Mardi Gras King Cake Article -
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Mardi Gras King Cake

Round out your Mardi Gras celebration with a colorful ring-shaped pastry with a surprise inside!

Drizzled with icing, sprinkled with green, gold, and purple sugars, this stunning cake also features a secret surprise--a little plastic toy baby baked into the pastry! Pick the piece with the toy baby inside, and you're crowned king or queen of the party! 

Fit for a King

Types of king cakes vary from baker to baker, and can be coffee cake-style pastries or sweet bread-like desserts.

To hide the toy baby into the cake, insert it into a slice while the cake is still slightly warm from baking. The icing and sugar decoration should cover your tracks. If you're worried about a choking hazard, substitute an orange wedge or pecan halves for the toy.

A French Fable

The king cake tradition began in France in the 19th century, and honors the Christian story of the three kings traveling with gifts for the Christ child. The cake's three colors represent justice (purple), faith (green), and power (gold). The cake's ring shape, too, is significant, symbolizing the unity of all Christians as well as the shape of a king's crown.

Before plastic toy babies, bakers added dried peas, coins, pecans, or beans in the cake to bestow wealth, luck, and to pick the Mardi Gras king and queen. Today people of all faiths enjoy king cakes between Twelfth Night (Epiphany) and Mardi Gras.

    Dec. 3, 2009 11:17 am
    : ) Yum
    Jan. 11, 2010 10:26 pm
    I'm from New Orleans and now live out of state. I ordered some online last year. Just google Mardi Gras supplies or king cake baby and you can find them. They will come in a bag of about 50 for about $2 if I remember right, and you can buy the traditional flesh colored baby or they come in Mardi Gras colors too. I inserted mine from the bottom after I baked it.
    Jan. 13, 2010 10:26 am
    Feb. 3, 2010 7:24 pm
    I am making this for Super Bowl 2009 in honor of the great city of New Orleans>> !!GEAUX SAINTS!! I hope one day to visit N.O.
    Feb. 8, 2010 9:54 pm
    i used a gummy bear!
    Feb. 16, 2010 9:51 am
    I am making one tonight! I hope it turns out(fingers crossed.
    Feb. 18, 2010 12:40 pm
    The Gummy bear idea sounds like the best on yet!
    Feb. 24, 2010 7:40 am
    I ditto the gummy bear idea !
    Feb. 15, 2011 9:03 am
    A king cake was a once a week office treat when we lived near New Orleans. Whoever got the "baby" had to bring the cake the next week!
    Feb. 18, 2011 9:38 am
    The baby Jesus, or baby (that you can buy at a party store) should be inserted after the cake is baked. I learned from experience, because the first time I made it I put the baby in the cake and it melted, which of course than I could not find what part he was inserted. So I had to throw out the whole cake. Now after it is baked and cooled to a medium insert it from the bottom and then Ice the cake.
    Mar. 6, 2011 12:18 pm
    We make this type of cake on January 6th for Three Kings Day. It is a religious tradition.
    May 31, 2011 3:34 pm
    I have been baking king cakes for over 30 years inserting plastic babies BEFORE I baked the cake and I have never had a baby melt on me. By baking it in it is well concealed ands even I don't know where the baby is hidden
    Jun. 10, 2011 7:56 am
    If you are worried about the baby melting use a tiny glass or porcelain baby you can get those at any doll hobby store.
    Sep. 15, 2011 7:53 am
    Plastic is made of toxins. I would never bake it into anything, its just not healthy weather it melts or not. Heating plastic releases its toxins into the cake. If you must have a plastic baby its better to insert it afterwards as some people have done, or baking the gummy bears in is best.
    Feb. 17, 2012 3:04 pm
    The Gummy Bear idea is really cute, but wouldn't gummies melt in the oven?? Slim1, as far as plastic containing toxins, yes, that's true. But come on! That plastic baby is SO small, I don't think there's anything to be worried about. I'm much more concerned about the sodium (and other nutritional content)of my food than I am of the toxicity of plastics. That doesn't bother me in the least! Goodness! If I worried about every little thing "they" tell us to worry about, I wouldn't have much of a life! Bit o' trivia. Whenever we think of Mardi Gras, we think of New Orleans. But, although New Orleans' Mardi Gras is much better known, it was being celebrated in Mobile, Alabama for 15 years before the City of New Orleans was even founded! Who knew? :)
    Feb. 21, 2012 2:52 pm
    Not to mention, gummy bears have just as many toxins as plastic. So does aluminum, (what most cake pans are made of), and if you are going health conscious, then cake is out all together. If you want to stay with tradition, it probably doesn't matter when the baby gets inside the cake, as long as it isn't disclosed to the participants. Have fun, have cake, or don't. Whatever you do, don't eat the plastic baby!!
    Mar. 4, 2014 1:31 pm
    It's definitely better to put the baby in the cake afterwards. I agree with Slim1 - you don't want to cook any plastics. Plastic toxins do not do the same kind of damage to our bodies that salty or fatty foods do. And, plastic is made with synthetic chemicals that leach into foods when they are heated. And when eaten, our bodies don't properly process them and they cause damage. They are hazardous to our health, not just unhealthy. Honestly, it's a really simple step- just put the baby in after it bakes. I can assure you the cake will be just as good, and it literally takes no extra time or effort. Then you can spend more time "having a life" while also listening to the good advice "they" are telling you. And an added bonus, you never will have to worry about it melting in the oven. Even if it was totally healthy, who wants their cake to taste like plastic?
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