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A traditional king cake from Rao’s Bakery in southeast Texas.With Texas and Louisiana being neighbors, there are many natural cultural exchanges between the two states, but none are more festive than Mardi Gras and its signature pastry, the king cake.Rooted in Catholic tradition, but celebrated more secularly these days, Mardi Gras is the final day of revelry before Lent, the period of austerity that leads up to Easter. And what’s better for celebration than a bit of cake?“What’s Mardi Gras without a king cake?” says Jake Tortorice, owner of three Rao’s bakeries in southeast Texas. “It’s like a birthday without a birthday cake. Boring.”Originating in France, the king cake is said to have been brought to New Orleans in 1870. A mix between a French pastry and a coffee cake, the dough is typically…

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