I am thinking about finding or making a king cake to bring to school on Wednesday. It is Epiphany. I remember well my different encounters with King Cake. I am from Lafayette, Louisiana, so I have had all sorts of New Orleans style king cakes. Being a gourmand, I have to admit that my favorite kind has always been one with as much cream cheese, fruit filling and icing as possible.
When I was living in France, I got turned on to the galette des rois, which is a puff pastry confection with frangipane inside. Frangipane is a type of almond paste – coarser and more natural than marzipan. I think it is also put in almond croissants.
When I came to Georgia, I had a great time sharing the king cake tradition with my students and friends. I even would go all the way to New Orleans for Mardi Gras “just” to bring back kings cakes for my high school French students. I know, the sacrifices we teachers have to make… The most notable year was when I transported the aforementioned loaded cakes home and forgot to keep them horizontal. Can I just say that we had a major collapse on our hands?
I used to have dinner parties in January, and I was so excited to find a bakery in Atlanta that made the frangipane filled cakes. They were more expensive, so I was loathe to get those for my 6th graders that I taught at the time. But I did buy a couple for one of my dinner parties. My French friend clucked disapprovingly at my addition of a raspberry coulis, but I thought it went very well with the cake.
I only recently became familiar with the Mexican version of the king cake, called a rosca de reyes. It is a relatively plain concoction – a yeast bread with fruit and maybe some nuts that is garnished with candied fruit. I just happened to be driving home one January 6th when I passed a panaderia in Marietta. They were making hundreds of roscas, and they were selling like, um, well – hotcakes.
I purchased a couple – one to share with my colleagues at school and a smaller one for my students. I think they were pretty expensive: $20 for the small one and $30 for the larger one. Before I went home that night, for some reason I stopped by my favorite taqueria to have a couple of tacos de lengua. I happened to mention to the proprietor that I had snagged these cakes on the other side of town, and she ended up buying one from me.
I was looking for recipes online and found this little group forum invitation. You may go to the website, but here is the deal:
- Bake or buy a King Cake, take pictures (if possible) and blog about the cake and your family tradition and don’t forget to mention who was the “crowned” king
- Please link back to this announcement in your post, and eventually to the roundup.
- Fill in the form below and your post will be listed in the roundup.
- Last day of submission is January 8
If you click on the link to the right and look at last year’s contributors, you will see that there are all sorts of cake traditions for Epiphany. I just read that even panettone – that Italian fruitcake that is on sale now everywhere – has been used for king’s cake as well.
Maybe I’ll make my old cheap stand-by. One year, I purchased cans and cans of pop and serve cinnamon rolls. It was easy: I just opened up the cans, separated the rolls, and arranged them in circles or ovals – just like a real king’s cake. I made some extra icing and either colored the icing green, purple, and yellow (Mardi Gras colors) or used sprinkles in those colors on white icing. It was pretty good, too. I just waited to hide the token or baby until after the cakes were done.