King Cake Facts About This Sweet Pastry And Its Traditions | Kidadl


King Cake Facts About This Sweet Pastry And Its Traditions

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The purple, green, golden-hued sweet cinnamon flavored king cake is made with very simple ingredients.

King cake has a unique decorative pattern like a ring-shaped crown. Today, king cake is produced commercially and shipped long distances.

Mardi Gras day is incomplete without the cake tradition. If you book in advance, you can arrange a king's crown cake from various bakeries for the Mardi Gras season. According to the tradition, some bakeries put plastic babies inside the cake, but other bakeries have dropped this tradition, as placing a plastic baby inside the cake may be a potential choking hazard.

During Mardi Gras carnival season, the Twelfth-Night revelers who follow Orleans tradition throng the bakeries for a box of freshly baked king cake. A wide variety of king cakes are available during the Mardi Gras season in New Orleans. Some king cakes contain candied fruit, while some king cake versions may taste like coffee cake.

New Orleans gets busy baking king cakes with decorations like a paper crown, beads, and a tiny plastic baby inside. The French version of the king cake looks like a puff pastry. According to the king cake tradition, the one who gets the king cake baby is declared the Mardi Gras King for the day.

What is king cake?

The first king cakes contained a fava bean instead of a plastic baby and tasted like coffee cake. Ingredients include sugar, flour, milk, and butter with a dash of cinnamon or cream cheese filling.

  • The meaning behind a king cake is that the 'King' refers to the three wise men who came to visit baby Jesus on the 12th day, January 6, and brought gifts. The crown shape of the cake refers to the bejeweled crowns of these three kings.
  • The baby in a king cake represents baby Jesus. It's a common belief that baby Jesus brings good luck, success, and prosperity to the person who finds it in his slice of cake.
  • Traditionally, with a king cake, if you found the plastic baby in the king cake, you will be the King in the parade. However, lately, this tradition has changed, and the finder of the plastic baby has to purchase the king cake next year.
  • With its unique oval shape and hallmark purple, green, and golden colors, king cake represents the unity of faiths.
  • The purple color represents justice, the green color stands for faith, and the gold represents power. The cake has a small baby inside it that represents baby Jesus.

Why is king cake associated with Epiphany?

King cake is special as it's prepared on Three King's Day when the three kings visited baby Jesus.

  • Three Kings Day is celebrated 12 days after Christmas. Moreover, it has the typical colors of Mardi Gras, purple, green, and golden.
  • King cake is indeed a Catholic tradition, and it's the centerpiece of Catholic tradition as it is prepared on Epiphany.
  • Historians state that the king cake originated in Roman times to celebrate Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas.
  • Initially, a fava bean was placed inside the cake, and the finder was selected as the King at the ball.
  • Eventually, Christian followers in France replaced the bean with a porcelain figurine of a face.

Baking And Ingredients Of King's Cake

A king cake is decorated with colored sugar sprinkles and the flavor of a traditional king cake is cinnamon. Cream cheese king cake and praline king cake are also very popular in early January.

  • A king cake can be made with ingredients readily available in your pantry, like flour, milk, eggs, butter, and sugar. Knead the dough and shape it into oval-shaped rings. You will need cinnamon, flour, pecan, and butter for the filling. Mix the ingredients, fill inside the rings, and twist the rings together before baking them. Before baking the cake, make sure you push the hallmark plastic baby under the dough. Sprinkle green, gold, and purple colored sugar on the cake and serve for the finishing touches.
  • The ingredient measurements are one cup milk, one-quarter cup butter, two packs of active dry yeast, two eggs, half a cup of white sugar, two-thirds of a cup of warm water in a bowl, one and a half teaspoons of salt, half a teaspoon of grated nutmeg, and five and a half cups of all-purpose flour. These ingredients can be used to make two king cakes of regular size.
  • Dissolve the dry yeast in warm water and one tablespoon of white sugar in a large bowl and leave aside for 10 minutes. In the meantime, boil milk and butter. After the yeast mixture turns creamy, add the milk solution, egg, sugar, and nutmeg. Add flour gradually and knead the flour for 8-10 minutes. Leave the dough in a well-oiled pan and cover with a damp cloth for two hours. When the dough is kneaded, you can preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Add cinnamon, brown sugar, chopped pecan, any dried fruit, and raisins with half a cup of flour for the filling and mix thoroughly. You can also add a dry fruit of your choice. Then take the well-kneaded dough, cut it into two halves, roll the dough tightly, and make two oval rings. Add the filling into the dough to rise the dough like a jelly roll. Allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes. Bake the King's cake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remember to place the doll in the middle of the dough before baking. When warm, frost the king Cake, sprinkle with sugar, and enjoy the delicious cake with family and friends.
What ingredients are required for baking the King Cake?

Calories And Shelf Life Of King Cake

A regular-sized, freshly-baked king cake serves 15-20 people.

  • In early January, people in New Orleans celebrate Mardi Gras, and king cake is a special dessert loved by all.
  • One piece of freshly baked king cake contains 421 calories. But, it is a fact that when people eat the king cake, they are more worried about finding the plastic baby hidden inside than calculating its calories.
  • The shelf life of a freshly baked king cake is two to three days. The cake has religious significance, as it symbolizes the unity of faiths.
Written By
Sridevi Tolety

<p>With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.</p>

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