The King Cake is a traditional Mardi Gras/Epiphany dessert that takes it's name from the Magi, the three kings who visited the new born Christ in the manger. It started out as an Epiphany Feast bread, then, three centuries ago, became a bread with sugar on top and beans inside. Now it's a bread style cake flavored with cinnamon, stuffed with cream cheese, frosted and decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. It also always has a plastic baby figurine hidden inside.
King Cake, brought to New Orleans by French settlers, became a traditional food of Mardi Gras parties around the late 1800's. The baby tucked inside represents the baby Jesus* and the tradition in New Orleans is whoever gets the baby in their piece of cake hosts the Mardi Gras party next year. The colors of Mardi Gras and the King Cake represent the colors of the crowns of the Magi; purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.
Mardi Gras, French for Fat Tuesday, is also known as Shrove Tuesday, and is celebrated the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday by indulging in rich foods, drinks and enjoying parties. It's the last ditch binge before the repentance and austerity of the Lenten season.
For my Mardi Gras gift to you I'd like to help with that drink indulgence by sharing my cocktail recipe for ...
KING CAKE CREAM FLIP
1-1/2 Oz. Dark Spiced Rum
1 Oz. Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka
1 Whole Pasteurized Egg
2 Oz. Half & Half
3 Tsp. Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Cream Cheese
Purple, Green and Gold Sugars
SPECIAL TOOLS: Blender, Piping bag, dessert plates for sugar rim, Old Fashioned glass.
Pipe some cream cheese on the rim of your glass. Dip a third of the rim in each of the colored sugars. Chill your glass in the freezer.
Add the rum, vodka, egg, cinnamon, half and half and the brown sugar to a blender and blend on medium to emulsify the egg. This is an easy way to dry shake an egg cocktail.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, pour in the blended cocktail and shake until chilled. Pour this into your rimmed glass, sprinkle on a dusting of cinnamon and serve.
Garnish tip: You can add a tiny plastic baby to the rim if you like. I rarely garnish my cocktails with anything that's not edible, however the baby is a big part of the King Cake tradition. If you're good at sculpting fondant or chocolate you can sculpt a tiny little baby and add that to your rim. Sadly, though I am an artist, I am not a sculptor and I couldn't find a little edible baby anywhere BUT I did have the Cupie Doll baby my Dad brought home from WWII so I tucked that in with the beads and doubloons for the photo!
Happy Mardi Gras!
*A LITTLE LITURGICAL HISTORY OF THE ADVENT TO EASTER HOLIDAY SEASON
(Feel free to correct me where I'm wrong!)
In Western Christianity a dinner is eaten on the Eve of Epiphany (the night of January 5, also known as Twelfth Night or Three Kings Day). Known as the Epiphany Feast it often included the gifting and eating of sweetened breads. This bread evolved into the modern King Cakes of today.
In the Catholic Church the holiday season follows a path from the advent of Christ to his resurrection. Advent is the celebration of the coming of Christ and leads into Christmas. The Epiphany season celebrates the revelation of Jesus as the son of God, and starts on the evening of December 25th and goes through January 6th. Also known as The Twelfth Day of Christmas, Epiphany is the climax of the Advent/Christmas season, ending on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (Fat Tuesday!) and leads into Lent. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, is a six week period of atonement and self denial which leads to the Easter season. On the liturgical calender Lent ends the day before Good Friday, the day Christ died, and is the Friday before Easter Sunday, which is the celebration of the resurrection of the Christ. The dates can change somewhat with the year, the locale and the denomination of the church doctrine.