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Long Live the King (Cake)

February 28, 2011

Last night, as we watched The King’s Speech sweep many of the Oscar categories, it was only fitting that we were enjoying pieces of—what else? King Cake!

When you grow up in Louisiana, eating King Cake during the season of Mardi Gras is a given.  However, after I moved away from Louisiana, I learned that not every child spends their Februaries searching for plastic baby Jesus dolls encompassed in layers of delicious cake.

Let me explain.

The King Cake takes its name from the Bible’s three kings.  Their journey to see the Christ child in Bethlehem supposedly took twelve days.  The season of the King Cake lasts from the day of their arrival to see the Christ child (Epiphany), all the way through Mardi Gras day (Fat Tuesday).  Although King Cakes are enjoyed everywhere from France to Switzerland to Spain during Epiphany and Carnival, the New Orleans King Cake is a symbol of the celebration of Mardi Gras. 

It is also an excuse to eat delicious cake.

When I say “cake,” let me explain—it’s more like a delicious, doughey pastry ring.  Topped with icing.  And sugar sprinkles.  And filled with things like cream cheese and pralines.

Just another reason why it’s great to be from Louisiana.

Not only is the King Cake delicious, but it also contains a surprise—a plastic baby! The baby is supposed to represent baby Jesus, and whoever finds it is supposed to get good luck.  They’re also supposed to buy the next King Cake.

When I was a freshman in college, living away from Louisiana for the first time, I hated being away from home during Mardi Gras.  As you can imagine, Mardi Gras is one of the greatest parts of living in Louisiana—there are amazing parades, fun parties, and TONS of King Cake!!!

My roommate/bff Ellie (also a Louisiana gal) and I were super-depressed about missing out on all of the Mardi Gras shenanigans that our LSU friends were enjoying—did you know that LSU students get the entire week of Mardi Gras off?  How has this school never been voted the #1 party school (unlike our current place of employment)? 

Luckily, my mom took pity on us and sent us a King Cake, all the way from home.  Not just a King Cake—but the *best* King Cake.  There’s a bakery in Shreveport called Julie Anne’s Bakery, and if you’re every inclined to order a King Cake, I would *highly* recommend this bakery.  Their King Cakes are AWESOME.  They offer over 20 types of filling, and ship anywhere in the US, too!

Anyway, after that first year, my mom kept the tradition alive—every year, right around Mardi Gras, no matter where I’m living (or, apparently, how old I am), she sends me a King Cake to enjoy and share! And you really do have to share these bad boys—they are BIG and full of sugary goodness. 

This year was no exception—I returned home a few days ago to find this on our doorstep:

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Woooooo hoo!!!!

I managed to keep my paws off the cake until last night, when we hauled it over to Lee and Steve’s house to enjoy during their Oscar party. 

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Holy sugar shock!

But who found the baby Jesus?

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That’s the funny part.

Our friend Steve is a staunch atheist.  He cut into the cake (which is, by the way, very large.  Odds of finding the baby Jesus in the first slice would be about 1 in 40), took a few bites of the first piece, and, low and behold, there was that baby Jesus, just waiting for him!

I told him it was a sign from God.  🙂

Hope you had a great weekend! Happy Monday, everyone!

31 Comments leave one →
  1. Ginger permalink
    February 28, 2011 7:20 pm

    So glad the cake arrived and that you enjoyed it. I definitely think the fact that Steve got the baby is a sign from God. Something for him to think about…..

  2. February 28, 2011 9:17 pm

    I’ve never had a King Cake before but oh man it sure looks heavenly! Can I stop by for a slice?? =)

  3. February 28, 2011 10:28 pm

    A little off-topic, but I remember nearly breaking a tooth on a ceramic hippopotamus lying in wait in my piece of All Saints’ cake that I had in France a while back. I would imagine a plastic Jesus would be a bit kinder to the bicuspids. 🙂

  4. March 1, 2011 12:01 am

    We used to play that in French class!

  5. March 1, 2011 12:29 am

    That’s awesome and hilarious all at the same time!

