METAIRIE, La. -- Mardi Gras season means king cake, king cake and more king cake, but did you know that there's another cake made this time of year?
It's called the Russian cake, and you can find it at Haydel's Bakery.
It's a weird Frankenstein melange of confection made from the cake scraps of bakeries. Its emergency in New Orleans in the late 1800s is mysterious.
"Well the history of Russian cake is kind of out there, some people think it was made in 1872 when the grand Duke Alexis came from Russia to Mardi Gras," Dave Haydel Jr. says. "Other people think it came to New Orleans in World War II when soldiers can come back and had been eating English raspberry truffles in Europe, and some people think it came from Germany around the same time, so nobody really knows."
It's definitely got some weight on it, being made with 200 pounds of sugar. But not in the cake! Instead, 200 pounds of sugar pressure compact the cake overnight for cutting.
"It's really dense," Haydel says. "It's all kind of cake compressed together ... Its really heavy. You can eat a little bit and you're full. We use our gold cake, our almond cake, and our devil's food cake, we mix it will raspberry jelly, a little bit of anise oil and some rum flavoring."
It's a delicious metaphor for New Orleans, a unique mixing of flavors coming together for something pretty sweet.
"We first started making it, right when we opened," Haydel says. "My dad and my grandpa hired some of the old-time bakers from New Orleans and it was kind of in their repertoire; they had the formula for it so we started selling it. Russian Cake is definitely a New Orleans treat. I don't think you can go anywhere else and find it. There's only a few bakeries in the city who actually make it."