Suarez Bakery has the lock-down on King Cake in Charlotte. You either wait all year for your slice of the colorful confection, or you’re completely lost right now. For those of you in the former category, Suarez says they share that traditional affinity for the sweet treat, and for those in the latter category, the cake masters at one of Charlotte’s best bakeries were kind enough to break down the cake’s history.
The cake, associated today with New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations, actually dates all the way back to medieval France and Spain. Then, oval-shaped cakes were shared to celebrate Twelfth Night, also known as King’s Day or Epiphany Eve. It was a celebration to mark the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas and the beginning of Carnival season.
Some time later, the cake baking tradition evolved into a practice where a bean was hidden in each cake to symbolize luck and prosperity for the person who discovered it in their cake slice. The cake-sharing tradition was eventually brought by colonists to New Orleans, where it became synonymous with Mardi Gras.
Now, King Cake, with its sweet filling, is topped with icing and finished with sugar in the traditional colors of Mardi Gras: Purple to represent justice, green to represent faith, and gold to represent power. The bean is now usually a trinket instead – most commonly a plastic baby figurine to represent Baby Jesus. The guest who finds it is crowned “king” or “queen” for the day, and believed to have good fortune for the year. The finder of the trinket is also responsible for buying next year’s King Cake.
As one of the few who does a classic King Cake for the Charlotte market, Suarez whips theirs up with a made-from-scratch sweet dough, filled with your choice of cinnamon-sugar, cream cheese, or pecan praline. The cake is then baked until golden brown, iced with vanilla glaze, and sprinkled with coarse sanding sugar. Suarez puts the plastic baby figurine inside each cake unless otherwise requested. So, if you have yet to embrace this fun spring tradition, we highly recommend starting with a big, beautiful King Cake order from Suarez.
Get yours for a family party, the office, or as a fun seasonal gift now at suarezbakery.com.