There are many reasons to be enticed by Mardi Gras, and high on the list would definitely be the food. From po' boys to beignets, one certainly has great options in Louisiana. But want to know what really reigns supreme this time of year along the Gulf Coast? It's none other than the decadently sweet and ultra-colorful king cake.
King cakes are decorated in the official colors of Mardi Gras (purple, green and gold). Purple represents justice, gold stands for power and green signifies faith. The cakes are traditionally made in an oblong and braided Danish pastry, covered with simple icing and topped with colored sugar. Some of them are filled with cream or fruit, and others are even double filled. It's simple cake -- but with an addictive flavor.
Some would argue that the best part of the cake is the bean or small plastic baby hidden inside. Whoever gets the slice of cake with that piece is named king or queen for the day, and gets to enjoy the perks of being royalty. That person is also required to host the next years Mardi Gras festivities -- or at the very least, supply the king cake. This cake is highly valued by residents in that part of the country, and bakeries become slammed beginning in January up until Mardi Gras, making just this treat. Some bakeries are specialized in king cake and produce nothing else. And with such a much demand, other bakeries now offer this cake for multiple occasions, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving.
If you want a taste of king cake to celebrate Mardi Gras this year -- regardless of your location -- click through the gallery below for a list of the best bakeries that deliver nation-wide.
Have you ever tried a traditional king cake? Leave a comment below.