Colette Berube, of Vernon, came to Connecticut from France in 1954 at the age of 19. Staying true to her culture, Berube is one of the few French bakers in the state who make a traditional king cake for Mardi Gras.
“We have been making king cake since 1983,” said Berube, who is the general manager of La Brioch French Bakery in Vernon. “I make a traditional cake, but I won’t give out my recipe. It’s a secret.”
The large wreath-shaped dessert, colored purple, green and yellow, is rooted in history, making it a sweet tradition.
In the 18th century, French and Spanish colonists brought king cakes to the states. Today, they have become a staple for many who celebrate Mardi Gras, AOL News reports.
The colorful embellishments on the cake not only fit into the Mardi Gras theme, they also represent something special – purple represents justice, green represents faith and gold and yellow represent power, according to the Seattle Times.
“I color the cake with extra fine sugar,” Berube said. “It’s the French way of doing it.”
But don’t let the fancy presentation fool you. A New Orleans-style king cake, in its most traditional form, is flavored with just a dash of cinnamon sugar and most commonly, has a cream cheese filling.
As an added element of excitement, a small trinket is baked into the cake. Berube chooses to hide a traditional plastic baby who is said to represent Baby Jesus.
“If you find the baby, you become the king or queen for the day” Berube said.
But with luck comes responsibility.
“You must also buy the cake for next year,” she added.
It should come as no surprise that these delicacies are in high demand this time of year. Berube credits this to the diverse culture in Connecticut.
“People come from all over, but they like to keep their tradition alive. Therefore people will always want a king cake, no matter where they are.”
Rooted in the Catholic tradition, Mardi Gras is the last hurrah of what is known as the Carnival Season, the Times reports.
Starting on Jan. 6, the celebration ends this Tuesday.
If you are interested in purchasing a king cake, call “La Biroche French Bakery” at (860) 896–0750. Cakes are made upon request.