Friday is the Feast of Epiphany. It is a day that celebrates the three wise men’s visit to the baby Jesus and also remembers his baptism. It’s also called Twelfth Night. Are you recalling Freshman English right now? I am.
Residents of the US Virgin Islands, St. Croix in particular, where it is a public holiday, celebrate with parades and feasts. All shops, businesses and government are closed, some even close half a day before. I know I live in New Hampshire, but my company has an office in St. Croix and I just got the e-mail saying they would be closed for Three King’s Day. And yes, before I looked it up, I thought “What the hell is that? And why don’t I have the day off?”.
This is also the beginning of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I find it funny that Mardi Gras has Christian roots and it is probably the most un-Christianlike place to be. You know, with all the boobs and beads and such.
Traditionally, Twelfth Night starts with a King’s Cake. Usually colored inpurple, gold and green sugar symbolizing justice, faith and power. It also contains a small trinket, often a small plastic baby, symbolizing the baby Jesus. It also could sometimes contain a bean. Whoever found it was King or Queen for the year. Supposedly giving them special privileges and making them the host of next year’s party.
When I was little, my Memere always made cupcakes, instead of the traditional cake and hid a black-eyed pea in one of them for luck. I remember one year, my grandfather ate the pea and she had to make more cupcakes the next day.
My brother and I always looked forward to that night. I can say this though, whoever did not get the pea was one sorry individual, as the winner would rub it in try to make the others do his/her chores. We could usually drag it out a day or so, but after that all royal treatment was off the table. It turned out to be more of a king for the day type of thing. Sometimes it was over by the ride home depending on how obnoxious your Royal Highness got.
This year, I thought I’d start the tradition again with my kids.
I am not posting a recipe because, I cheated. I used a box. I know, lame. Don’t judge me. It’s been a busy week. I did make my own buttercream which is awesome!
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 c. sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
4 T. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix butter, salt and vanilla until fluffy. Slowly add in sugar, scraping the sides to get all the buttery goodness off, then add the cream to desired consistency. That’s it. Yum! Add color if you want.