King Cake History

A dizzying array of delectable King Cakes are available during Carnival Season, which officially begins on January 6th. King Cakes are eaten in honor of “Twelfth Night” or “Epiphany”, marking the arrival of the three wise men/kings in Bethlehem who delivered gifts to the baby Jesus.

The sweet circular King Cake tastes like a decadent breakfast Danish, a brioche bread swirled with cinnamon. Originating in Old World Europe, chiefly in France and Spain, King Cakes became associated with Epiphany in the Middle Ages and arrived in New Orleans from France. The tradition continues to evolve with countless creative interpretations of the tri- colored treat. The royal purple, green and gold Carnival colors symbolize “justice” (Purple), “faith” (Green) and “power” (Gold) and originated in New Orleans with the first parade of the Rex Organization in 1872.

A beloved King Cake tradition is finding the hidden trinket inside of each cake. Historically a bean, coin or nut, the modern trinket is a plastic baby figurine symbolic of the baby Jesus. Thought to bring good luck, “finding the baby” bestows a duo of duties upon the recipient - namely to purchase the next king cake and to host the next Carnival party.