Monday, January 2, 2012

king cake

Not yet ready to pull the plug on the holidays, then try baking a King Cake.

The practice of baking King Cakes during the holiday season is ancient. Romans baked a version for Saturnalia, held around the winter solstice. Later, the cake tradition was Christianized and baked for 12th night, the feast of the Epiphany when it is said the 3 kings visited the infant Jesus. In the US, the purple green and yellow sugared version is more often seen during Mardi Gras feasts.

The King Cake is a party cake and while each country in Europe has it's own variation and tradition on a familar theme, my favorite has a fruitcake or brioche base. As you bake each cake, a small porcelain toy (feve) is inserted in the dough. Whoever gets the slice of the cake with the toy is the King or Queen with all the rights, duties, obligations and appearances due a monarch.

If you're game try this recipe. I think you'll like it. Every bakery in Western Europe offers a commercial variety but the nanny state EU no longer allows commercial bakers to include the feve. Naturally, porcelain feves have become very collectible.



Kionon said...

We always played it with a baby Jesus baked in...

Clara Walmsley said...

Je t'aime les feves !

GP said...

Interesting piece.