A King Cake Party

A King Cake
A King Cake

With New Year’s festivities over, I felt ready to stash the holiday decorations. But not before Twelfth Night; invitations to my annual King Cake Party were out.

Legend says the Wise Men, in search of baby Jesus, arrived in Bethlehem on the twelfth day after Christmas. They came to present gold, silver and myrrh. I offered my chosen guests a dinner party.

We started with pomegranate martinis and then sat down to: Seafood Gumbo, Shrimp Creole over rice, asparagus spears and cornbread. For dessert I served King Cake along with flaming Café Brulot (see March 2008 blog entry for the coffee recipe.)

So what’s a King Cake? A circular shaped yeast bread similar to coffee cake, with a filling of brown sugar and nuts. The top is glazed with a confectioner’s sugar and water mixture, then decorated with three colors of sugar crystals: green for faith, gold for power and purple for justice, although I always was told it stood for royalty.

A plastic token representing the baby Jesus is hidden inside. The lucky person who gets the baby in his or her piece is declared King or Queen. They are to bring a King Cake to the next gathering. This year Ernie Veale won the honors.

For many, January 6th marks the beginning of Mardi Gras season- a few weeks to party and be a bit naughty before Lent. The holiday culminates in New Orleans on Fat Tuesday, February 24, this year. I plan to be there.

Here’s a photo of Gary Granfield and my husband, Jay, lighting the Grand Mariner and brandy mixture which they pour down the orange peel into the coffee. Pretty impressive, I’d say.