King Cake – The Mardi Gras Classic

King Cakes – The Mardi Gras Classic

While traditional celebrations during the time before Lent can be traced back to this region’s earliest French influences, the Mardi Gras – or Fat Tuesday – traditions of the Mississippi Gulf Coast have developed into their own unique brand of revelry. From the carnival “krewes” and floats in more than 20 parades that roll along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to the myriad of Mardi Gras balls and costumes, small towns and coastal communities are festooned in royal purple, green and gold decorations. These colors are said to represent justice, faith, and power in association with the Christian heritage of the festival.

Nowhere are those colors more appetizingly on display than the festive king cakes that can be found in bakeries all across the Magnolia State. Most frequently, king cakes are oval-shaped pastries that are topped with icing or sugar in traditional Mardi Gras colors. Variations include the addition of fruit or cream cheese fillings.

Photo Credit: Paul’s Pastry Shop

Historically a tiny prize, such as a bean, pecan, or a coin, would be added into the cake to be found by one lucky person. Today, however, the most common hidden treasure is a small plastic baby. By tradition, the person who gets the piece of cake with the baby in it is bound to provide the next year’s cake.

While these seasonal cakes might be found in tiny shops or grocery stores anywhere in the Hospitality State, here are a few of the best-known stops for king cakes in Mississippi: