The king cake is a traditional desert in Louisiana for the Mardi Gras . The king cake has a texture that is between a coffee cake and a sweet bread and is called a brioche. The cake is usually an oval ring, and covered with powdered sugars in the official Mardi Gras colors.
The king cake is believed to be a tradition carried over from France in the 1870’s. Sometime around the twelfth century in France they began to celebrate the epiphany, which occurs January 6th twelve days after Christmas. This was the date the wise men said to have visited the baby Jesus in the manger and present him with their gifts of gold frankincense and mur. The ring shape of the cake is to symbolize the circular route the wise men took to confuse King Herod on their return trip.
In the early days coins, beads or other small trinkets were hidden inside the cake, and the person who found it was King of the party. In modern times we have replaced the coins with a small plastic baby Jesus figure. It is still considered good luck to find the king in the cake, and the person who does is supposed to host the king party the following year.