The first cake that comes to mind when we're considering Mardi Gras is the pancake, and there's no shortage of venues around town that will be serving up stacks of buttermilk flapjacks in celebration of that holiday -- and National Pancake Day -- tomorrow.
But ask Kim and Jake Rosenbarger, who once lived in New Orleans, what cake they think of first, and they'll always say the king cake.
"It's a New Orleans thing," Jake explains. "It's a huge deal to them, but it seems like they kind of keep it to themselves. Kind of like the music or restaurant scene. A lot of times, the musicians don't get out of New Orleans. But when you're down there, you just get sucked into it."
So it's no surprise that the Rosenbargers, who own Kim and Jake's Cakes in Boulder, have baked dozens of king cakes for the occasion. "I've made 85 since yesterday," says Jake. "That's a lot of yeast. And every king cake is two zested lemons and a zested orange. That's a lot of zesting. My arm is tired." They've also implanted each of the frosted brioche-like pastries with a miniature baby doll, which, depending on who you talk to, symbolizes either good luck or fertility for the person who finds it.
So you could celebrate Mardi Gras with a king cake. Or you could order a scoop of king cake ice cream, the latest in a series of collaborations between Kim and Jake's Cakes and another confection shop in the Boulder Valley, Glacier Ice Cream. "They're doing a cinnamon ice cream with king cake in it," Jake explains. "And they left the king cake pretty chunky, so you get this crunch of cinnamon and sugar and icing. It's frickin' awesome."
This is the second collaboration in as many weeks for the two dessert makers; Glacier also mixed up a kick-ass red velvet cake ice cream for Valentine's Day, made with real cream cheese that made the ice cream both ethereally creamy and slightly tart. This week, the ice cream maker will also craft a batch with Kim and Jake's lemon poppyseed cake, and plans are in the works for a stout cake ice cream to be rolled out around St. Patrick's Day.
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"We'll do something in between now and then, too," Jake reveals. "They want to keep it going. It's whatever we want to do, and I'd like to do some of the exotic stuff. Vindalicious ice cream would be awesome." Vindalicious cake, by the way, is a ginger and vindaloo-spiked spice cake iced with salted Thai curry caramel sprinkled with black sesame seeds.
In the meantime, you can pick up the king cake ice cream at the Baseline location of Glacier for at least another couple of days; after that, Jake says, the shop may pack it in pints. But don't look for the baby: The shop didn't include one in the batch.