King cake makes its return for Mardi Gras season

Image courtesy of All Saints Mardi Gras
 

The king cake is a dessert that takes its name from the biblical kings. Associated with the Catholic Feast of the Epiphany, king cakes will be enjoyed by thousands beginning after the Twelve Days of Christmas up until Fat Tuesday before the start of Lent.

This treat is often associated with New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. It’s believed that this tradition was brought to Louisiana by France in the 1800s after French-Canadian explorers introduced the Mardi Gras celebration to the region almost two centuries prior.

Now, as the holiday season is wrapping up, the Feast of the Epiphany will come soon and bring with it the beloved dessert. Often, it comes in the form of a sweet brioche dough in the shape of a hollow circle topped with glaze sprinkled with colored sugar.

Purple, green, and gold are the symbolic colors of the king cake. Purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power. Each cake typically has a tiny baby inside made of plastic or porcelain. It symbolizes luck and prosperity to whoever finds it.

The king cake season is very important for local bakeries. They have been stocking up for this booming baking season for weeks or months. Ovens will run all day during the peak of the season, with bakeries constantly churning out fresh cakes for customers. “Sometimes, during our busiest time of the season customers may get a king cake that is still warm because we bake them all day,” says Lisa Tike, co-owner of Lilah’s Bakery in Shreveport.