To us in Dayton, king cake may seem like a bit of a novelty. However, those from or living in the Gulf Coast area take it very seriously.
Commonly enjoyed on Fat Tuesday -- which will be celebrated on Feb. 13, 2018 this year -- the origin of the king cake goes back to Biblical times as part of the celebration of the Epiphany, celebrated on Jan. 6. Its popularity spread across Europe as a Christmastime delicacy before making its way to North America.
French settlers brought the recipe to the Gulf Coast in the 1700s, where the cinnamon-flavored treat was later associated with carnival season.
King cake recipes have transformed into various forms over the centuries, with a small baby doll being included somewhere inside the cake itself to symbolize the birth of Jesus at parties.
Tradition holds that the party guest who gets the piece of cake with the doll in it will be blessed with good fortune and be crowned the king or queen of said party. But royalty has its obligations as well, as the winner must provide the king cake the following year.
WHERE TO GET KING CAKE NEAR DAYTON
* Ashley’s Pastry Shop - 21 Park Avenue, Dayton 45419
* Big Sky Bread Company - 3070 Far Hills Avenue, Dayton 45429
* Dorothy Lane Markets - Oakwood, Washington Square and Springboro
* Ele Cake Company - West Carrollton, Beavercreek and Austin Landing
* Evans Bakery - 700 Troy Street, Dayton 45404