Mardi Gras in our home is normally celebrated with music and dance. My husband and I enjoy Cajun and Zydeco music, and he has played in several local Cajun bands with some of our friends. Last night, circumstances made joining in the festivities impossible, so our Mardi Gras party was celebrated with King’s Cake instead. Associated with Epiphany and the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras and Carnival, this cake is found in many manifestations, from France to Spain and for us in the States, deep in Cajun Country, in New Orleans and the plains of Louisiana.
Often the cake has a small trinket or treasure inside it, but it is the little plastic baby, sometimes said to represent the baby Jesus that we most often see here. The cake I made last night indeed has the baby in it, and it is said that the person who gets the piece of cake with the baby gets to host the next Mardi Gras Party.
King’s Cake is more coffee cake than what one normally thinks of as cake. The icing on the cake, so to speak, is a glaze decorated with three colors of sparkly sugar, purple for justice, yellow or gold for power, and green for faith.
My husband also plays in the oldest Samba band in the Pacific Northwest, and has been a member for nearly twenty years. Dancing to his beautiful music has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Cooking for him is another. With his music, and the King’s Cake, we celebrate Carnival, Mardi Gras and the beginning of Lent in the most spectacular ways.