It’s January, and we all know what that means–King Cake Season! After all, there is no great party without a great cake! As we kick off our favorite time of the year, you will find the Sweet Baton Rouge Insiders stuffing our faces nearly every day with our favorite local King Cakes in Baton Rouge and Louisiana.
As we celebrate Mardi Gras at home this year, I thought it would be nice to give attention to the meaning behind our most delicious traditions. So in addition to our Insiders’ insights, here’s a brief history lesson about King Cake!
The History of King Cakes
We traditionally kick off the Mardi Gras season by eating King Cake! The first day of Mardi Gras starts officially on the Twelfth Day after Christmas on January 6th, a day many people call ‘Kings Day”. Kings Day is a yearly celebration of the Three Wise Men or Kings in Bethlehem who delivered those three fancy gifts to Baby Jesus. Thus, we have King Cake!
Mardi Gras became a tradition for the people of New Orleans by the 1730s. These days, King Cakes were simple with just a bit of frosted sugar.
Beans or trinkets that symbolize Baby Jesus were baked into King Cakes all around the world where Mardi Gras is celebrated. Here in Louisiana, finding the baby symbolizes luck and prosperity for those who find it! Being so lucky, it’s your job to buy the next King Cake and throw the next big Mardi Gras Celebration.
It’s likely that this meaning evolved from New Orleans in the 1870s. Historians have said, that the Twelfth Night Revelers society made it tradition to crown the person who found the “baby” in their slice the King of the ball.
Speaking of New Orleans, Louisiana! Did you know that New Orleans was the first place to actually use a little baby trinket in their King Cakes? In the 1950s, Donald Entringer, owner of McKenzie’s Bakery began the tradition. A traveling salesman had so many extra miniature porcelain baby dolls that he suggested Entringer buy them to bake into his King Cakes. Well, the idea took off like crazy! Eventually, when Entringer ran out of porcelain babies, he switched to plastic babies.
You won’t be surprised to know that bakers and enthusiasts debate whether there is a strict set of rules to make a true King Cake. We traditionally know King Cake as a cinnamon-flavored cake topped with frosting, purple, green, and gold sprinkles. Many local King Cake bakers say that all you really need is a cake made of slightly sweet brioche dough, twisted and formed in the shape of an oval or circle with a hole in the middle. The filling flavor can be anything–meaning you can find a local King Cake in Baton Rouge no matter your taste!
Insiders Share Local King Cake Insight
King Cake is delicious and everyone knows it. You can find the King Cake flavor whipped into every drink, milkshake, and pastry during this season! The only problem is deciding where to buy it.
So the moment you’ve all been waiting for is–Where to find the best local King Cakes!
Where is your favorite King Cake in Louisiana from?
What is your favorite flavor of King Cake?
No...but now that you’ve mentioned it... – Jay
Nope. But I do make king cake cookies. It’s just a donut shaped snickerdoodle cookie with the icing and sprinkles! – Karleigh Liberto
I bought the Gracious Bakery kit for my mom for Christmas! Results to come soon! – Katie Brunet
Laissez les bon Temps Rouler
At Sweet Baton Rouge Insider we are all about sharing the local love and there’s no better season for us than Mardi Gras! We will be sharing our favorite King Cakes and more about Mardi Gras on our Instagram and Facebook pages.
What’s your favorite King Cake? Let us know by joining our King Cake Challenge! Simply post a photo with your favorite King Cake from a local business and use the tags #kingcakechallenge #kingcakecaloriesdontcount to play along!