C is for Cake?

We all know unique people, and some have had the opportunity to cook for the truly unique, and it has been my experience that unique people appreciate unique food. Every person's taste in food is different, but everybody, no matter who they are or how they spend their time, everybody loves cake. Cake is a celebratory food, meant to bring people together and make everyone smile. A cake is a great way to make the person in the spotlight feel truly special and its possibly the most versatile food on earth. It can be anything, simple to extravagant, personalized with a simple frosting inscription or made to order with intricate specifications.

Here are some examples of wonderful personalized cakes. Each one made one person feel like the king and the rest of the room smile at each other with frosty lips.

A king cake is a type of cake associated in a number of countries with the festival of Epiphany at the end of the Christmas season; in other places, it is associated with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras/Carnival. I had the pleasure of enjoying a king cake this year in New Orleans, and if you have not been to New Orleans, it is truly a mysterious place that basks in the aromas of a people who take cooking very seriously. I highly recommend visiting New Orleans and enjoying their wonderful traditional delicacies.

What started out, roughly 300 years ago, as a dry French bread-type dough with sugar on top and a bean inside is now a sweet, sugary and iced Danish-type dough braided with cinnamon inside and a plastic or porcelain doll buried within. King Cakes are made of cinnamon-filled dough in the shape of a hollow circle. They have a glazed topping and are sprinkled with purple, green and gold-colored sugar. Hundreds of thousands of King Cakes are eaten in New Orleans during the Carnival season and throughout the year.

Traditionally, a small plastic or porcelain baby is cooked into the king cake. It is usually green, gold, or purple to represent the colors of the holiday. Originally, the baby was placed into the cake to symbolize baby Jesus. Fava beans were also used to represent Jesus. Today, the baby symbolizes luck and prosperity to the party-goer who finds it in his/her slice of cake and does not choke to death on the baby. In some more traditional circles, the finder of the baby is designated “king” or “queen” for the evening. That person is also responsible for purchasing next year’s cake, or for throwing the next Mardi Gras party.  In addition, lavish attention, both benign and sexually perverse, is heaped upon the “king” or “queen” for the duration of the party.  The trinket is used over and over, year after year, and in traditional New Orleans circles some are of legendary age.  The luck of the king cake baby lasts through the entire year, and grows with each passing.

The New Orleans Pelicans have also infused the tradition of the king cake baby into their NBA team. Their mascot has always been Pelican Pierre, but they have recently introduced the King Cake Baby as a second mascot during games around Mardi Gras.  The king cake is a delicious symbol of a city steeped in mystery and culture. In all my travels, New Orleans is among my favorite places to visit.

 

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Tips & Technique

Tips & Techniques

  1. Freezing the Top Tier
  2. Measurements
  3. Substitutions
  4. Mixing
  5. Baking Terms

Articles

  1. Perfect Topper
  2. Anniversary Customs
  3. Picking Cake Shapes
  4. What is Fondant
  5. C is for Cake
  6. Heart Shaped Valentines Cake

News and Events

Dairy-Deli-Bake Seminar & Expo
June 7-9, 2015 Atlanta, GA

Orlando Taste of the Nation
August 8, 2015 Orlando, FL

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