King Cakes

In our first “Beyond the cookbook” article, where we explore other aspects of cooking besides recipes, takes a look at King Cakes.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t know much about king cakes until I came upon the blog of New Orleans baker Christine Nielsen, a personal friend of mine.

Before jumping right into what a king cake is, I wanted to give a little background on New Orleans resident and baker Christine Nielsen. Christine, like me, is originally from Delaware. After getting her BA and MS in anthropology (don’t google it, there is no connection between that and baking), she spent the summer in Canada doing a baking apprenticeship (no, I didn’t know that people still did apprenticeships either). Side note: The last time I’ve even heard the word ‘apprentice’ used in the last 5 years was that movie, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”. I’m taking a wild guess and assuming that her apprenticeship isn’t at all related, so we’ll move on. Christine has always had a passion for cooking, and it is great to see her further develop that passion through baking.

The king cake is a cake that is traditionally featured around Madi Gras in New Orleans (and other parts of the world). The tradition of king cakes originated from biblical times. They are eaten starting from the end of the 12th day of Christmas up until Mardi Gras. In the cake a small trinket is hidden. The person who gets the piece with the trinket is in charge of throwing the next party. This tradition carries on until Mardi Gras. As seen on Christine’s site, king cakes come in many different flavors and varieties. For more information on king cakes and Christine, please visit her blog at:

Instructions on how to place an order can be found on the site. It might just be worth the flight to New Orleans to try one.