King Cake is a Mardi Gras Tradition

king cake

Like so many of our favorite culinary treats, King Cakes hail from New Orleans. The tradition came with French immigrants. King Cakes first appeared in the Big Easy in the late 19th century.

The name “King Cake” refers to the Magi, the three kings of the Nativity story. As such the cakes usually enter the scene on Epiphany (January 6), the day on the Christian calendar when the Magi were introduced to the Christ child. Consequently, the cakes are enjoyed through Carnival, up until Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday.

Traditionally, a small baby figure is baked into the cake to signify the baby Jesus (although in our cake, we used a pink candy ball). The colors of the cake – purple, green, and gold, are quite symbolic. Purple signifies justice. Green symbolizes faith. Gold indicates power.

King Cakes are a staple of Mardi Gras parties. The lucky person who finds the baby Jesus in their slice becomes the king of the party and is obliged to purchase the cake for the next celebration.

With Lent approaching, we wanted to celebrate the season by showcasing the excellent baking capabilities of CVap ovens.

King Cake Settings:

  • Proof Program:  RTV705: Vapor 100°F/Air 103°F
  • Bake Program:  RTV705: Vapor 200°F/Air 350°F
king cake sliced

King Cake – The Process:

Although making the cake from scratch is completely fine, we took a shortcut and used a prepared white dough from Rich’s Products. They are individually quick frozen. However, we slacked them rapidly in the RTV with the Proof program.

  1. First, roll the dough roughly into a rectangular shape and slather with butter. Next, sprinkle with copious amounts of cinnamon sugar. Finally, stud with Amaretto plumped craisins and chopped pecans.
  2. Roll up the rectangle along the long side, pressing and pinching the seam to create a more seamless roll., If you’re going for a fully-traditional King Cake, don’t forget to add the baby Jesus (or trinket, or bean, or almond, or whatever suits you) before you completely seal it up. Critically, make sure that your guests are aware of the presence of this surprise inside the cake. You don’t want someone choking or chipping a tooth on an unexpected baby.
  3. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and shape into the traditional round ring, pinching the two ends together.
  4. Proof until doubled in size.
  5. Bake until internal temperature reaches a minimum of 185-190°F. We pulled ours out at 200°F. This took about 30-35 minutes.
  6. Allow cooling BEFORE decorating. Otherwise, the icing will melt off.
  7. Pour royal icing onto the cooled King Cake (if you need a quick refresher on icing, you’ll find an easy recipe in this blog).
  8. Sprinkle with colored sugars: purple, gold, and green.

The results were beautiful cakes worthy of the Carnival season. It was fit for a king! Joyeux mardi gras, y’all!

king cake

Chocolate Cake Smackdown: CVap Oven vs. Conventional Oven

flourless chocolate cake

When I was a kid, I remember making the most decadent, delicious, and rich flourless chocolate cake.  I helped my grandmother put ganache on the top, and sneaked a little off the top with my finger when she wasn’t looking. We always called that kind of sampling “quality control tasting.”

I still love this type of confection. I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate? For me, it’s a great go-to dessert for guests – similar to my grandmother’s – topped with a side of homemade whipped cream and fresh raspberries. And there’s the added bonus of it being a super quick and easy recipe. Plus it is gluten free.

Instead of just baking it in a traditional oven like grandma’s, I wanted to see what kind of results I would get baking it in a CVap® Cook and Hold Oven. So I devised a challenge for myself in order to compare the two.

raw ingredients

I made a double batch of the batter and placed equal amounts in individual, fluted removable-bottom tart pans. I set the CVap oven at 160°F +10 browning and the conventional oven at 350°F.

CVap vs conventional chocolate cake

The Results

The results were very interesting! The cake in the CVap oven baked in 16 minutes. The cake in the conventional oven took almost 20 minutes. More importantly, when I had three adults conduct a blind taste test, they all preferred the cake baked in the CVap oven! Some of the comments about CVap flourless cake were that it “had a chocolatier taste,” “the texture was lighter and smoother,” and “the top exterior top was more eye appealing.

CVap vs conventional chocolate cake

I found that the conventional cake rose, and then dropped once out of the oven. This is a normal occurrence with flourless chocolate cakes. What I liked about the CVap version was that the top had a better texture and the cake did not drop, giving it better eye appeal. It certainly makes a good case for baking in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven.

And when you add the ganache…calling it icing on the cake doesn’t do it justice!

Yummy chocolate cake