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Mardi Gras celebrations begin weeks ahead of the holiday, with loud music, bright colors and festivities making this an exciting time of year that culminates on Fat Tuesday. While there are many traditions throughout this time, we wanted to tell you a little bit more about a popular tradition that we find to be sweet – the King Cake!


01_SW_KingCake_BodyImage_1The History of the King Cake

The tradition of the King Cake has been around for centuries. It’s believed to have made its first appearance in New Orleans in the 1870s with a French settler. January 6 is known as “Kings Day” or the Epiphany, the day said to be 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.” Just two short years later 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.

Good Luck Charm

What makes these cakes even more unique? Each cake is stuffed with a tiny baby. Before you worry, they’re not baked with real babies! But a small, plastic figure shaped like a child is hidden in each cake. Why you ask? The significance of the baby is to represent the baby Jesus when he was first presented to the three kings. The fortunate person who discovers the baby in their piece of cake is believed to be rewarded with good luck and must host the King Cake gathering for the next season.

01_SW_KingCake_BodyImage_2King Cake Today

This 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. Today Publix offers three flavors—Cinnamon, Cheese, and Strawberry Cheese. Can you say “YUM?” 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 and, 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 in your local Publix Bakery.


We have no doubt that you will feel like a King after enjoying these yummy cakes. Will you be joining the celebration this year?