So, what is a King Cake?

Feb 13, 2024, 11:10 AM | Updated: 11:23 am

So, what is a King Cake?...

A traditional New Orleans "King Cake." (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

So, what is a King Cake?

The origin of the name “king cake” can be traced back to the Biblical tale of the three kings who presented gifts to Baby Jesus. Combining the flavors of coffee cake and cinnamon roll, king cake is typically adorned with a yellow, green, and purple icing – the vibrant colors associated with Mardi Gras. It is often filled with luscious fruit fillings and indulgent cream cheeses. Within these delectable treats, a delightful surprise awaits: a plastic baby figurine, adding to the enjoyment. Traditionally, king cake is made from brioche dough, infused with cinnamon, and topped with a frosted glaze, as well as gold, green, and purple sugars. These colors collectively represent the official hues of Mardi Gras and hold significant meanings. Gold symbolizes power, green represents faith, and purple signifies justice. Ultimately, the king cake serves as a symbol of unity among different faiths.


Hidden in its interior, or under a slice, is a small plastic baby. Whoever finds it must either bring the next cake or throw a party, thus sparking an unending round of food and fun. Whether at the workplace, school or home – king cake is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the Mardi Gras season.


King cake is indeed a heavenly treat for is eaten during Carnival season (from Jan. 6 through Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins.


There are several bakeries, sweet shops and restaurants in the Denver area where you can get one. See our article on “Who makes the best King Cake in Denver.”



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So, what is a King Cake?