Manna from heaven, sweet nectar of the gods… king’s cakes.
My first interaction with this colorful dessert was at cafe Latte Da. The owner, Jess, is a pretty epic baker and is known for making custom baked goods. Jess was credited with bringing the unique dessert, king’s cakes, to the city of Baltimore.
The cake gets it’s name from the story of the magi that visited the baby Jesus. As such, this cake is often consumed around the Christian celebration of the day of Epiphany (about Christmas time). In many countries, these cakes would be consumed from the day of Epiphany up until Fat Tuesday. In the united states, king’s cakes are more prevalent the southeast. Americans tend to associate the king’s cakes with Mardi Gras.
Historically, these cakes would have a small bean and/or pea hidden inside them. Whoever finds the bean becomes the king of the feast for the day. The king was allowed certain privileges and responsibilities, which included holding the next Mardi Gras feast and providing the next king cake. Today you’d be more likely to find a small trinket, often a small plastic baby to represent the baby Jesus.