King empire

The King of Cakes: A History of Mardi Gras’ Signature Baking | News

It’s not a party without a cake, and the Mardi Gras king’s cake manages to eclipse the ordinary cakes. This purple, yellow and green cake often has a shiny sparkle and a lucky plastic baby baked inside. While these cake ingredients might seem a bit over the top, there is a long history of how this colorful cake came to be.

Traditionally, the first day to eat king cake is January 6, which is known as the first day of Epiphany for Christians. Epiphany marks the day when the three magi or kings came to visit Jesus after he was born, so the name “king” cake refers to the famous three kings.

However, it is likely that a similar pagan celebration was held throughout the Roman Empire called Saturnalia, which celebrated the god of agriculture. During the celebration, cakes were often made with a baked bean inside and the person who received the slice of cake with the baked bean inside was crowned “king of the day”. The tradition became Christianized, which is why today there is a plastic baby baked inside the cake to represent the baby Jesus.

The tradition spread to many parts of Europe and is often associated with the French due to a proposal to ban the cake which was briefly considered during the French Revolution due to its reference to kings. French settlers eventually brought king cake to Louisiana.

The king cake we see today is the version popular in the south of France, which is a yeast cake that looks like bread and is shaped like a crown. When it comes to bright colors, purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power.

Unlike other cakes, there are a few rules to follow when eating a king cake. There is a rather specific time window for the kings cake. It is usually eaten between January 6 and Shrove Tuesday, the eve of Lent. And like the ancient Romans who baked a bean in their cake, there are a few rules for today’s version of the cake with the plastic baby inside. Although it is believed to bring good luck to the person who receives the piece of cake with the baby, the person who finds the baby is expected to bring a royal cake to next year’s celebration.