Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Today is the feast of the Epiphany. The story goes that three wise men visited baby Jesus in Bethlehem on the 12th day following his birth. That day is labeled as "the Epiphany" and it's celebrated on January 6th. More about the religious beliefs behind Epiphany here. In the Southern US, Epiphany ties into the celebration of Mardi Gras Season, which starts with the epiphany and ends with Mardi Gras Day, which is 46 days before Easter. Mardi Gras translates to "fat tuesday" and occurs the day before lent begins with Ash Wednesday. I've heard Mardi Gras/Carnival Season described as a time to get all the revelry and partying out of your system before Lent comes around and requires you to "be good". My favorite part of all this Epiphany/Mardi Gras business is.........KING CAKE!!!! You get different explanations depending on where you go, but a basic explanation is that the king cake is in celebration of the three wise men. In Mardi Gras celebrations, whoever gets the bean or plastic baby hidden in the cake is named the king or queen of the ball......the queen throws the ball the next week, the king provides the king cake. In religious terms, the colors of the Epiphany are white and gold, but in Mardi Gras tradition, the cakes are covered with purple (for justice), green (for faith) and gold (for power) sugar.

Traditional king cakes are different in different countries, but all of them are fairly different from what I've always seen as King Cake around this area. What I'm used to resembles a giant cinnamon roll loaf shaped into a circle. I like to make the recipe I found on All Recipes (note, the recipe makes two cakes, half it if you only want one!). The dough for my king cake is rising as we speak...Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

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