A kringle (slice of 'kringle' pictured above-left) is a Danish-American dessert which consists of layers of flaky crust and a nut or fruit filling. It is traditionally topped with a sweet glaze or icing. Racine, Wisconsin is historically considered the kringle headquarters because of its large Danish-American culture. The kringle cake is oval in shape, but that’s where the similarities to the New Orleans king cake end.
The King Cake (slice of 'kingcake' pictured above-right) is a fluffy cinnamon flavored sweet Danish dough that is hand-braided, topped with Mardi Gras colored sugar, baked and iced with our famous fluffy white icing and topped with the purple/green/yellow sprinkles. New Orleans, Louisiana is considered the King Cake capital of the World, due to its large Mardi Gras tradition. The King Cake can also be filled with various fillings such as cream cheese, apple, lemon, strawberry, or our New Orleans Times-Picayune award winning “Pecan Praline” King Cake. Read more about the history of the King Cake.
The kringle has a flatter/flakier crust than the King Cake. The King Cake has a soft fluffy dough. The kringle is cut to size, folded and then shaped into an oval shape. The King Cake is cut to size, folded with layers of cinnamon, cut and braided and then shaped into an oval.
After both are baked and iced, the kringle is missing one that the King Cake has— the baby. Unlike the kringle, the King Cake has a small plastic baby hidden under it. The lucky person who finds the baby becomes the king or queen for the day and then hosts the next King Cake party or get-together with another King Cake. The atmosphere becomes fun and festive to see who “got the baby.” The finder of the baby becomes herald and everyone looks to that person for the next occasion to celebrate and enjoy another King Cake. That’s why it’s proudly proclaimed “I got the baby!” when someone finds the lucky slice.
This Mardi Gras Tradition has been so popular, that everyone wants to be part of this New Orleans treat. That’s why the King Cake is also served not only during Carnival season, but also during holidays such as Easter, Mother’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas. During the Christmas season, our King Cakes not only have the traditional oval shape but also takes on the shape of a Candy Cane or Christmas Tree. All are decorated with the festive Holiday colors and are perfect for celebrating any occasion. The kringle is only sold in the traditional oval shape.
Have a look at the images below, and you'll find another major difference between the kringle and the king cake. While our traditional king cakes are about 16 inches long, the kringle only measures about 11 inches.
If you’re looking for that Northern Danish-American dessert with the flaky crust, then the Kringle is the way to go.
But if you are looking for a traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras dessert with a fluffy soft sweet dough that’s laden with cinnamon and iced with festive colors… One that will bring the table together to hear someone yell “I got the baby!” then skip the kringle. Go with the King Cake and let the good times roll!