You may wonder why anyone would buy sweet yeast bread with a pink plastic baby in it, but to some, the Carnival season just isn't right without a King Cake, a cinnamon roll with green, purple and gold icing -- the colors of Carnival.
This "cake" evolved from the cakes made throughout Christendom to celebrate Epiphany, Jan. 6 -- the Twelfth Night. Some area Latino bakeries offer Epiphany cakes, Rosca De Reyes, in early January. But New Orleans developed a distinctly flamboyant King Cake which is eaten during Carnival -- the time beginning Jan. 6 and culminating with Mardi Gras. Tradition says, if you get the slice with the baby Jesus, you must buy the cake, or host the party, next year.
Suarez Bakery, 4245 Park Road in the Park Road Shopping Center, has been making King Cakes for 15 years. They only sold a few in 1995; however, last year they made 500 cakes. A 1-pound cake is $10.50; 2 pounds is $15.50; and 3 pounds is $19.50. Fillings are extra. You can order ahead (24 hour) or closer to Mardi Gras, Feb. 16; they will have some in their case.
Some Fresh Markets also carry King Cakes, but each store varies. Check with the one nearest you.
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