Mardi Gras

Phyllis Lifestyle 9 Comments

When I was a little girl, our family lived in Mobile, Alabama, and every year Mom and Dad would take us to the Mardi Gras parade to see the floats and make our attempts at catching candy and beads as they were thrown out into the crowds. Our next-door neighbor rode a float every year, and she would save us a necklace or two, just in case we didn’t luck into catching some.

To a child all that mattered was catching treats and seeing the beautiful costumes that the people wore as the floats came by. Today one of the greatest treats during Mardi Gras season is the King Cake. In the January/February issue of Louisiana Cookin’, we have a splendid recipe for the Satsuma King Cake that you can make at home. The Creole cream cheese filing just adds the perfect touch. But if you want to purchase your cake, we have some great bakeries featured that you will want to try.


Creole Cream Cheese and Satsuma King Cake
Serves 12
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  1. 1 (¼-ounce) package active dry yeast
  2. ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  3. ¼ cup warm water (about 115°)
  4. ½ cup whole milk
  5. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 1 egg yolk
  8. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  9. 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  10. ½ cup butter, softened
  11. Creole Cream Cheese Filling
  12. 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  13. ¼ cup whole buttermilk
  14. Mardi Gras Sugar
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine yeast, 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar, and ¼ cup warm water; let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add milk, vanilla, eggs, egg yolk, and remaining sugar. Beat at low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
  2. Turn mixer off, and add flour and salt. Mix at medium speed until dough just comes together. Mix at high speed for 4 minutes. Add butter, and continue mixing until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled in size, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  3. Punch down dough, and turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 18-inch circle, about ¼-inch thick. Cut a ½-inch hole in the center of the circle, and pull with your fingers to widen. Place dollops of Creole Cream Cheese Filling evenly around circle halfway between outer edge and inner hole.
  4. Drape outside edges over filling and continue rolling outside inward until filling is covered, widening inner hole as needed, until dough covers the seam. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Uncover cake, and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and buttermilk until smooth. Transfer cake to a cutting board or serving platter; spread buttermilk glaze evenly over top of cake and sprinkle evenly with Mardi Gras Sugar.
The Ribbon in My Journal - Phyllis Hoffman DePiano

Get the full recipe, including the Creole Cream Cheese Filling, Creole Cream Cheese, Satsuma Jelly and Mardi Gras Sugar.

The issue is really a celebration of great bakeries who offer their specialty versions of King Cakes. I think the King Cakes and all the variations should be served year-round just because they are so delicious. But as the Feast of Epiphany begins and these delicious pastries emerge, I salute the genius pastry chefs who create these masterpieces.

Enjoy the season, and celebrate with a scrumptious King Cake. Go to our website for more information and inspiration for your Mardi Gras baking.


What is your Mardi Gras tradition?

