I have always, always, always loved King Cake for Mardi Gras! With today, “Fat Tuesday”, being the last official day of Mardis Gras in the States and Carnival around the world . . . I have just sunk my teeth into a divine King Cake like no other! This cake has a cinnamon apple filling combined with cream cheese and topped with an icing. Of course the beautiful finale is the traditional green, yellow, and purple colored sugars sprinkled on top.
I seriously blew my diet with this cake! And warm straight out of the oven, it was irresistable. Thank goodness there is tomorrow to start all over again!
This ring-shaped confection is rich in tradition, especially known for it’s shape, color and taste. I always look forward to seeing how other bakers incorporate the trademark decorations on the cake: the colored sugars in the royal hues of purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power), that honor the three kings who visited the Christ child on Epiphany, the last day of the 12 Days of Christmas.
The round circular shape symbolizes the circular route taken by the three kings to confuse King Herod who was attempting to follow the wise men so that he could kill the Christ child.
King Cake originated in Europe and is also known as Twelfth Night Cake because it is always prepared during the period between the Twelfth Night of Christmas (January 6) and Ash Wednesday.
The King Cake was brought over to America and is a New Orleans tradition in which a small plastic baby honoring Jesus is baked inside and shared with others to enjoy. It is considered good luck to come upon the person who gets the slice with the baby in it and whom also must host the next Mardis Gras party with the King Cake. This person is also declared the king or queen of the party. After the plastic baby is discovered, you are to place the honorable toy baby on the top of the cake for all to see and think of Jesus. What a fun and delicious tradition!
Many King Cake recipes have a cream cheese filling and some recipes don’t, but recipes also abound with a cinnamon-apple filling along with cream cheese. You can also add raisins and nuts if you like. The cake is often braided and flavored with cinnamon. Sweeter and fancier King Cakes with rich fillings are the trendier rage currently, so I had to try one. In fact, an increasing variety of incredible fillings become available each year, especially in New Orleans where one might think that bakeries try to outdo each other! Traditionalists can still enjoy the rather plain original cakes with just colored sugar sprinkled on a light icing on top and still indulge in a delicious treat. But I don’t need to describe how incredible the cinnamon apple and cream cheese filling combination is, so I hope you’ll try this recipe!
Hope you enjoyed your Mardi Gras or Carnivale celebrations!
For an easier, yet still festive recipe for Mardi Gras, you might like these delicious muffins that I baked last year: