When I was a little kid, there was only one type of King Cake, and you could only buy it during the Mardi Gras Season – that is, between January 6 (Kings Day/Epiphany) and Mardi Gras Day (Shrove Tuesday).

Traditional King Cake was a cross between a bread and a cake, sprinkled with purple, gold, and green sugar. Now the traditional King Cake has been placed on the endangered species list. Fruit-filled, cheese-filled, iced, and cinnamon King Cakes can be found everywhere and not just during Mardi Gras.

What happened to tradition?

If you, like me, pine away for the days of yore when McKenzie’s King Cakes were the only choice, have no fear. Marguerite’s Bakery  is here. Marguerite makes traditional King Cakes, and you can order them online, but you have to specify that you want the traditional McKenzie’s style King Cake – no cinnamon, no icing, no filling. Just cake and sugar, thank you.

OR…

You can make your own, which is what I do when I’m not in Slidell, Louisiana to make the trek to Marguerite’s.

Yield: 6-8 slices (Double the recipe for a bigger cake.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 T dry yeast
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/3 c melted butter
  • 1/3 c warm milk
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 beaten egg (to brush on later)

Combine the dry ingredients: flour, yeast, sugar, salt.

Add melted butter (1/3 cup or 3 oz), warm milk,

and 2 beaten eggs.

Knead until smooth. Cover and let rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, butter a baking pan or cookie sheet.

Here’s what it looks like after it rises.

Punch down the dough and divide into 3 balls if you want a braided cake. If not, skip this step.

Roll the 3 balls into cylinders, about 18″ long.

Braid, shape into a circle, and place on the buttered baking sheet.

Cover and let rise for another hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the loaf with a beaten egg.

Sprinkle with sugar of traditional Mardi Gras colors:

purple for justice
gold for power
green for faith.

Color your own with food coloring if you can’t find these colors.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.

Hide a plastic or porcelain baby in the cake somewhere. (Lift the cake and smush it into the underside.) In the olden days, they hid an unshelled pecan, so if you find yourself without a tiny toy baby, use a pecan.

Enjoy the tradition!

Whoever bites into the baby is the king (or queen) of the party!

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