Feb 25 2009

Mardi Gras King Cake – the Royal Tradition of the King Cake Continues

Published by at 7:58 am under General

Author: Dianna Smith

Mardi Gras - King CakeKing Cakes are as deeply entwined with the traditions of New Orleans and Mardi Gras as parades, Bourbon Street, and jambalaya. The city of New Orleans is the proud host of the popular Mardi Gras Festival, and celebrants consider a Mardi Gras King Cake a necessity. These unique delicacies are so coveted that people throughout the country order them from their favorite bakery or bake one for their family and friends.

A Mardi Gras King Cake is made from braids of rich, cinnamon flavored dough that is shaped into an oval before being baked. Some of the more modern recipes may even have fillings of chocolate, cream cheese, lemon, apple, or strawberry. When the King Cake is removed from the oven and cooled, it is then glazed with icing and decorated with colored sugars. The sugars and the triple braid of the cake originated as a way to honor the 3 Wise Men who brought gifts to the Baby Jesus. Each of the colored sugars has a meaning:

• Purple- Justice
• Gold-Power
• Green-Faith

Even the time of preparation for these cakes is special, with baking being done between the dates of the Twelfth Night (January 6th) and Ash Wednesday. There are thousands of King Cakes prepared for purchase as well as for delivery to customers who have placed their personal order weeks in advance. To many people having one of these sugary confections is reason enough for a celebration.

January 6th, or the Twelfth Night, officially introduces the Carnival Season which is a much anticipated time of year. This is the time that the Baby Jesus was honored with gifts from the Wise Men. From the very earliest times, small tokens have been placed in the cakes for revelers to find. At times people have chosen to use a small coin, peas, or even a pecan. In the 19th century, a small gemstone was being added to a King Cake by the wealthier families. The tokens would bring good luck to whoever found them and the finder would be the king (or queen) of the ball.

It was at the beginning of the 20th century that the tradition changed to placing a small plastic baby in the cake. This plastic baby represents the Christ Child, and is placed into the cake after baking. Then the cake is frosted and decorated so no one realizes where the object is hidden. Everyone hopes to find the doll in their slice of cake and slicing the cake is an exciting time. Whoever finds the doll will have good luck and they also honored as the King or Queen. According to tradition, they must also host a Mardi Gras celebration next year and furnish a new Mardi Gras King Cake for guests to enjoy.

About the Author:

Dianna Yvonne Smith has published articles and e-books in the family, home, fitness, business and cooking categories. She is a Cajun cooking enthusiast. Find out why New Orleans during Mardi Gras is the place to be! Visit http://www.Cooking-New-Orleans-Style.com for a great Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe and more free Cajun recipes.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/holidays-articles/mardi-gras-king-cake-the-royal-tradition-of-the-king-cake-continues-770120.html

Photo by Joe in DC

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