Yup, today is Fat Tuesday; Shrove Tuesday for some, donut day for the rest of us pagans. In New Orleans they serve a special cake called King Cake, which the French brought as a tasty treat for holidays such as Mardi Gras. King cakes often have a small toy or figurine trinket included as well.
In Detroit’s large Polish community, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Paczki Day. The paczki is a rich, filled doughnut. Like berliners, they are filled with a sweet treat, usually some form of custard, chocolate mousse, or fruity jelly. The most popular flavors are those filled with strawberry, raspberry, lemon, or vanilla custard. The paczki is then topped off with a glaze of sugar.
Along the Gulf Coast, Alabama’s version of King Cake is filled with flavored goo, such as cream cheese or strawberry. They top their King Cake with a sugary icing, usually tinted with food dyes to create several colors associated with Mardi Gras, purple, green and gold.
Yet another special Mardi Gras version of a King Cake recipe is the Zulu King Cake, coated in chocolate and filled with coconut. Most forms of king cakes include a healthy portion of booze in the ingredients, such as a traditional bourbon or brandy, while more modern king cakes are spiked with vodka.
So even if you can’t make it to Rio or the French Quarter in New Orleans today, you CAN be part of the collective sugar high. Have a donut. Better yet, have two!