A King Cake is an oval-shaped bakery delicacy, a cross between a coffee cake and a French pastry that is as rich in history as it is in flavor. It's decorated in royal colors of purple signifying "Justice," green for "Faith," and gold for "Power."
The King Cake tradition is believed to have originated in France and was brought to New Orleans around 1870. The French version is baked with an almond-filled puff pastry giving a fluffy texture and features a decorative pattern, sometimes topped with a crown. The New Orleans style King cake shares more similarities with the Spanish or Latin version, which is ring-shaped and topped with icing and candied fruit.
King Cakes have become part of the celebration to symbolize the “finding of baby Jesus,” placing the hidden, tiny porcelain then-plastic today, the baby is now the common prize. At a party, the King Cake is sliced and served as each person looks to see if their piece contains the "baby." If so, then they are named "King" for a day and bound by custom to host the next party and provide the King Cake. In the past, such things as coins, beans, pecans, or peas were also hidden in each King Cake.