Tuesday, January 6, 2009

King Cake

Today is Three King's Day, Jan. 6th. The day the magi visited Baby Jesus. I'm a New Orleans native so Epiphany, Three King's Day, has always been a fun and special day for me as it is the Twelfth Night of Christmas and the start of Carnival.

Carnival or Mardi Gras season will run from now until Mardi Gras Day(the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday). Today is the day the King Cake parties begin. As a school child that meant yummy cake every day at school unless the person who was supposed to bring the cake forgot. Each cake has a baby hidden inside (represents the Christ Child) and whomever was fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough, depending on how many times you'd gotten the baby and how tired your parents were of having to buy a king cake for the whole class) to get the piece of cake with the baby you were the King or Queen of the day and had to bring the next cake.

The cakes are oval shaped and decorated in carnival royalty colors of purple, green and gold for the three kings. So since I no longer live in New Orleans where King Cakes are readily available, I have had a continuous experiment trying to make ones of my own. Of course many bakeries in New Orleans will ship you a delicious King Cake and I highly recommend that too as my attempts have never quite measured up to the real deal.

HOWEVER, if you would like to try it on your own, here are the ones I've tried...

This was in 2007. My first attempt at baking my own King Ckaes. I used King Arthur Flour Cinnamon Roll Mix and used food colored to color the frosting. I used king cake babies that I had saved from other years.

Last year I didn't bake my own. I was in New Orleans for the new year and flew home with one suitcase full of King Cakes!

This year I did 2 kinds. The first is super easy and worked well for my daughter's Sunday School class. I didn't put in a baby as I worried that they might not know and choke. (not good) All Idid was bake the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls from the can. Before I baked them, I arranged them close together in an oval shape. When they were done I iced them with the icing they provide and then sprinlked on colored sugar. The sugars were actually leftovers I saved from an Easter cookie Wilton sugar cookie shaker type container like you find in the baking aisle. But, I'm pretty sure your can buy individual purple, green and yellow sugars.

The other one I tried this year is a cake for us at home. This time I used Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix. It is in a box near the bisquick and baking/panckae mixes. I follwed the dierctions for the Cinnamon Rolls on the side of the box. I used 2 boxes and it made one cake the size of a cookie sheet. I did hide a baby in this one and I used the same colored sugars as I used on the canned cinnamon roll one.

Here it is before baking....

And here it is fresh out of the oven...

So today we moved the 3 Kings into the nativity scene (yes, I keep my Christmas stuff up every year until at least Jan 6th) and tonight we will celebrate by having cake and my daughter will open a small gift left for her by the Three Kings. It is usally something small and wrapped in gold paper or white paper with gold ribbon. The past two years brought her a toy stethascope and a DVD. This year I think they are bringing her a small doll. We'll find out tonight!

Happy Three Kings Day!!!!