28 January 2011

it's carnival time

I'm hoping to master the king cake this year. Evidently, my baking confidence has grown a bit since last year when I hesitated to tackle such a task. 

Last year, I fudged. 

I brought it to work where no one was the wiser, not even the Northerner who lived in Louisiana a couple of years. Many looked upon it with disdain (it is not exactly eye candy to the unanointed) and didn't have an inkling of its significance. Attempts to explain were thwarted by people eager to tell me a Mardi Gras story -- usually that of a friend, by people who had no interest in the culture I expounded as the hedonist thoughts often associated with this party filled their groins brains.

I have discovered that this is true for most things associated with Mardi Gras: people tend wrap it up in a boobs, booze & beads package that is far from the reality that I know and love.  I've stop explaining and have resorted to the smile and nod when they get started on the subject, and then I tell them I hope to take Young One to Mardi Gras in the next couple of years. Ha!  Whatever, people. It's annoying, but I accept defeat.

King Cake 2
King Cake #1 :: January 7,  2011

But I'm not yet defeated by the baking. This first attempt was fair, but not fantastic.  I used a recipe posted by The Times-Picayune food editor on January 6, one that I later found across the Internet as well. The conundrum is, of course, determining if it's an issue of the recipe, the oven, or the baker. Baby steps . . . or as a friend says, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." 

One cake at a time.
I'll try again this weekend.
Either that are some crostoli, another kind of carnival treat.

My Little Masked Reveler

In searching for my next recipe to attempt, I discovered that this bakery in NOLA is creating a king cake with. . . are you ready? . . . you won't believe it . . . it's simply fantastic . . . CHEVRE!!!  I think we'll be making a stop there on our annual summer pilgrimage. We won't find king cake at that time, but I have a feeling we'll find other goodness.

Are you a master baker with a no-fail king cake recipe to share?
Please do.


  1. Looks good! I love king cake, but I'm always scared of accidentally swallowing the plastic baby lodged into the cake. I know it's supposed to be good luck to be the one to pick it out of the cake, but not me :)

  2. Wait, but now I want to hear about the Mardi Gras you know and love! I think a follow-up post is in order!

  3. Maybe I'll try making one this year!

  4. Beautiful cake! I love the colors of Mardi Gras. Michael and I hope to make it out there once we get settled.

  5. The recipe is strange. . .but it seems to work. I think that the PW cinnamon roll recipe might work too. King Cake is just cinnamon roll, really.
    Emily -- I'll try to before the season is over.
    John -- In LA, if you get the baby, it means you have to buy the next cake! Maybe it brings good luck, too. Hey, why not?

  6. The cake looks lovely, I just wish Carnevale was held at a warmer time of the year.

  7. Dana, I am finally catching up on blog reading and of course this post got to me. I am right there with you in regards to others' assumptions about Mardi Gras and I also hope to take my kids in the next few years.

    And in regards to your baking: "Mais chere, dat's a good-lookin' cake"! I never really loved king cake but it is one of those strange cravings I always get at this time of year.I have never attempted to make my own...Good for you! (and your lucky daughter and husband :)