee shops selling Gambino's in 2017.
 
 

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