History of the King Cake


With Fat Tuesday (the last day of indulgence before Lent) around the corner, it's time for beads, celebration, drinks, and cake. Yes, the king takes the cake and nobody does it better than New Orleans. While the oval-shaped cake might appear flashy, it melds perfectly with the festive mood of Mardi Gras.

NPR recounts the history of the cake dating back to Old World Europe. The French and the Spanish brought the cake to the Americas, where it seems to have been adopted in Catholic influenced areas from New Orleans to Mexico.

The traditional colors of Mardi Gras, which include purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power) adorn the cake. A token, noteably a plastic baby symbolizing the infant Jesus is hidden inside. The lucky eater who finds the baby (try not to eat it) may be crowned king or queen of the party.

Of course, royalty comes with obligations. Find the baby and you're responsible for bringing the cake to the next gathering. Feeling adventurous? Make David Gaus' King Cake recipe.

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.