A tradition since the late 1800s, king cake is a sweetened bread, shaped into a ring and decorated in green, yellow and purple (the official colors of Mardi Gras). Hidden inside the seasonal cake is a coveted prize in the form of a small figure of a baby. Once made of gold, but more commonly plastic these days, the reveler who finds the trinket in the cake will enjoy good luck in the year ahead and will share their good fortune by providing a king cake at the next Mardi Gras party.
If you found the baby in the cake last year or you’re kicking off a new tradition, this recipe for an easy-to-make king cake will set the tone in sweet style at any Mardi Gras celebration. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Once cake has cooled completely, turn it over and press plastic or porcelain baby into the cake. Traditionally, the baby is baked into the cake, but with concerns over heating plastics and the possible choking hazard of a foreign object in food, placing the baby underneath the cake after baking has become a common solution.
Before the icing hardens, dust with alternating green, purple and gold sugars to complete the cake.
Let your guests know to keep an eye out for the baby in the cake. Whoever finds it is said to find good fortune in the days to come and is also expected to provide the king cake at the next party. Be sure to share this recipe with them!