Friday, February 17, 2012

King Cake - Mardi Gras Tradition

Traditional Mardi Gras Pastry

King Cake is another delicious Mardi Gras tradition. The person who gets "the baby" throws the next party!

Kitchen Daily recounts its origins.
King cake, in its most traditional form, is a ring cake made from a bread similar to brioche. It is dressed up with icing in the three colors of Mardi Gras: purple, green and gold. The traditional galette du roi has a sweet almond filling baked inside.

The history of king cake dates back to the 18th century, brought to the United States by Spanish and French colonists. King cake derives its name from the biblical three kings, which tells the tale of the three kings who journeyed to Bethlehem bearing gifts at the arrival of the newborn baby Jesus.

In the European tradition, a small bean or pea was hidden inside the king cake, and whoever found the bean was declared the "king of the feast." Since the 1950s, however, a trinket has replaced the bean in the United States. While the baby trinket is the most common, there are also various plastic trinket kings wearing colorful crowns.

Sweetish Hill Bakery & Cafe, Austin's oldest French bakery, offers the traditional French galette du roi with marzipan (almond-paste filling) as well as New Orleans-style sweet yeast dough filled with cinnamon sugar.

Austin Chronicle Food reports that King Cakes can be purchased at a number of local stores with 24 hours notice.
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