Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?

King Cake book cover hi res.jpg
King Cake book cover hi res.jpg

Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?


Selected as one of 2018’s Best Gifts for New Orleans Book Lovers by Susan Larson for The Advocate!

Based on a song from Johnette Downing’s Swamp Romp, A Louisiana Dance Party for Children album, this rhythmic original story celebrates king cake, the culinary centerpiece of New Orleans Mardi Gras.  Believed to have originated in 12th Century France, the cake is an homage to the wise men or three kings. In Europe and beyond, a bean, pea, pecan, or coin is hidden inside the cake for good luck. In New Orleans, a plastic King Cake baby is hidden. Whoever finds the hidden object in their piece of King Cake is unofficially crowned king for a day and is expected to host the next King Cake party as a way of spreading good fortune and ensuring that the festivities continue throughout the Carnival season. At King Cake parties, usually hosted before Mardi Gras parades, you will hear locals ask, “Who got the baby in the King Cake?”  Find out here who got the baby in the king cake? It just might be YOU!

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“Downing does it again! Johnette lends her considerable skills to explaining a Carnival culinary classic—king cake—in this delightful and colorful addition to her library of titles designed to entertain and educate kids of all ages.” Arthur Hardy, publisher, Mardi Gras Guide.

“It’s always a treat to see a new release by the multi-talented Johnette Downing and her latest book doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it may be our new favorite. “Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?” traces the creation of the Carnival cake from rolling out the dough to enjoying it at a party. Each step of the way is accompanied by Downing’s innovative collage illustrations and the “Author’s Note” in the back explains the king cake tradition and how it came to be. In January, Downing will release the song that matches the book, which she recorded with her husband Scott Billington and members of the Dukes of Dixieland. It’s part of an album that highlights Louisiana roots music, from New Orleans traditional jazz to Cajun. “The song is on my upcoming children's record with my hubby titled ‘Swamp Romp, A Louisiana Dance Party for Children,’” Downing wrote us by email.” —Cheré Coen, Louisiana Book News

“Children in Louisiana grow up with so many local traditions that schools could practically add an extra class to cover all of them! Luckily, songwriter Johnette Downing is around to set these traditional stories to music.”Poppy Tooker, Quick Bites, Louisiana Eats

“A simple picture book celebrating the time-honored ritual.” —Susan Larson, Special to The Advocate