Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Mardi Gras!

What does the French Festival, Mardi Gras, mean in English?  It literally means "Fat Tuesday." Mardi Gras is an annual festival held in France - and many large U.S. cities too, most notably, New Orleans, Louisiana - on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. Mardi Gras signifies the last day to enjoy rich foods before the Lenten fast begins.

Last year I shared the Polish Paczki tradition of eating deep fried, jelly filled pastries   [doughnuts] on Fat Tuesday.  [You can read about it here.]   This year I decided to focus on the King Cake that New Orleans is so well-known for.   New Orleans bakeries bake between 750,000 to 850,000 King Cakes every year, and many make as much as 80% of their annual revenue during Mardi Gras.  That's A LOT of King Cakes!

The southern style King Cake is a yeast confection similar to a sweet bread or coffee cake, and is much different from France's galette des rois [also called a King Cake], which is made with puff pastry.  The southern cakes are decorated with colored sugars in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, for royalty and justice; green for faith; and gold for wealth and power.  They're very colorful and pretty.

I decided to try my hand at making a King Cake this year.   It's definitely not a cake that can be whipped up in a hurry.  I made the traditional cinnamon flavored King Cake, but they come in pecan praline, and assorted fruit flavors too.

Not bad for my first attempt, but there are things I would do differently if I ever make it again.

Since I won't be serving the cake to guests, I left out the traditional hidden treasure, which is a small plastic baby symbolizing the infant Christ child.  

It seemed fitting to pair a French Mariage Frères tea with this cake - Earl Grey Silver Tips.

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Today I'm linking to Antiques and Teacups for "Tuesday Cuppa Tea"
Bernideen's Tea Time blog for "Friends Sharing Tea"


  1. Your Mardi Gras table is very pretty and your King Cake looks delicious. We'll be having pancakes at church tonight so I've got my purple, gold, and green beads in my pocketbook, ready to don for the festivities. Let the good times roll!

  2. How brave you are! And the results are wonderful. Your tea pairing sounds perfect! Thanks for linkimg your masterpiece to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

  3. I would say from the looks of your cake it was very successful. How fun to make it. I have never had a King Cake and now thinking I should try my hand at it sometime.

  4. Your King cake is very colourful and dressed up with pretty Mardi Gras beads.

  5. Wow, Phyllis, your King Cake looks wonderful. I sure could use a slice right now and a cup of Earl Gray tea.

  6. Oh my, you made your own King Cake? WOW! It looks lovely, and knowing you, it surely tastes as good as it looks!!!

  7. Last year at the RV resort here my good friend from New Orleans had a King cake mailed to us. It was the first time I tasted one and it was good. Yours looks beautiful with all the beads!

  8. Your King's cake is stunning! I made one a couple of years ago, but it didn't look nearly as pretty as yours, Phyllis!


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