January 6 marks the start of loud music, bright colors, and celebration―making Mardi Gras an exciting time of year. These festivities continue for weeks, ending on Fat Tuesday. While there are many traditions throughout this time, we’d like to tell you a little more about a popular one that we find to be pretty sweet—the king cake!
The History of the King Cake
The tradition of the king cake has been around for centuries. It is believed to have made its first appearance in New Orleans in the 1870s. January 6 is known as Three Kings Day, or Epiphany.
It is believed to be the day when baby Jesus was presented to the three gift-bearing kings. Tradition says these cakes were made to honor those kings, thus resulting in the name “king cake.” In 1872, three colors were chosen to decorate these cakes—purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. These colors are still found today in many Mardi Gras decorations.
What’s With the Baby?
What makes these cakes even more unique? Each cake is stuffed with a tiny baby. Before you worry, it’s only a plastic figure shaped like a baby that is hidden in each cake. Why you may ask? The baby is there to represent baby Jesus when he was first presented to the three kings. While our cakes are not baked with the figurine inside, we offer them so you can add them yourself. The fortunate person who discovers the baby in their piece of cake is believed to be rewarded with good luck and usually hosts the King Cake gathering for the next season.
King Cake Today
The ring-shaped confection is full of tradition and taste! In its original recipe, these rings were a yeast bread frosted with powdered sugar. Nowadays, they come in all shapes and sizes. Many are made of a braided Danish pastry mixed with cinnamon. They’re often filled and stuffed with cream cheese, fruit, or candies.
The celebration of Mardi Gras has spread all over the world, with many countries and cultures adding their own twists on these celebratory cakes.
King cakes are popular during the Mardi Gras season. Much like any holiday, this is a time to bring friends and family together to celebrate. Making your own at home is easier than you think! You can find many unique recipes and tips on Pinterest. If you’re not the baking type, you can find ready-made king cakes at your local Publix Bakery as early as February 19!
We have no doubt that you will feel like a king after enjoying these yummy cakes.
Will you be joining the celebration this year?