King Cake: The Real King of Carnival

Have your parade-going days come to an end?  Does the thought of staking out some real estate on St. Charles Avenue sound about as exciting as a colonoscopy?  Though we would never discourage you from enjoying a good parade, the logistics can be a bit challenging, especially for those with limited mobility.  Finding a safe place to watch the parade, with convenient parking, and a nearby restroom, can be hard to come by!

If you still want to partake in the holiday festivities, but would prefer to avoid the crowds, then take note…we’ve got just the thing that will put you in the running for the royal title of King or Queen of Carnival!  Okay, so your family, friends, or fellow residents may not be chanting “Hail Rex”, but you will certainly win major brownie (or, rather, king cake) points.

With carnival season in full swing, we can’t think of a better way to enjoy the holiday than by hosting a king cake tasting party.  Social activities are one of the most effective ways for seniors to improve their mental health and cognitive abilities.  It’s also a wonderful way to meet new people and reconnect with old friends.  While navigating a parade route may be out of the question for many, celebrating over king cake is a highly accessible way to still enjoy the Mardi Gras season.  Here are some tips for hosting your own king cake tasting party.

Choose Your “Caterers”

As with any party, begin by establishing your guest list, which conveniently doubles as your caterers!  This is a crucial part of the planning process because each partygoer will bring a king cake along.  Trying a variety of king cakes is the goal of the party, so keep a list to ensure that everyone brings a different type.  With every Tom, Dick, and Harry now creating their own spin on a king cake, this shouldn’t be a difficult thing to do.  In fact, the more varieties you have, the better!  This king cake guide or this bucket list will help you source everything from traditional to savory to downright outlandish, and both are great resources to pass along to your guests.  Encourage partygoers to think outside the box and bring something new and exciting!

Feeling Festive

Now that your guest list and menu have been decided, it’s time to decorate.  Minimal decorations can go a long way in creating a festive event.  A simple, white tablecloth spread across your serving table creates a clean canvas to feature the tasty treats.  While king cakes typically come in a box, consider placing serving platters around the table to help elevate the look and make the serving process a bit more manageable.  A place card in front of each platter displaying where the king cake is from is a nice added touch!  Finish off your tablescape with a simple scattering of purple, green, and gold beads or other festive decor.

Stock up on cocktail napkins, cake plates, cups, and other necessary serving ware.  Once again, purchasing these items in the royal colors add to the festive feel.

No Mardi Gras party is complete without costumes!  Encourage your guests to come decked out in their favorite Carnival attire.  Festive hats, shirts, sweaters, masks, and accessories will help to get everyone into the Mardi Gras spirit.

Create a playlist filled with all of your favorite Carnival tunes to play throughout your party.  While you may not be dancing down the streets in New Orleans, you will certainly feel the spirit of Mardi Gras.

Party Time

As your guests begin to arrive, direct them to their particular platter to showcase their king cake.  Once all the king cakes are lined up around the table like floats in a parade, it’s time for the final touches before the tasting begins.  Cut each king cake into small slices, being sure to provide enough slices for every guest to enjoy each one.  Then, put a small cup in the center of, or behind, each king cake.  Lastly, pass out king cake babies to all partygoers to use as a token to cast their vote for their favorite(s); each guest should receive the same number of babies, but the number of votes is up to you, the host!

Finally, it’s time to indulge!  Spend the remainder of the party visiting and sampling king cake.  Once you’ve tried them all, drop your king cake baby in the cup beside your favorite contender.  After everyone has cast their vote, the babies can be counted up to determine the winner.  The guest who brought the winning king cake is crowned king or queen of the king cake party!