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King Cake cupcakes

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Eat. Run. Read.

(Read caption) King Cake cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese filling.

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In Rio they have Carnival, in the New Zealand it’s Shrove Tuesday, in the UK it’s Pancake Day, and in New Orleans it’s Mardi Gras. Here in Washington, D.C. it’s just the Tuesday after President’s Day … but hey, we’re only 1,084 miles from The Big Easy, so I’m going to listen to some jazz and blues, eat a gaudy green/purple/gold cupcake, and wish a Happy Mardi Gras to you all!

These cupcakes are inspired by the traditional Mardi Gras King Cake. The King Cake actually originates from the Epiphany celebration that traditionally falls on January 6 (12 days after Christmas) and recognizes the day that the kings (Magi) arrived in Bethlehem and Jesus was baptized. In the Southern United States, the King Cake is a part of the entire Carnival season of celebrations (a party a week – woohoo!), which last from Epiphany to Mardi Gras and the beginning of Lent.

King Cakes are usually circular twists of brioche-style bread decorated with traditional Mardi Gras colors. They're sometimes filled with cream cheese or fruit. They also tend to have a plastic baby, bean, orange peel, or nut hidden inside – whoever finds the hidden treat is the “king” of the party, or has to make the cake for the next party. (I didn't hide anything, but you definitely can!)

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