Jan/February 2016 cover

Comments 9

  1. Today is Mardi Gras Day. We went to see Rex, Elks Krewe of Orleanians and Krewe of Crescent City.
    We had a wonderful day and caught lots of beads, a few doubloons, and lots of trinkets. Rex had a
    different pair of beads for each float. I tried to catch a special pair from each float, but did not get
    them all. The theme for Rex this year was Royal Gardens. The special beads matched each float. Each float also had a pillow float, cup and doubloon that matched their float. I got a few of those also. I will be displaying those in my home next year when I get ready for the Mardi Gras season. The parade is called Rex and instead of saying who the king is, they say who Rex is, because Rex is KIng of Carnival. It is sponsored by the Rex School of Design. You can look at their website at You can also look up local historian, Arthur Hardy, who puts out an annual Mardi Gras Guide in a magazine form. It has parade schedules & routes, tells what the themes of all the parades will be and what their special throws will be each year and has many other interesting articles associated with Mardi Gras. So if you come to Mardi Gras, or just want to learn a little more about it, it is a very helpful guide. If you cannot come for two weeks of parades, then try to come for the Wednesday before through Mardi Gras Day when you come. That way, you can see some of the best parades including the super krewes and some other great parades and enjoy Mardi Gras Day itself. The Wednesday before Mardi Gras, the Krewe of Nyx parades uptown. Their signature throw is handmade purses. It is an all ladies krewe. The Thursday before Mardi Gras, the Krewe of Muses, parades uptown and it is an all ladies krewe that throws girly things including their signature throw of decorated high heels which are collectors items and people display them in their homes. The Friday before Mardi Gras is the Krewe of Endymion, which has a different route and is probably the most beautiful parade of Mardi Gras. The head dresses/ mantles are the most elaborate and beautiful and the floats are huge. One float has nine sections hooked together, and this one float carries nearly 250 riders. That is a super float and Endymion is a super krewe. They have 3,100 members and it is an all male krewe. It is the largest parade. Their parade ends in the Superdome for the biggest party known. It is called the Endymion Extravaganza. It is an adults only event. Dress is formal…tuxedos for the men and evening gowns for the ladies. The marching bands and the New Orleans Police Departments Motor Cycle Group go into the dome and exit out and then the floats parade inside the dome. There are barricades so the floats can get through and they hold the crowd back. They throw a lot in the dome. They have celebrity entertainment. This year they had Steven Tyler and Pit Bull perform. You must have a ticket ahead of time to get into the Extravaganza. They even show coverage of the Extravaganza for a few hours on local tv and out of towners can watch it, too. It was streamed from wvue channel 8. There were about 20,000 people at this year’s Extravaganza. Now that’s a party! Then, on the Sunday before Mardi Gras, there is the Krewe of Bacchus. It is all male and is another super krewe with some other huge floats. They have a national celebrity each year to be Bacchus. On the Monday night before Mardi Gras, there are two parades uptown, Proteus, an old line krewe, parades first followed by Orpheus, another super krewe. This parade was founded by Harry Connick. Jr. of American Idol and his father Harry Connick and is open to male and female members. Then Tuesday would be Mardi Gras Day, the culmination of the carnival season. There are about 55 parades in all, and way too much information to put here, but I hope this will give you some insight to the greatest free show on earth. The parades are free. Other events associated with Mardi Gras may have a cost, such as a tour of Mardi Gras World, where floats are designed and built, painted and decorated. During the Mardi Gras season, king cakes are available at all of the local bakeries and if you are not here, many bakeries ship them. My personal favorite is Nonna Randazzo’s traditional kingcake. Haydel’s, Joe Gambino’s and Sucre are also great choices. When I was a little girl from about age 11 to14, there were many king cake parties for that age group. Someone would start it off and then whoever got the baby, would have the next party. People also bring them to work and do the same thing, whoever gets the baby, brings the next king cake to work. Now, ladies are having king cake party tastings. All the ladies invited bring a king cake, each from a diferent bakery. Everyone gets to taste a little piece of each one. That is a good way to find out which one you like the best and is a nice way to visit with friends. A plastic baby doll is placed inside of each king cake after baking. It is a fun tradition. Years ago, a bean was placed in king cakes. Some bakeries have ceramic babies in their king cakes and you can collect the ceramic miniature figures. King cakes are also available with a variety of fillings, mostly fruit fillings, but some pecan and some cream cheese. The colors of Mardi
    Gras are purple, green and gold. The Purple represents justice, the green represents faith and the gold represents power. Some krewes have official posters. Next year’s Mardi Gras Day will be Tuesday, February 28, 2017. Remember, the parades start about 2 weeks before that. Mardi Gras is a part of our life growing up here. There is nothing else like it.

    1. Thank you for sharing! It is on my bucket list to attend a fun and safe Mardi Gras parade and taste a king cake! I have given great thought of ordering one and having it shipped. I have cut out several recipes over the years.
      Your sharing may be as close as I get! Sounds like so much fun!! Maybe someday!

  2. In our family the Polish tradition is to have Paczki, (pronounced like “punch-key”), or what some also call Fat Tuesday Doughnuts. They are a yeast based doughnut traditionally filled with stewed plum or rose hip jam and can be glazed or dipped in sugar. My favorite are the plum ones as they filling is slightly tart and contrasts deliciously with the glaze.

    1. Annie, LOVED that you shared that family tradition! Sounds wonderful. Now that is another great sounding recipe and tradition to share and embrace. Would love to have it!!

      1. Sorry to say we cheat and buy them locally since we each only eat one, extras would be just too tempting! Any good yeast doughnut recipe would work, just fill them with slightly tart plum jam.

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