Tuesday, January 31, 2012

King Cake

Today's mission: find and eat some King Cake. Well, I have lots of things to accomplish today (cleaning, running, errands, etc.), but I am determined to eat some King Cake, too. What is King Cake? So glad you asked.

King Cake is a Mardi Gras tradition, originating from France. There are two types of King Cake, American-style and French-style. The American-style is a brioche-type bread or cinnamon roll bread baked into a large oval shape and drizzled with either cream cheese or other flavored icing. Usually purple, gold, and green sugars adorn the icing. The French-style is a denser, flaky pastry with an almond flavor. Both styles come with the tradition of the Baby Jesus.

Baby Jesus?! How does he fit into all of this?? King Cakes come with a small baby figurine. The figurines used to be baked into the cakes but now they just come with the cake for you to do the hiding (because, you know, we live in Twenty-first century America and there are these things called "liabilities"). The baby figurine represents the Christchild. Mardi Gras season started on Epiphany (a day in which we remember when the wisemen visited Christ at his birth) and so is, in theory, a time when we reflect on Christ coming into this world. How should we remember baby Jesus? By eating colorful cinnamon rolls! The person who eats the piece of cake with the baby figurine is supposed to throw the next King Cake party.

King Cakes (along with other festive decorations and colorful desserts) can be found all over. I have seen them on table displays at grocery stores and Walmart. But I plan on going to a bakery (I am thinking Poupart's) and get a quality King Cake. I wonder who will get the piece with the Baby Jesus? I'm going to take a wild guess and say... me!

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