What’s with the King Cake?

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King Cake | by NatalieMaynor http://flic.kr/p/9jiugK via Creative Commons

Taking its name from the magi from the Bible, the King Cake is a traditional cake being served from the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas up until Mardi Gras. During this period, every party or parade you attend will likely have a King Cake. It is traditionally round or oval in shape and has a baby hidden inside. It is said that when you get the slice with the baby, good luck will come. You will also be considered as the king (or queen) of the party.

The King Cake originated in Europe on the twelfth night confections. It was a tradition to culminate the Christmas season, literally the end of the twelve days of Christmas. The King Cake is usually topped with sugar in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.

The baby inside the cake was originally a bean. Nowadays, it is more common to encounter a baby instead of a bean which is more appropriate to symbolize the infant Jesus in the manger to whom the “kings” offered gifts. The baby is usually pink or pale in color and is in plastic form. Recently though, one may find other the trinket in colors of Mardi Gras.

Today, you can see King Cakes in different forms and designs. There are also King Cakes being served on Valentines Day and St. Patrick’s Day, holidays that fall within the King Cake period. These King Cakes take the form of the occasion. Hence, you may expect to see heart-shaped or green King Cakes on these days. For whatever purpose or occasion, it is always a good thing to keep the tradition of King Cake going. Just always be mindful of the baby trinket. You would not want to break them with your teeth.

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