Nothing marks the start of Mardi Gras season like the sudden debut of King Cakes at every grocery store in New Orleans. Mardi Gras, also known as Carnival, officially begins on January 6th, also known as “Twelfth Night”, but New Orleanians begin eating their fill of these traditional cakes long before then. In fact, King Cakes are available all the way through Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday.
While the precise origin of the New Orleans King Cake is not known, it’s widely thought that it was one of the many rich and delicious traditions French brought with them when they settled the area in 1870. Traditionally, king cakes are oval-shaped and resemble a twisted, colorful, oversized cinnamon roll. They’re typically distinguished by their creamy white glaze and colorful Mardi Gras-themed bands of purple, green, and gold sugar which represent justice, faith, and power, respectively. These colors were chosen to resemble the jeweled crowns of the three wise men that visited baby Jesus on the Twelfth Night (known by Christians as “Epiphany”).
Before the present-day tiny plastic babies were chosen to depict baby Jesus, coins, beans, nuts, and peas were placed as prizes inside traditional King Cakes. According to tradition, finding one of these little babies in your slice of cake grants you the title of “King” or “Queen” for the day and you’re then bound by custom to host the next party and provide the King Cake to select your royal successor. This is how New Orleans keeps the party going all season long!
Joe’s Cafe was founded on family and tradition. Get your Joe’s Cafe King Cake! #joesknowsfood #joesknowsdonuts #joesknowskingcake