I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m originally from Louisiana.
Folks in Louisiana tend to have a good idea about how food works and there are a lot of traditions around it. One of those traditions is the King Cake which is generally only cooked during Mardi Gras. I love King Cake but getting them in North Carolina isn’t possible. I’ve done without them before but Rob came up with the idea of doing a crawfish boil and had live Crawfish shipped in from Louisiana for a get together this weekend (it’s not that expensive really).
This, of course got me to thinking about King Cakes (and hurricanes) again. So I set out to make an attempt at one. Since we’ll be taking it to the get together tomorrow I wanted it big enough for everyone to share… It is.
It’s not quite clear in this picture but here it is sitting on top of a full size range. You can see the back two eyes. The pan it’s sitting on is covered with parchment paper but JUST barely fits inside the oven.
King Cakes are traditionally served between Christmas and Lent. Serving one after Lent is a frowned upon but since Mrs Jinksto and I will be the only ones from Louisiana there tomorrow we probably won’t get into much trouble over it… shhh…
There’s another bit of Tradition with these that’s fun. King Cakes have a small plastic baby baked into them. I’m told that “half a pecan” can be used instead but, really, I’ve never heard of that and assume it’s a small bit of heresy introduced by political correctorites who don’t like the idea of baking a baby. Anyway, the idea is that the person that gets the slice with the “prize” gets treated like a king for the rest of the day (with a companion set of traditions that define what that means) and has to spring for the Party the next year. As with most traditions most people only follow parts of it… usually the part that involves not treating someone else like a king and ensuring that he unloads the cash the following year.
As a final bit of departure, this cake doesn’t have a baby in it (or a pecan for that matter) but, honestly, have you ever tried to find a plastic baby suitable for baking into a cake in North Carolina? No? Well, don’t bother… there aint one and I am NOT going around to craft stores asking if they have a baby that I can bake into a cake. If I were in Louisiana it’d be a safe and sane thing to do. Since I’m not, it’d probably get me arrested.
King Cakes come in one of two varieties usually… though here again, foodies have corrupted it and bastardized them until you can get everything form a peach King Cake up to and including a Vegan version… and you thought my little bits of heresy were bad?!
The two primary “versions” of a King Cake are filled and unfilled. An unfilled King cake is a bit like a great big cinnamon roll and a filled King Cake is a lot like a great big cheese danish. I love Cream Cheese… and cheese danishes so I’ll leave it to you to figure out which I made.
Now if I can just find my recipe for Hurricanes we’ll “Let The Good Times Roll!”