Every year in New Orleans and around the world people honor the traditions of the Mardi Gras season with parties, parades and food. And far and away the most popular food item to be consumed during this time of year is the King (or King’s) cake.
The cinnamon flavored cake traditionally made with brioche bread (infused with various fillings, if preferred) is meant to celebrate 12th Night or “Epiphany” (the first time that Jesus was shown to the Three Wise Men). Thought to be brought to America from France in 1870, the traditionally oval shaped cake is usually covered in frosting and decorated with three symbolic colors: purple (justice), gold (power), and green (faith).
Most King Cakes also have one more symbolic element baked inside—a tiny plastic “Jesus.” The lucky person that gets the piece of cake with the baby becomes the King or Queen of the celebration and are supposed to throw the next year’s party and provide the King Cake.
There are several ways to get your hands on a King Cake whether you live in New Orleans or not (purchasing over the internet is extremely popular) - but it seems like it would be just so much more fun to make your own! No matter if you have limited time to offer for baking or if you have special dietary needs, there are a few different ways to conjure up the perfect King Cake.
So if you're up for the challenge, here are a few recipes you may be willing to try at your next Mardi Gras event.
Cream Cheese Filled King Cake- If you prefer to work from scratch and love the idea of having more than a plastic baby inside of your cake try this beauty from A Feast For The Eyes. This King Cake is filled with sweet cream cheese and is sure to please at your Mardi Gras party!
Low Fat King Cake- Love the idea of having your cake and not eating extra calories too? Weight Watchers provides a recipe that uses skim milk, reduced fat margarine and egg substitutes to cut down on the fat and calories!
Gluten Free King Cake- You live to eat cake but your body says you have to do things a little differently? Take a look at this recipe from Gluten Free On A Shoestring!
Vegan King Cake- Here's a recipe put together by someone who has put in the legwork to make sure that you're not using questionable ingredients. Rivels And Grits specializes in Pennsylvania Dutch and Southern cooking and they created this recipe using ingredients like organic sugar and fruit juices.
Prepackaged Crescent Rolls King Cake- You love the idea of baking something, but you just don't have the time to watch dough rise? Try this easy alternative from Relish!
In-Depth King Cake Experimentation- Welcome to a site that has tried and failed to make the perfect King Cake more than you ever will. The evolution of the perfect King Cake is provided by nolafood.com. And not only do they provide the recipe, but they have a series of amazingly helpful, step-by-step videos!
So there you have it - fun recipes to help you have the best Mardi Gras celebration! Surprise friends and family with your baking prowess and knowledge of King Cake traditions!