The King Cake and Mardi Gras
The King Cake, a tradition long associated
with Carnival or Mardi Gras is usually oval
shaped, with a texture more like french bread or
doughnuts than a typical cake.
It is doughnut shaped but it size is the same as
a regular rectangle birthday cake.
Often filled with delightful fruit, cream
cheese, nuts, chocolate and more. Coated with
either a sweet granulated color sugar coating or
drizzled with a semi liquid icing concoction and
some then times topped off with nuts. Colored in
traditional Mardi Gras colors (Purple, Green and
The cake has a history dating to 12th century
France. where the cake would be baked on the
eve of January 6 ( known as Epiphany) to
celebrate the visit to the Christ Child by the
Brought to America by the French in the 18th
century, where it remained associated with the
Epiphany until the 19th century when it became a
more elaborate Mardi Gras custom.
January 6th is when the first cake of the
season was served in New Orleans.
It was introduced to organizes Mardi Gras
Associations and Krewes by the Krewe of Cosmo in
the 1800's when they decided to present the cake
to the ladies and the lady finding the golden
bean would become the Queen of Cosmos for that
Today a figure of baby is placed
inside. Who ever the lucky person is to get the
piece with the baby is said to have good fortune
for the year, but is also responsible for
bringing the next King Cake.
In the U.S., cakes are brought to offices,
school, meetings and parties, and the person
finding the baby in their piece must bring a
king cake the next day
King cakes are commonly severed from the
twelfth night after Christmas and continues on
until Mardi Gras day which is Fat Tuesday the
day before Ash Wednesday.
King Cake Recipe-
"The King Cake is a New Orleans tradition that involves a
pastry, a small plastic baby, and a
party. The King Cake is baked and then a
small plastic baby hidden inside, the
person who gets the slice with baby in
it has to host the next party. Make sure
to buy a new small plastic baby so you
can get the full effect from this cake!
Sprinkle with purple, green and gold
sugar, or decorate with whole pecans and
candied cherries. Note: Be sure to tell
everyone to inspect their piece of cake
before they begin eating it.
Original recipe yield: 2 cakes.
4 Hours 30 Minutes
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
size=2 width="100%" noshade color=white align=center>
Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in
1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room
temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in
the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white
sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture.
Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white
sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the
milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough
has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly
floured surface and knead until smooth and
elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to
coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or
plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until
doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen,
punch down and divide dough in half.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie
sheets or line with parchment paper.
To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon,
chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup
raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the
cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16
inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over
the dough and roll up each half tightly like a
jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring
the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval
shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared
cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the
way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let
rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the
bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the
confectioners' sugar blended with 1 to 2
tablespoons of water..