Fat Tuesday is right around the corner and that means you’re free to indulge.
On February 21, the celebration of Mardi Gras begins and celebrators everywhere, especially in New Orleans will be indulging in fun colored beads, parties and sweets.
Traditionally, for the sweet tooths, king cake is the top choice. It’s one of the most popular party practices during Mardi Gras.
“In Louisiana especially, Mardi Gras season and King Cakes go hand in hand with literally hundreds of thousands of King Cakes consumed at parties and office lunch rooms every year,” reads MardiGrasNewOrleans.com.
So what exactly is a king cake you ask? It’s a type of cake associated with pre-lenten celebrations between Christmas and Ash Wednesday that honors the three wise men bearing gifts to Jesus.
“The main part of the celebration was the baking of a King’s Cake to honor the three Kings. The cakes were made circular to portray the circular route used by the kings to get to the Christ Child,” reads Kingcake.com.
The story goes on to explain that the circular route was planned to confuse King Herod who was reportedly trying to follow the wise men so he could kill baby Jesus.
The special cake was originally a simple ring of dough with a small amount of decoration but now are elaborate works of art topped with white icing along with purple, green and gold sprinkles. They’re now even stuffed with different flavors of cream cheese and fruit.
The most special part of the cake though, is not the story behind it but the surprise inside of it. In the past bakers would hide a bean, pea, or coin inside the cake. The person who got the hidden piece was declared “King” for the day and said to have good luck in the coming year.
Today, the cake usually has a small toy baby, representing baby Jesus hidden inside.
Here’s a fun king cake recipe to try this February, according to All Recipes:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon water