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A Real-Deal Mardi Gras King Cake

King Cake

I’m a very lucky girl, having married into a food-obsessed family from New Orleans. My in-laws send us NOLA treats all year — local favorites that are hard to come by in New York, like Zatarain’s jambalaya mix, Aunt Sally’s pralines and Tony Chachere’s seasoning. As Fat Tuesday approaches, it’s King Cake time.

This quintessential Mardi Gras treat is a sweet braided pastry with frosting coated in plenty of purple, green and gold sprinkles, but the pièce de résistance is hidden inside. Whoever gets the slice with a plastic baby — caution is recommended as you devour your piece — is declared the king or queen for the day. Some say getting the baby is like catching the bouquet at a wedding, except instead of being the next to marry, it means the finder will soon have a (real) baby.

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