It’s Mardi Gras season here in the South and guess what that means? King Cake!
It wouldn’t be a proper Carnival season if King Cake wasn’t around but where did the festive cake originate from? What is its significance to Mardi Gras besides being a sugary braid of heaven?
Most southerners know that receiving a slice of the colorful pastry with the famous plastic baby is supposed to bring good luck. You may even be crowned “king” or “queen” for the day if you’re in good company. But, in your new-found glory, you also will probably have to furnish the next king cake at the next celebration.
The plastic (or sometimes porcelain) baby actually is said to represent the Christ Child. The origin of the “King’s cake” is to actually honor the three wise men who visited Christ in the manger. The colors of the cake are representative of the royal colors of the wise men’s crowns. Purple represents “Justice,” green represents “Faith” and gold represents “Power.”
The celebration begins on January 6, the twelfth day after Christmas, and culminates on Fat Tuesday. So where can you find some of this delectable goodness to help you celebrate?
Paul’s Bakery (Picayune, Mississippi)
Paul’s Bakery has been serving up king cakes since the 1970’s. I’ve only had cinnamon once in my lifetime, but the list of possibilities is endless. Maybe you’re craving a king cake out of season. That’s no problem. Paul’s Pastry Shop bakes and ships king cakes year-round. You can even find Paul’s king cake in local grocery stores in Hattiesburg. Yes, Paul’s is kind of a big deal here in Mississippi.
Jody’s Bakery (Hattiesburg, Mississippi)
Jody’s Bakery is a Hattiesburg favorite for everything sweet. Jody’s has several flavors to choose from, but I’m personally a traditionalist as and when it comes to king cake so I can only tell you how delicious the regular cream cheese tastes. You can order Jody’s king cakes online and have them shipped, or you can find them at your local grocery and convenience stores.
You cannot talk about Mardi Gras without discussing New Orleans. If you’re in the area for Mardi Gras be sure to stop by these guys below:
Maurice’s (New Orleans)
Maurice’s is the King of King Cakes in New Orleans. Literally. During the 2015 Mardi Gras King Cake Fest, Maurice’s was crowned People’s Choice. Go have a taste if you’re in the Big Easy.
Manny Randazzo King Cakes (New Orleans)
Randazzo’s is one of the most popular places for king cakes there is. So much so, that they are now booked for shipping up until Mardi Gras. If you can stand the wait or will still be craving your king cake fix, then the late February shipping options are open now. Hurry over to their website and get your spot on the list!
Have you ever tried king cake? Tell us about it in the comments section and have a very happy Mardi Gras!