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Let them eat king cake

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Parishioner
Jenifer Cameron, a New Orleans native, started baking king cakes at the
church three years ago as a form of rehabilitation therapy after having
seizures in 2009 and subsequent brain surgery, Rev. Jeannie Himes said.

The seizures caused Cameron to lose some of her long- and short-term memory, but her intact baking skills are helping her heal.

“Our
church got really involved in baking king cakes because Jenifer is a
serious baker and she said she wanted to make this donation,” Himes
said. “She bakes king cakes as part of her nostalgia for New Orleans,
and baking helps to keep her memories fresh. The reaction to her king
cakes has been great.”

She
said king cake is traditionally baked prior to Lent during the festival
of Epiphany (Jan. 6-March 3). Carnival is more often observed in the
Southeast region of the United States, particularly in New Orleans and
other Mississippi Gulf Coast towns and cities. Oklahoma City has its hot
pockets, too.

The
baked treat is part of Mardi Gras traditions and is served throughout
the carnival season, which lasts from Epiphany Eve to Fat Tuesday.

Louisiana-style
king cakes are glazed and festively decorated with sugar sprinkles in
Mardi Gras’ royal colors of purple, green and gold.

Watch
your bite; the pastry also often has a tiny plastic baby inside or
underneath that symbolizes the baby Jesus. Whoever gets the slice of
cake with the trinket is said to be a king or queen for a day, although
Southern customs call for the baby prizewinner to provide the next king
cake or host the next Mardi Gras party, Himes said.

Himes and Cameron added a twist to that tradition, and these cakes help provide hearty meals to people in the community.

The
money raised from the king cake sales benefits the church’s different
food-related ministry programs. In addition to having a food pantry,
church volunteers prepare and deliver 645 meals monthly through its
mobile meals program, Himes said.

The
group also prepares and delivers 249 meals to shut-ins with a Saturday
supplement filled with nutritious food. Also, every Friday, beginning at
5 p.m., approximately 460 people benefit from the church’s Free Friday
meals program, Himes said.

“Our
king cake fundraiser is by far our biggest fundraiser for these
programs,” Himes said. “Jenifer likes to experiment, has developed her
own recipes for the bread. She baked 340 king cakes last year.”

Himes said her modest congregation of about 85 has an active group of volunteers who want to help OKC communities most in need.

Now
there are more ways to help, just by eating a traditional baked treat.
This year, too, Cameron expanded her king cake offerings to include
organic and vegan-friendly varieties, as well as numerous flavor choices
such as vanilla with chocolate icing, double chocolate, peaches and
cream cheese and others. Diabetic-friendly choices also are available. A
small cake costs $10; larger cakes sell for $20.

The
church’s king cakes can either be mailed or picked up at the church. To
place orders, call 732-3035, visit dbumc.org or contact Cameron at
795-4530.

FOR MORE

Buying a king cake
to help feed the community is always a good idea. But here are a few
other options to find delicious, locally baked king cakes.

Ingrid’s kitchen
3701 N. Youngs Blvd.
ingridskitchen.com
946-8444

Brown’s Bakery
1100 N. Walker Ave.
232-0363

Whole Foods Market
6001 N. Western Ave.
wholefoodsmarket.com
879-3500

La
Baguette Bakery & Café
7408 N. May Ave.
labaguette.com 840-3047
2100 W. Main St., Norman
329-5822
1130 Rambling Oaks Dr., Norman

329-1101

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