The Epiphany, sometimes referred to as Twelfth Night/Day or Three Kings Day, is when the wise men came to visit baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Hence Kings... King Cake!
From the period between the Epiphany to Mardi Gras is considered to be king cake season - a time to indulge in as many cakes as you can. Thank you French settlers in New Orleans for bringing us this delicious tradition.
The cake follows suite in which the receiver of the slice of cake containing the trinket is crowned king. Being crowned king for the day brings about both privilege and obligation, like buying the next cake.
So bake one on your own (I'm still working on perfecting my own recipe), or buy one from the many different places that partake in the king cake season.
In Austin, Central Market carries a delicious French pastry-type cake with a delightful almond filling. It comes and goes quickly, so get it while you can, and enjoy every last bite, for it only comes but once a year!
Most of the cakes these days are not cooked with the crowning surprise trinket inside the cake anymore. If you're not sure if there is a trinket inside the cake or not, better to be safe than sorry and pop in an extra. After all, two kings are better than none.
So here's what you do... Take the trinket in your right hand and the cake in your left (or vice versa, whichever you prefer). Close your eyes, spin the cake around, place the trinket in the cake from the bottom up, then give it another gentle spin, and open your eyes. Now you get to participate in the fun too!