Who Put the Baby in King Cake?
We Cubans Mark Our holidays with glee cheer and often mouth watering desserts. Entered the New Orleans King. Cake the frosted coffee cake like sweet roll typically eaten between January sixth and fat Tuesday. Which is the day before lent begins? It's a staple of the Mardi gras season for those unfamiliar with this festive dessert. The New Orleans version is often made of rich Danish style dough braided and shaped into a large ring in often with one or a variety of fillings. Think cinnamon sugar chocolate. Raspberry preserves chopped sugar cons or sweetened. Cream cheese it's usually covered in a suite glazer frosting and decorated with Gold Green and purple sugar or icing and of course hidden somewhere within the tender layers of this frosted treat is a small plastic baby which sounds real weird if you're unfamiliar so let's back up a little. Because the origins of King cake go way back and yes. There are kings involved. Kim Cake derives from the holiday. Three Kings Day also called tiffany which is a Christian Feast Day celebrated on January sixth with the day after the Twelfth Day Christmas this holiday celebrates the Biblical Tale of the Three Kings Aka. Three wise men or madge by visiting the baby. Jesus it kicks off the Mardi Gras or carnival season which lasts until the first day of lent which is a moving holiday that falls forty days before Easter. Anyway the three kings are. Why can cakes are a seasonal treats in the shape of a crown or a more or less circular band anyway? Those three colors decorated with our symbolic purple for justice. Green for faith and gold for power and tradition holds that the plastic baby in the cake represents Jesus just as Jesus showed himself to the three wise men he will show himself to those enjoying king cake. Whoever finds the baby in there slice is crowned King or Queen for a day or hosts the next Mardi gras celebration or at least buys the cake next year? It's a lucky. Token other Tokens Coins. Peas. Pecans beans were what was up in the past and may still show up hundreds of thousands of king cakes or sold at New Orleans Mardi gras season. I couldn't track down a firm total but the big commercial bakeries ramp up to producing three thousand five hundred king cakes per day. Their busiest the Danish style dough is the most popular. But it's not the only kind either flakier or fluffier dough can sometimes be found and New Orleans isn't the only place to serve king cakes by far in northern France. You can find glut their Roy a flaky. Puff Pastry was sweet almond. Filling Bulgaria and Greece have similar dishes traditionally served around the New Year but the New Orleans. Pancake is closer to the Toda. Roy from southern France made with Brioche and the Rosca de raise from Spain a ring of sweet bread topped with icing and candied fruit. Which makes sense given these Spanish and southern French settlers and colonists who got the city started in the seventeen hundreds but Mardi gras and other carnival celebrations have roots. That go way back. People have been celebrating the end of winter and the return of longer warmer days up forever. Since the first brave human dared to celebrate ancient Babylonia may have held first Carnival Circuit Two thousand six hundred BC E. This was a festival that celebrated Mirth and change through satire by making a show of role reversals. There would be a parade through the streets. A pair of peasants would be royalty for the day and royalty would act like fools pranks played. Folks would wear costumes depicting social classes other than their own and everyone partied. Sound a little familiar. These traditions were incorporated into and or disseminated through Grecian and Roman cultural traditions. The first king cakes make all the way back ancient Rome. As part of the celebration of Saturnalia. A Winter Solstice and harvest festival a pastry would be baked with the fava bean hidden inside and the finder would be named king for the day. The tradition became a part of epiphany celebrations in the Middle Ages. The fava bean was sometimes replaced by porcelain token of a crowned head to take some of the pagan out of it. When Spain France spread their outposts to the Americas the king tradition came with them and took on a life of Zone particularly in New Orleans. The baby trinket didn't come along until a bakery called Mackenzie's came up with the idea in the nineteen fifties. At first these figures were made out of porcelain and baked inside the cake. But we're eventually replaced with plastic which comes alongside the cake due to concerns about baking plastic. These early cakes were more brioche like or pedals they like and didn't have filling. That didn't come around until the nineteen eighties as acres began adding more eggs and sugar to the recipes or straight up switching to Danish pastry recipes. An anecdotal tail puts the first commercial. Filled can cakes in New Orleans tonight. Eighty-three according to Baker Jones semen that year baked four filled cakes? Her husband took one to work and they got twenty five calls about filled cakes within thirty minutes through the nineteen eighties and nineties. Cajun and creole food became national trends and shipping technology improved as well allowing for more or less affordable overnight shipping then in two thousand four the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina honed New Orleans sense of community history and pride and both local and national hunger for these traditional dishes which means that celebrates have a veritable glut of kinky options today. Miniature king cakes can kick doughnuts. Can Kate Vodka can take bourbon? Milk Punch can kick smoothies and of course in a city that loves the party. A whole can cake festival held in late. January