Saturday, February 17, 2007

King Cake

I left Kansas City in 2001, off to a couple of years wandering in the wilderness. Upon my return, I was thrilled to find my church had started a Mardi Gras affair. We always had a chili and soup cook off and variety show just before Lent but to breathe new life in the affair, Mardi Gras was selected as a theme. As it turns out, my time in St Louis had introduced me to the fun of Mardi Gras.

Me: Who is bringing the King Cake?
Them: What is a King Cake?
Me: OMG! We need help.

A king cake traditionally was served on "Little Christmas" or "Kings' Day" other names for the Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated Jan. 6. S Traditionally the cake was baked on Epiphany Eve and served the following afternoon to family and friends. Today, the cake is served throughout the "Epiphany season," or until Mardi Gras.

It is said that the person who receives the piece of cake containing a "baby"(or sometimes a bean or nut, but most times a plastic baby) must provide the king cake next year. Not doing that is considered bad manners. King Cakes are not made before Epiphany or after Mrdi Gras. Traditional king cake is similar to brioche, a sweetened yeast bread, its only adornment a sprinkling of colored sugar. Today king cakes also come with a vast array of fillings and flavorings. The plain old sugared ones are the best.

King Cakes were rare as hen's teeth here in KC. But recently, I have seen more and more of them available. Our local Price Chopper stores carry them.

We have 5 medium size ones for the party tonight. With Gumbo, and King Cakes, we are almost there.


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