When it comes to king cakes in Charlotte, there seems to be two camps; those who love 'em, and those who have never heard of 'em. For those of you who fall into the former category - we share your affinity for the sweet wreaths and their tradition, and have them available for pre-order now; for those in the latter category - we'll explain, as they're typically associated with New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations.
The king cake gets its name from the Three Kings of the Christian tradition, and dates back to medieval France and Spain when oval-shaped cakes were shared to celebrate Twelfth Night - also called King's Day or Epiphany Eve - generally marking the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas and the beginning of Carnival season. Some time later, a bean was hidden in each cake, which was believed to bring luck and prosperity to the person who discovered it in their cake slice. The cake-sharing tradition was eventually brought by colonists to New Orleans, where it evolved and became synonymous with Mardi Gras.
Modern King Cakes are enjoyed at parties, at the office, at parades, and everywhere in between. They typically include a sweet filling and are topped with icing and finished with sugar in the traditional colors of Mardi Gras; purple (representing justice), green (representing faith), and gold (representing power). The bean has been replaced with a trinket - most commonly a plastic baby figurine symbolizing Baby Jesus - and the guest who finds it is crowned "king" - or "queen" - for the day, is believed to have good fortune for the year, and is tasked with buying next year's King Cake or hosting the next Mardi Gras party.
OUR KING CAKES
We make ours using our own scratch-made sweet dough, which is filled with your choice of cinnamon-sugar, cream cheese, or pecan praline. Then they're baked until golden brown, iced with vanilla glaze, and sprinkled with coarse sanding sugar. A plastic baby figurine is hidden inside each cake unless otherwise requested.