  6. Emo permalink
    March 1, 2011 2:33 am

    I used to get that same box on my doorstep! One time my family had a king cake with two babies — one white, one black. (And they’re still in the ziploc bag of babies in my mom’s kitchen drawer.) This was going to be the year I made a king cake… maybe next year.

  7. March 1, 2011 2:38 am

    That’s funny about your friend! I’ve never had a King cake but they sound amazing! Hope to have it sometime. Almost sounds like a chess Danish with sprinkles.

  8. March 1, 2011 2:38 am

    Cheese, typo. iPad autofill!!

  9. March 1, 2011 2:49 am

    omg that looks sooo good… ahhhh too late to awaken my sweet tooth! haha

    I think its so funny when someone finds the baby!

  10. March 1, 2011 3:19 am

    I want a cake that has a baby Jesus in it! I am saying extra prayers tonight for this comment 🙂

  11. March 1, 2011 3:37 am

    LOVE the story about your friend finding baby Jesus – bahahah! That is too darn funny!

  12. March 1, 2011 6:15 am

    i’ve always wanted to try this!!

  13. March 1, 2011 10:58 am

    Nice cake! Want to mail one to me too ?
    🙂

  14. March 1, 2011 11:24 am

    Have I ever told you what a great story teller you are? Well, you are.

  15. March 1, 2011 11:55 am

    So interesting about the King’s Cake! And I agree, you’re a great story teller.

    I have to see the King’s Speech!!

  16. March 1, 2011 12:46 pm

    Oh gosh I need King Cake in my life! That is awesome he got the baby Jesus! That’s how it should be!

  17. greensandjeans permalink
    March 1, 2011 1:08 pm

    Another sign from God? The Bachelor Pad was renewed for a second season…

    • March 1, 2011 1:11 pm

      Yesssss!!!! You know who actually told me that last night? My husband. Awesome.

  18. March 1, 2011 1:30 pm

    I’ve never heard of such a thing!!! How intriguing.

  19. March 1, 2011 1:48 pm

    I’ve heard of that cake before, but have never tasted it. Its looks delicious 🙂

  20. March 1, 2011 1:51 pm

    I wish I had traditions that revolved around finding tiny plastic baby Jesus inside a cake. Heck, any excuse to eat cake it okay with me.

  21. March 1, 2011 2:32 pm

    I know all about King Cake, though I’ve never tasted it. Maybe your mom can ship one to me next year, too?

  22. March 1, 2011 2:40 pm

    Ohhh yesss! I LOVE king cake. Actually, I just took a Cajun/Mardi Gras cooking class and now have a great recipe, if you’re interested! The homemade version was REALLY good!

  23. March 1, 2011 2:57 pm

    Hahaha I remember eating the French version of king cake- the “galette des rois.” In elementary school we’d each get a slice in the morning, and whoever found the “feve” got to be king all day. Serious stuff for 6 year olds!

  24. March 1, 2011 3:04 pm

    I had king cake (galette des rois) for the first time ever in France last month, and it was SO good. I’d love to have a fresh slice right now.

  25. March 1, 2011 3:58 pm

    I’ve never had a king cake.

  26. March 1, 2011 6:45 pm

    What a great post – I’ve learned something new today b/c I had never heard of a king cake before: -) King Cake is just another reason we should all make it to at least one Mardi Gras in this lifetime!!

  27. Ellie permalink
    March 1, 2011 6:48 pm

    Ha ha. How I remember those king cakes. I think I would actually gain about ten pounds pound just looking at them in college. I wonder if I have gained any self control since those days. Probably not since I am now back in Louisiana and won’t even entertain the thought of bringing an entire king cake into my house. Good memories.

  28. March 1, 2011 11:25 pm

    How cool, what a yummy looking cake and a fun way to share it! Hey, my in-laws went to LSU and they’ve never shared this tradition! 😛

  29. dirtrider permalink
    March 3, 2011 11:01 pm

    Learn something new every day. Ship me piece of the king cake :))

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