Tomorrow (or today, depending on when you're reading this) is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. As you may know, I make king cakes every year for the kids to bring into their classrooms. Often I'll go too, bringing beads, masks, and music, and sharing some of the history and tradition of Mardi Gras. I find the holiday to be such a fine way to keep my kids aware of and tethered to their Louisiana roots, for Mardi Gras isn't religious (although it has some religious roots) and it epitomizes joie de vivre and celebration, two characteristics of Louisianians that I have always adored.
As the kids have grown, a single king cake has ceased being enough to feed their classmates. This year I doubled the recipes and made two much larger cakes and then a third one to split between us, Jack's math teacher (a Louisiana native), and a few other special teachers and friends. Doing so added a great deal to the cook time, but I'm pretty confident no one will go hungry tomorrow. That said, I expect not a crumb to return home. And that is how it should be.
For the first time, I've added a plastic baby to each cake, comfortable that all the kids are old enough now not to freak out if they cut or bite into a naked infant. Louisiana folks take such knowledge for granted, but I have long wondered if a child who's unfamiliar with the king cake tradition might be traumatized with such a surprise in his or her cake.
As I usually do, this year I used Southern Living's classic, unfilled king cake recipe. I also made their glaze but omitted the lemon juice as I find it terribly distracting and unwelcome on a cinnamon sugar treat.
So here you have it, six hours later, much in the way of celebratory cake. Laissez les bons temps rouler!!