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King Cake for Mardi Gras

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The Pastry Chef's Baking

(Read caption) The colored sugar sprinkles topping King Cakes for Mardi Gras each have a meaning: purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.

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Happy Mardi Gras! During my recent culinary trip to New Orleans, my friend Jen who lives locally brought me, among other things, a slice of King Cake from Gambino's Bakery. There's nothing like tasting authentic king cake from a fabulous bakery during Mardi Gras season. 

And then I did something unusual. I bought a cake mix. Yes. Even though I usually bake all my desserts from scratch, a mix seemed like the easiest way to try and make a King Cake mix on my own at home.

There are plenty of recipes out there for making King Cake from scratch.  And someday I want to try this one from Emeril Lagasse. Even though I eschew cake mixes, I broke down and bought one for two reasons: (1) it was locally made and certified to have been made in Louisiana, (2) I didn't want to go out and buy purple, green, and yellow sugars separately. It's much easier to get them all in one package.

King Cake is essentially a brioche dough, with a ribbon of brown sugar cinnamon (or praline sugar) running through it, baked in an oval shape, glazed with royal icing, and sprinkled with Mardi Gras colors. Tradition decrees that a plastic baby (or sometimes a pecan) is hidden among the slices and whoever finds that plastic baby in their piece is responsible for hosting the next round of Mardi Gras parties. 

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