Wouldn't you know it. The first time I mail order a king cake and the damn thing arrives the day AFTER Mardi Gras!
Frances Bakery gets an F for on-time delivery, but the Metairie, La., shop didn't disappoint once we started eating the thing. Frances (pronounced fransis-sez if you're a yat from Metairie) has long been at the top of my king cake maker list.
For those of you unfamiliar with king cake tradition, this sugary, cinnamon-roll doughy treat is served throughout Carnival season in south Louisiana. Hidden inside each cake is a small plastic baby. Whoever finds the baby is on the hook for buying the next cake - usually expected within a week.
My co-worker Jennifer (below) and others at my office just didn't get it. They struggled with the notion that finding a baby, or a facsimile thereof, could be anything but a joyous event. Convinced that the pink glob of hard Chinese plastic somehow was a talisman of good fortune, Jen spent the day hoping she would be the lucky one to find the baby in her piece of cake.
But she struck out. The baby ended up inside one of several pieces that I brought home to share with Rex's housemates. (For what it's worth, Rex says the cake, as seen in these photos, looks like Linda Blair threw up on a cheap pound cake.)
I gave up trying to imbue my coworkers with the Louisiana king cake tradition. Maybe here on the Left Coast the baby should be the bringer of good luck.