What is the king cake tradition and what does it symbolize? Here is the meaning behind the king cake and when it should be honored and eaten.
Growing up, my sister and I were blessed with so many wonderful traditions. Every October, my parents would travel to New Orleans and meet their best friends to basically eat and drink and celebrate dear friendship and the honored city. Mommy and Daddy looked forward to this trip every year, and really, who can blame them? New Orleans is a foodie’s paradise.
For years, my sweet mama would order a king cake and have it shipped to us. January 6th would come around and we knew any day, that delicious cake would arrive. It tastes like a cinnamon roll amped up a bazillion times, In my opinion, the king cake should be considered its own food group. My sister and I would hope to get the slice where the plastic baby doll would be hidden.
So I thought since we’re celebrating Mardi Gras all this week on the blog, that I would share the tradition and semblance of the king cake, and why exactly a plastic baby doll is hidden inside.
The King Cake Tradition
January 6th is known as King’s Day; Epiphany, 12th night. This is when the three kings arrived to baby Jesus, hence, the king of kings. And, January 6th marks the final day of the Christmas season. Traditionally, the king cake should only be eaten between January 6th and Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. This is the Mardi Gras, Carnival season. This is an extremely important king cake detail.
At a party, the king cake is sliced and served, and guests look to see if their slice of cake contains the plastic baby doll. If so, then that person is crowned “king” for the day and is bound to host next year’s party and to provide the next king cake.
Traditionally oval shaped to symbolize the unity of faith, these cakes are decorated in traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple: representing justice, green: representing faith and gold representing power.
What’s With The Baby Doll?
At first glance, it’s a little 80’s scary movie creepy, but when you know the semblance, it’s endearing. The baby symbolizes baby Jesus, and this cake is deeply rooted in faith and tradition.
So with all this history, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I mean, I’m here to share all of the details, from where to order, the various flavors, and if you’re so inclined to bake your own, where you can find a great recipe. Although I asked Mama where she always ordered king cakes, I turned to my dear friend that lives in New Orleans and knows the ins and outs of Mardi Gras, her top king cake recommend. Girlfriend can recommend a delicious king cake!
King Cake Recipes
Are you ambitious and want to bake your own? I researched recipes and found this one and this one that look absolutely delish. And, if you’d like to follow suit and hide a baby doll inside, here’s where you can find said doll.
I may or may not have served a slice to the kids for breakfast before school, but please don’t judge. There was a bowl of fresh fruit on the side to justify things.
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