Those of you who have been to New Orleans around Mardi Gras know what a King Cake is. Even those in other parts of the country may have seen one of these in their local grocery stores and bakeries in the months of January and February. But what exactly is a King Cake?
Europeans created the first cakes during the Middle Ages to celebrate the Catholic Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day. This is the celebration of the day the three wise men presented their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. The King Cake came to Louisiana by way of the French and the rest is Mardi Gras history!
For the unfortunate souls who have never had the pleasure of tasting a King Cake, let us describe it for you. Start with a ring of sweet, flaky pastry shaped like a bundt cake with a hole in the center. Then cover with a layer of icing. And last, add green, purple and yellow sprinkles or sugar crystals which are the colors of Mardi Gras.
Where’s The Baby?
There is a small plastic baby hidden in every King Cake. Rest assured, the baby is not small enough that you could chew it up without knowing it. On the contrary, you want to find the baby in your piece of cake. The person who finds the baby is crowned the King or Queen for the day. Legend says that this person will be prosperous for the rest of the year. The King or Queen traditionally hosts the next year’s Mardi Gras party or at least provides the next cake.
Where Can I Get One?
There are many places in New Orleans you can get an authentic King Cake. Our favorite is Manny Randazzo’s. If you can’t partake in the tradition of waiting in the line around the block for yours they offer online ordering and ship all over the country.
The Savvy Native is a group of experienced local tour guides who were either born in New Orleans or wish they had been.
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