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Monday, March 7, 2011

King Cake Offers Sweetness, and a Dubious Prize

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 1:11 PM

click to enlarge Arizmendi Inner Sunset will have a limited number of king cakes for sale tomorrow, Fat Tuesday. - VALERIE LUU
  • Valerie Luu
  • Arizmendi Inner Sunset will have a limited number of king cakes for sale tomorrow, Fat Tuesday.

If you're giving up sweets for Lent, look no further than Arizmendi Bakery in the Inner Sunset for your last sugar binge before Ash Wednesday.

click to enlarge The cake comes with a plastic baby you hide in the brioche. - VALERIE LUU
  • Valerie Luu
  • The cake comes with a plastic baby you hide in the brioche.

Tomorrow for Fat Tuesday, the Sunset bakery is serving up king cake, a New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition, made with a brioche dough and molasses pecan spice filling, then smothered with icing and a generous heaping of Mardi Gras-colored sugar, so much that it glitters. More simply, the Arizmendi vision of king cake is a giant circular cinnamon roll with extra sugar on top.

But guess what? It gets even sweeter. Part of the tradition (not exclusive to Mardi Gras, by the way) is the inch-long plastic baby that comes with the cake, along with instructions to poke a little hole at the bottom and plant the trinket inside. As tradition goes, the person who gets the slice with the baby is crowned king or queen, bestowed with the lucky task of providing the next king cake and/or hosting the next Mardi Gras party (though SFoodie's not quite convinced that's a perk).

We bought a king cake yesterday to share with a few friends, though we're sad to report that none of us got lucky. Overloaded with sugar, we could each only manage a small sliver ― the baby still lurks in the brioche, waiting to be orally discovered. Maybe we'd had too much to eat at dinner, or simply weren't drunk enough. Though something tells us we would've had no problem finding the baby if it had been baked inside cannabis cookies, say. Let the good times roll!

Arizmendi Bakery: 1331 Ninth Ave. (at Irving), 566-3117. Craving king cake? Stop by Arizmendi early tomorrow, Mar. 8 (it's closed today), since the bakery says it'll bake only 60 cakes. SFoodie recommends calling ahead to reserve.

Follow us on Twitter at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Valerie Luu tweets at @valerieluu and at @littleknock, her Vietnamese street-food venture.

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Valerie Luu

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