The queen of king cakes

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With the much-anticipated Mardi Gras season comes the delicious circular pastries covered in purple, green and gold sugar known as king cakes.

King cakes are a big deal throughout Louisiana for the holiday, especially in the Shreveport-Bossier area. Perhaps the only area of debate for the seasonal treats, besides which flavor to get, is where to get them. 

Tammy Judge, owner of Bossier City’s The Wooden Spoon, says that her king cakes are her personal favorite in town. Not just because her cakes are braided in a unique way, but because her cream cheese filling is different from other local shops.

“Our king cakes are made fresh daily,” Judge said. “We braid them, so there are three strands, and each strand gets a filling. Also, our cream cheese filling is a little different from everyone else in town.”

King cake is said to have originated in old-world France and Spain and is known for its association with the historically Catholic celebration Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, which marks the arrival of the three wise men in Bethlehem who delivered gifts to baby Jesus.

The Wooden Spoon Owner Tammy Judge crafts a king cake. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

In America, king cakes can be purchased in early January up until Fat Tuesday and the start of Lent. They’re made of a cakey bread dough, twisted into rings to imitate a king’s crown – and decorated with a variety of flavored icing and sprinkles. Some cakes are filled with cream or fruit.

Each cake is generally decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors — purple representing justice, green representing faith, and gold representing power.

Every king cake contains a tiny trinket, such a plastic baby, and whoever finds the trinket in their slice of cake gets to be “king” for a day. Another common tradition is that whoever finds the baby must host the next year’s celebration.

While king cakes are…king…this time of the year, Judge notes that customers can purchase them year-round. 

“We have some customers who want them for their birthday party or they are throwing a Mardi Gras type party theme for a baby shower or office party. So, we encourage our customers to call 24 to 48 hrs in advance to place an order during the off season,” Judge said.

The Wooden Spoon is also offering another Mardi Gras favorite — king cake cupcakes. 

“They’re purple velvet with praline filling and decorated with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles,” Judge said.

The Wooden Spoon offers the following flavors: cream cheese, cream cheese and pralines, strawberry cream cheese, blueberry cream cheese, apple cream cheese and traditional praline. Small cakes, also known as individual size, are $10.95, while large cakes that feed 12 are $20.95. Their king cakes are made to order, so she encourages customers to place an order 24 hours in advance.

The Wooden Spoon is located at 4350 Viking Drive in Bossier City and is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit them at www.woodenspoononline.com.