Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mardi Gras Is Here - Let's Celebrate

                         History of King Cakes
The Mardi Gras or Carnival season officially begins on January 6th or the "Twelfth Night," also known to Christians as the "Epiphany." Epiphany comes from a Greek word that means "to show." Jesus first showed himself to the three wise-men and to the world on this day. As a symbol of this Holy Day, a tiny plastic baby is placed inside each King Cake.
The King Cake tradition is thought to have been brought to New Orleans from France in 1870. A King Cake is an oval-shaped bakery delicacy, crossed between a coffee cake and a French pastry that is as rich in history as it is in flavor. It's decorated in royal colors of PURPLE which signifies "Justice," GREEN for "Faith," and GOLD for "Power." These colors were chosen to resemble a jeweled crown honoring the Wise Men who visited the Christ Child on Epiphany. In the past such things as coins, beans, pecans, or peas were also hidden in each King Cake.
Today, a tiny plastic baby is the common prize. At a party, the King Cake is sliced and served. Each person looks to see if their piece contains the "baby." If so, then that person is named "King" for a day and bound by custom to host the next party and provide the King Cake.
Mardi Gras Day has a moveable date and may occur on any Tuesday from February 3rd to March 9th. It is always the day before Ash Wednesday, and always falls 46 days before Easter.

If you find the baby in your slice of king's cake , tradition says you must throw a party next year.

Prep : 40 minutes + rising Bake : 30 minutes makes 1 cake (16 slices)
1           cup milk
1/4         cup butter
2          (.25 ounce each) packages active dry yeast
2/3         cup warm water (110 degrees)
1/2         cup white sugar
2           eggs
1-1/2       teaspoons salt
1/2         teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5-/2        cups all-purpose flour

1           cup packed brown sugar
1           tablespoon ground cinnamon
2/3         cup chopped pecans
1/2         cup all-purpose flour
1/2         cup raisins
1/2         cup melted butter

1           cup confectioners' sugar (I used 2 cups)
3           tablespoon water
1 .     Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
2 .      Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
3 .     Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
4.      Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

My cakes took about 25 minutes to bake. I covered them with aluminum foil at about 15 minutes to avoid excessive browning.
When you are ready to ice the cakes, you might want to make the icing separate for each cake, especially if you are going to sprinkle them with colored sugars. The icing hardens pretty quickly.


  1. Great looking King Cake! We almost never make these, and have been talking about how we should. And here you are with a recipe for us! ;-) Thanks.

    1. Hi John , Mardi Gras is going full swing here , parades and the works , the cakes come in different flavors . Thanks fo stopping by :)

  2. Dear Nee, A beautiful cake with great and interesting history. Delicious. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

    1. Hi Catherine , we know how to dress up in maskes and have a great time , thanks for stopping by:)

  3. That cake looks so good! We actually don't have such tradition, we only are having tradition to have pancakes :)

    1. Hi Medea , I love pancakes and enjoy learning about different tradition , thanks for stopping by :)

  4. Dear Nee,
    What beautiful colorful pictures! I love your information on Mardi Gras or Carnival. So many fun things to know about. I always enjoyed eating a slice of King Cake. It really is delicious, and it is fun to see who gets the baby in their slice. Thanks for sharing your info and recipe...I am glad I stopped by...Yummmy....Blessings..Dottie :)

    1. I Dottie , sometime they put silver dollars in the cakes and they are not all made with the same flavors and taste , but the idea is the same , as you know I am in Mardi Gras country (Louisiana) we only do Mardi Gras once a year as you see from the post , then you can't find a King cake anywhere . Thank you for stopping by .

      Thank you for the input on my photos , hubby got me a new camera I haven't mastered it as of yet , some of my photos are off balance , but they serve my purpose . Thanks for noticing . ;-D Nee

  5. Well, you've done it now, Nee. Marion wants me to make her a King's Cake all because of you. Yes, she enjoyed this post but she wants to know if I can use candy babies just in case. She said I would have to have the party too! Thank goodness Ash Wednesday isn't until March 5th this year. I have a couple of weeks to talk her out of it, lol...

    Your King's Cake looks gorgeous, I'll just send her by you, lol...Thank you so much for sharing, Nee, I think:)

    P.s. I'm sorry I haven't written you back yet, I was trying to get rid of some snow today. I didn't even get my post up for today until dinner time! I promise I will write tomorrow:)

    1. Hi Houise , ;-D , laughing so hard tears are running down my cheeks . Tell Marion , you don't have to put the baby or candy inside , after you have finish every thing , just rill like a jelly roll , after my first two , I was a pro . really it nothing but sweet yeast bread made fancy with pretty colors .
      I don't use the babies , coins or candy , the babies may break a tooth or swallowed . Oh Louise , you are just too cute , now I will see what else I can find Marion , lol ... .Thanks for stopping by :).

      P.S. I wasn't looking for a note , I just was glad I got it out in time and that you got it . Sweetie , I know you are busy with the weather you are having , so take care and when you have time , that will be good . (((HUGS))) to Marion / you .

  6. Hi Nee,
    Thanks for sharing the story on Mardi Gras. It is very interesting, and I only learn about Mardi Gras when I started to blog a few years ago. The cake looks really colourful and cheerful, and looks sweet in taste as it is in looks. Very pretty!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Joyce , you are so very welcome , the cake is sweet with all the sugary icing , Mardi Gras is a very big thing down here , lots of floats , parties and just plain fun , thanks for stopping by :)


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