Thursday, February 18, 2010

King Cake

Ah King Cake...

January 6th marks Epiphany, the day the three kings visited the baby Jesus. It is also the start of Carnival season the world over. You see, Christ is born, banished to the desert, crucified and risen again not just once a year, but in just a four month time span. So, while we're still celebrating his birth, we are already preparing ourselves to fast along with him in the Lenten desert by eating King Cake - and lots of it!

It seems the King Cake is a French tradition of baking a bean or porcelain baby into a cake. Whoever gets the piece with the baby should buy the next cake, or even throw the next party. My friend Renee even told me that to determine how to pass out the pieces, the youngest person in the party should either be blindfolded or hide under the table and dictate who gets what piece (because sometimes the person cutting the cake can see little baby feet sticking out of the cake).

The entire duration of Carnival season, from January 6th until Mardi Gras day, people consume massive amounts of this cake. They can be bought in any bakery or grocery store. I don't actually like the cakes sold at most places. My very favorite is the Boulangerie, the French bakery on Magazine St. Their cakes are flakey, like a croissant, and filled with almond paste. They also include a real porcelain figurine instead of a plastic baby. Too bad its all over now.

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