It’s Mardi Gras season, Cher. Get your beads on because it’s time for bacchanalia, red solo cups full of hurricanes, and a big fat King Cake. Let’s NOT forget the King Cake.
I consider myself somewhat of an expert in King Cake. Having two graduate degrees from LSU in Baton Rouge and by my own estimates of having eating well-more than 100 King Cakes just while studying, I have been schooled on the finer points of the flaky purple, green and yellow sugar festival on a plate.
So when I see this recipe floating around online a dozen times and having it pinned to my wall by a friend, I decided enough was enough. Let’s try this thing.
So I did. Here’s what mine looked like:
I thought the fleur de lis was a nice touch (it’s our “thing”).
While I took liberties with the decoration on top, I also modified the recipe ever so slightly by adding nuts and more cinnamon — both common in traditional King Cakes. I had high hopes for magical results that the mere taste would transport me back to a ladder-lined Canal Street. I even took photos of the whole process in case it was mind-blowing.
So how was it?
Well, it was a very nice baked cream cheese bar.
I can tell you without reservation (confirmed by New Orleans native Cristina who is the guilty pinner of the pic to my Facebook wall) that aside from the yellow, green, and purple sanding sugar on top and the fact that they both have cream cheese as an ingredient, there is no– I repeat, no — similarity to a King Cake for Mardi Gras. The author of that recipe is clearly from Utah or middle Earth and has never eaten a King Cake in their lifetime.
I am so sorry to disappoint all of you mad pinners out there. This recipe is not even remotely close. You know that THEY say…Do not believe everything you read on the internet. In fact, if you make these “King Cake Bars for Mardi Gras” for someone from Louisiana and tell them it’s King Cake in their honor, you just might piss them off. King Cake in Louisiana is a delicacy, a sacred dessert. Even the imitation King Cakes from the grocery stores around here are lame substitutes for the real thing. Most Louisiana transplants snub their noses at those knock-offs even when desperate — because even a bad King Cake in Louisiana is head and shoulders above an imitation King Cake in Texas. You’d be better off throwing colored sugar on a cinnamon roll and saying, “Happy Mardi Gras” if you want to score points with the Cajun crowd.
Now that I’ve shattered your hopes for an easy at-home King Cake, I’ll leave you with some good news. Make the same recipe and sprinkle red and pink sanding sugar on top and call them Valentine’s Day bars.
Voila. Let the pinning commence.