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Fat Tuesday, AKA Mardi Gras, came and went a couple weeks ago, but I thought it was still worthy of a post. Typically I get a paczki to celebrate the day if, and only if, a friend decides to share. Paczki's, pronounced 'PONtch-key' are Polish doughnut-like treats filled with everything from fresh fruit to creme and mousse and can be topped with powdered sugar, icing or chocolate. Doughnuts are really not my thing, but sometimes it can really hit the spot. This year I decided to order some myself at the Swedish bakery on Clarke. If you're a Chicagoan, you've probably heard they closed in February. Soooo, in light of the closure, I thought I needed to try something for my first and last visit.
Immediately after work on the Wednesday before Fat Tuesday, I biked in the sunny, 73 degree weather to the bakery and placed my order. When I arrived, I was delighted to find out they were also selling Kings Cake.
I find it terribly creepily funny that there's a mini trinket meant to symbolize baby Jesus hidden inside the cake. Fava beans are also used, but I really hope the Kings Cake I ordered has a baby Jesus. Whoever finds the trinket is said to have luck and prosperity and is designated the 'king' or 'queen' for the evening.
Most bakers put the baby on top the cake nowadays because they fear someone will cut into the cake and accidentally eat the baby. The Swedish bakery placed the baby on top, so I decided to take the baby and hide it in another cake....my birthday cake. When no one was looking, I swiped the cake, lifted it up from the bottom and shoved the baby underneath. No one noticed! Carefully, I cut the cake and passed out the slices. Low and behold, Mark was the lucky person to receive the baby. Guess he'll have to supply the Kings Cake for next year :)
Below is a list of Chicago spots that are selling paczki's (not sure on King's Cake) for a limited time. Many of them do sell in advance, so please inquire if interested. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a long line waiting for a taste. Be sure to check them out for next year.
Beverly Bakery and Cafe
Central Continental Bakery
Gene's Sausage Shop
Laramie Bakery and Deli
Marie's Cafe and Catering
Oak Mill Bakery
Orland Park Bakery
Old Warsaw Buffet
Red Apple Buffet
Sweet World Pastry
West Town Bakery