Let there be King Cake

What started out as a dry French-bread type dough with sugar on top and a bean inside 30 years ago is now a sweet, moist, sugar and icing Danish type dough that is braided with cinnamon inside and a plastic doll underneath. Back then, a king cake was no more popular than Easter hot cross buns. It was a nice treat, but that's all.

Then Manuel Randazzo, Sr. and his father and brothers started making a new and delicious type of king cake with cinnamon inside a braided sweet dough with sugar and icing on top. Everyone loved the king cake. Soon the demand exceeded the supply.

Manny Randazzo learned the secrets to developing a great king cake from his father. Manny uses the same formula handed down from his father and duplicates the same taste to perfection. A generation later, you still get the same delicious king cake.

When family and friends go away to school or get jobs elsewhere, they still long for that familiar taste of a king cake, a taste from home. Now, you can ship them a freshly baked king cake. The beautifully designed shipping box created by UPS greatly compliments a Manny Randazzo King Cake, the best king cake around. Your king cake will be shipped overnight to ensure freshness. So now family and friends can still get a little taste of New Orleans by getting a Manny Randazzo King Cake.

But tradition has a way of broadening itself. Now instead of just getting the traditional cinnamon king cake, you can get your king cake filled with various fillings: Cream Cheese, Apple, Strawberry, Lemon, and if you dare, Pecan Praline or Royal (cream cheese, apple, strawberry & lemon quartered off in sections). The filling is injected in each braid of dough so it fills the inside and oozes out the sides and top for a mouth-watering treat.

Now everyone has their favorite. Friends sometimes get into a "heated debate" to rally around their favorite king cake. Filled vs. Traditional. Cream Cheese vs. Apple. Royal vs. Pecan Praline. The tradition goes on.

Looking to start a little tradition of your own, at your home or office, order a king cake to be shipped to you. Just like in New Orleans, you don't need a reason to get together with your friends and family. Just get a king cake and watch the fun begin.

I got the baby

"I got the baby" someone says as they pull the plastic doll from under their king cake slice. But exactly what does that mean? Well whoever gets the baby is supposed to furnish the next king cake. In New Orleans, where we look for any reason to get together with family and friends, this keeps the tradition going. Getting together for a little party, a little king cake, and lots of friends.

Someone has a king cake party at their house. As the party atmosphere heightens, the king cake is cut and everyone gets a slice. If a boy gets the baby, he's the "King of the Party" and he chooses his "Queen" to reign with him. If a girl gets the baby, she's the "Queen of the Party" and chooses her "King." They in turn throw the next king cake party.

At offices all over the Greater New Orleans area, someone buys the first king cake and places it in the coffee room. Soon after, the king cake is gone and some lucky employee got the baby. That person buys the next king cake for the office. Most offices celebrate this tradition on Fridays, but more offices are taking advantage of the shorter lines in the beginning of the week to have their king cake.

Eventually, it all culminates to that final day to get a king cake, the Monday before Mardi Gras, otherwise known as Lundi Gras. The lines are long, but the atmosphere is fun. Everyone is getting ready for the big celebration.

But you don't need to be a local to enjoy this great treat with your family and friends. You can order your king cake to be delivered right to your office or home. You'll receive Mardi Gras beads, a Mardi Gras cup and doubloons, a history of the King Cake, all in a decorative UPS shipping box. Keep the beads and doubloons for yourself or give them to the person that "Gets the Baby." So get a Manny Randazzo King Cake and you too can be like one of the locals and say "I Got the Baby" as you pull your plastic doll from your slice.

King cake 101: Caring for your king cake

Your king cake has been prepared with the freshest ingredients and baked daily on the premises to ensure freshness. You are not getting a king cake that has been shipped from the "main bakery" or an "across the town" factory location. Your king cake has not been sitting on some shelf in some department store or gas station, waiting to be sold so the store owner doesn't loose money.

Each Manny Randazzo King Cake is prepared and baked by Manny himself. There are over 30 steps in making the best king cake, and Manny oversees it all without skipping any step out of convenience or cost. Sure, the Monday before Mardi Gras, Manny sells out early. But Manny strictly adheres to his father's perfected standards and does not let quantity be more important than quality! His customers know this and they appreciate getting the very best.

Your king cake will stay fresh for days. If you plan to eat your king cake 3 to 5 days later, do not open your king cake bag. Leave it sealed. Set it aside in a cool corner, out of sunlight (and out of your kid's reach). Then open and enjoy.

If you plan to eat your king cake a week later, a month later, or even a year later, freeze your unopened king cake in your freezer. Take the king cake out 2 hours before you plan to eat it. Open your king cake and enjoy. Your cake will be fresh!

If you have such discriminating taste and demand to eat a king cake like it's warm and just out of the oven, then cut your slice of king cake, place it on a napkin and put it in a microwave oven for 10 seconds. (Always be extremely careful with the icing. Depending on your microwave, the icing may be scalding hot!) After lightly touching the icing to make sure it's not too hot, eat and enjoy. The king cake dough should be warm and tender.