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The Story of Mardi Gras (and the Baby in the King Cake)

Holly Clegg


Feb 26th, 2014

Mardi Gras

What is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras has become a popular celebration from New Orleans to New York, so get into the Mardi Gras spirit wherever you live.  If you don’t know the history of this fun celebration, it began as part of the New Orleans’s Christian faith, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child celebrated twelve days after Christmas; which is known as Kings Day, 12th Night and the ‘Feast of the Epiphany’ and ends on Mardi Gras Day.  Mardi Gras Day, also known as Fat Tuesday, is always 47 days prior to Easter Sunday (day before Ash Wednesday).  Still a popular custom today, is a special cake in honor of the three kings, called “King’s Cake.” Traditionally, hidden inside each cake is a small plastic baby, and whoever finds the baby in their slice brings the next King cake. No matter where you live, you can still enjoy a traditional king cake, my personal favorite tradition of Mardi Gras, with my simple recipe made with crescent rolls.  This is my most requested recipe and kid-friendly!  The icing represents the classic colors of the season – purple (justice), green (faith), and yellow (power). Remember the color chart as equal parts of red and blue food coloring make purple.   Make a king cake and get into the festive spirit with these easy tips:

  • Accent your décor (candles, flowers, balls, beads) with the Mardi Gras colors, green, purple and gold.
  • Play jazz as background music.
  • Make Holly Clegg’s Easy King Cake recipe
  • Use an assortment of green, purple, and gold paper napkins to enhance your theme and for easy clean up.
  • Pair your themed  Mardi Gras party with other traditional New Orleans style dishes such as Jambalaya, Muffalettas sandwiches, or gumbo

Easy King Cake:

Makes 16 servings

2 (8-ounce) cans reduced-fat crescent rolls
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven 350°F. Coat 10-inch round pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Separate crescent rolls at perforations, into 16 slices. Place slices around prepared pan with points in center. About halfway down from points, press seams together.
3. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Spread on dough in center where seams have been pressed together.
4. In another small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon with fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over cream cheese. Fold dough points over filling, then fold bottom of triangle over points forming a circular roll like a king cake.
5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly, drizzle with colored Mardi Gras Icing.

Mardi Gras Icing:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1-2 tablespoons skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Yellow, green, red, and blue food coloring

1. In small bowl, combine all ingredients, except food color. Divide mixture into three bowls.
2. In first bowl, add a few drops of yellow food coloring. In second bowl, add a few drops of green food coloring. In third bowl, add equal amounts of drops of red and blue food coloring (to create purple).
3. Drizzle over baked cake.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 184 Calories from fat 36% Fat 7 g Saturated Fat 3 g Cholesterol 9 mg Sodium 275 mg Carbohydrate 26 g Dietary Fiber 0 g Sugars 16 g Protein 3 g Diabetic Exchanges 11/2 carbohydrate 11/2 fat

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4 Responses to The Story of Mardi Gras (and the Baby in the King Cake)

  1. Wayne Albrittom 28/02/2014 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks – heard I before, but forgot where I put it. I want to send to friend in Pennsylvania.

  2. Chuck M. 04/03/2014 at 10:52 am

    Thanks for the recipe and story, but I am mighty disappointed that Albertson’s practices religious discrimination. Today is Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras and I didn’t find one Paczki or King Cake in either of my local Albertson’s stores in a city that is more than 24% Catholic. Yet there was any kind of pastry you wanted decorated for the devil worshipers and athiests in town on Halloween !

    • Customer Care Customer Care 05/03/2014 at 8:00 am

      Hello, Chuck. I’m sorry to hear that you feel this way, and that your local store did not have any of the Paczkis or King Cake available. I’d be happy to put in a request for these items with your local store. Which location do you shop at? Please be assured that your feedback will be seen by our teams, and will be taken into consideration. Have a good day, and thanks for posting. ~Cindy

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