Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Twelfth Night Sugar Rush

In Louisiana, the Mardi Gras season begins on January 6--Twelfth Night. Mardi Gras brings to my mind images of cheap beads I have to keep my children from stuffing up their noses, sparkly masks, parades, floats, marching bands, and plastic doubloons.

My family doesn't participate in most of the festivities because of unwholesome images of drunkenness and debauchery found at many of the events, but we always make sure to enjoy one part of the season.

The King Cake.

Just looking at this confection will give you a sugar rush.

Imagine a decadent sweetbread coffee cake formed in a circle. Then, fill this cake with thick, oozing layers of your favorite fillings. (Strawberry and cream cheese make me drool.) Finally, top the cake off with more sweet, white icing and a thick layer of poured green, gold, and purple sugar.

At three, Wyatt has no memory of king cakes. But he knew the box daddy deposited on the kitchen counter contained a cake. And he automatically declared it "my favorite" as he suddenly became the "I'm-so-hungry" boy who wasn't remotely interested in food minutes before.

But his daddy and I told him that this wasn't just any cake. This cake is special. It has meaning.

To us, the king cake is a reminder of the Wise Men who came and brought gifts to baby Jesus. The circular shape of the cake represents the circular route the Magi took to keep King Herod from fulfilling his plan to kill the Christ child.

And hiding inside each cake? One small, plastic doll representing baby Jesus whom Mary and Joseph hid from King Herod.

Wyatt's first piece of cake yesterday had "no baby." But through some good ole mommy magic, his piece today didn't have that problem.

I watched as he put a too-large bite in his mouth, knowing what lay inside the sugary morsel. As he started to chew, he suddenly stopped and sat there, not knowing what to do.

Oh the look of joy on his face as he pulled out the gold-colored baby.
Watching the amazement of one small child over a plastic baby Jesus makes me wonder how amazed were the wise men as they saw the real baby Jesus (or toddler Jesus, as the scholars say). I get goosebumps imagining their faces bowing in awe before God's son and presenting him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


  1. I never heard of this kind of cake before. No picture to post? I simply must see this thing. How awesome that there are hidden 'treasures' inside. How fun for the kids, and a great Jesus lesson to go along with it!

  2. I like your representation of the King Cake far better than the supposed reasons that most celebrate Mardi Gras.

    Back in my bread-machine making days, I made dough, rolled it out and transformed it into homemade King Cakes. Lots of fun. Lots of sugar.

    Then . . . the hypoglycemia diagnosis.


    I still have King Cake on occasion. In small doses. But it's hard to resist.

    Hmmm... was this your choice of birthday cake? Courtney's birthday is the 23rd and she often asks for a King Cake.

    Happy Birthday! Hope your day is blessed!

  3. Deb. No pic of the cake b/c we already demolished it. Yummy...

    Go to:

    Gambinos has, by far, the best when they're on top of their game. By the end of the season, they sell 300-400 a day of these cakes. That tells you their popularity. We love the strawberry and cream cheese. My brother is a pralines and cream cheese fan. And my parents love the zulu cake--it's kinda chocolate and coconut (if I'm remembering right)

  4. Jennifer, What a splendid idea.

    My favorite part: The idea that the one who makes the discovery wears a bit of the joy on his face, as did the wise men.

  5. Two thoughts:

    Yum (no really....Y U M!!)



    What a way to teach your sweet one about Christ's story!! Great idea!