King Cake for Mardi GrasAs you guys are aware, I’m kind of a fan of all things Cajun. Even though I’ve never stepped foot in Cajun/Creole territory in my life – I can’t help but connect to the people, and their quirky ways. From the characters in stories that I’ve read, to the television shows I watch, to some of my favorite foods – I just can’t get enough. My mother in law lived just outside of Alexandria for a few years, and while it wasn’t technically Cajun country, she still found many of the traditions there. One of them was King Cake. She came to visit us around Mardi Gras time a couple of years ago, and brought a King Cake through airport security with her. This woman deserves a medal, no?

When we cut into it to enjoy a piece, I discovered it was very similar to a cinnamon roll. Yeasty bread, that’s been rolled with sweet filling composed of cinnamon-sugar and cream cheese. Then of course there’s the plastic baby that’s tucked inside. If you’re lucky enough to find it, that means you’re cooking the next King Cake! So, I’ve been baking one ever since. Jon actually found the baby in this cake that I baked for photos, but I’m not holding my breath for him to put on his baking mitts and apron. I found my tiny plastic babies in the cake decorating/baby shower aisle at Walmart, but really any trinket will work.

Then the cake is topped with a glaze and a festive, colorful dusting of sugar in the colors of Mardi Gras. I just went ahead and made my own too. At $4 a jar for fancy decorating sugar, granulated sugar + food coloring was sounding pretty good to me! Andrew loves to help me decorate with the sugar, and I love any opportunity that he can help me in the kitchen! This one will definitely be a tradition in our house for as long as my hands can roll up some dough. We love it, and it’s so special  to be able to bring a tradition from the bayous of Louisiana here to the marshes of coastal Maryland. Laissez les bon temps rouler!