Cakes fit for a king Church group’s sweet project raises funds for Mo­bile Meals

The Oklahoman - - FRONT PAGE - Carla Hin­ton chin­[email protected]­la­

Ev­ery Jan­uary, a New Or­leans na­tive brings one of her fa­vorite tra­di­tions from The Big Easy to life. The cus­tom con­nects Jenifer Cameron to her Louisiana home and raises money for Mo­bile Meals, which, she said, is ic­ing on the cake. The King Cake. Cameron has been bak­ing and sell­ing the sweet treat to aid her church’s Mo­bile Meals program since 2011.

“This was a way to cre­ate my own Mardi Gras cel­e­bra­tion,” she said, laugh­ing.

King Cake is a tra­di­tional in­dul­gence eaten from around the fes­tive time of Epiphany or Three Kings Day through Fat Tuesday/ Shrove Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras Day/Car­ni­val.

Epiphany, gen­er­ally ob­served on Jan. 6, is the Chris­tian cel­e­bra­tion of the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the di­vine na­ture of Je­sus to the Gen­tiles, rep­re­sented by the Magi or Three Kings.

Cameron de­scribes King Cake as an oval-shaped sweet­bread that is a cross be­tween a cof­fee cake and a French pas­try.

She be­gan the an­nual King Cake project when she was a mem­ber of Dou­glas Av­enue United Methodist

Church. Cameron and a group of Mo­bile Meals vol­un­teers made the cakes — one year as many as 500 — in the church’s tiny kitchen an­nu­ally un­til last fall, when the Mid­west City house of wor­ship closed its doors be­cause it needed costly re­pairs.

As a long­time Mo­bile Meals vol­un­teer, Cameron wor­ried that the church clos­ing would af­fect the program that pro­vides meals to older res­i­dents in the com­mu­nity.

She was also con­cerned about the fate of her an­nual King Cake fundraiser.

The ben­e­fit raises money to help sup­ple­ment and en­hance the meals pro­vided to about 125 older neigh­bors in need and had al­lowed the church to buy them Christ­mas gifts and food items tra­di­tion­ally eaten dur­ing the hol­i­days.

Cameron was elated when St. Matthew United Methodist Church wel­comed her and many mem­bers of Dou­glas Av­enue United Methodist into the con­gre­ga­tion.

The church’s lead­ers were thrilled to get be­hind the Mo­bile Meals program and the King Cake fundraiser.

Cameron said they moved five com­mer­cial freez­ers, a com­mer­cial dou­ble oven, two com­mer­cial re­frig­er­a­tors and one com­mer­cial ice ma­chine from their for­mer church to their new church home in Oc­to­ber. Now, the bak­ing has be­gun.

Bless­ings, ba­bies and beads

The Rev. Wendy Perce­ful is St. Matthew’s as­so­ciate pas­tor and wife of the church’s se­nior pas­tor, the Rev. Ron Perce­ful.

She said the church quilter’s group and a youth Sun­day School group had to make ac­com­mo­da­tions for Cameron and the Mo­bile Meals program but that ev­ery­one in­volved sees the many ways peo­ple are blessed through the meal min­istry.

“Ev­ery­body has been so good be­cause we all agree that this min­istry is im­por­tant. We serve more than 100 peo­ple each week and we don’t want peo­ple to go with­out,” she said.

Cameron and her group of vol­un­teers be­gan bak­ing King Cakes shortly after the New Year and will con­tinue for the next month or so.

Dur­ing a re­cent bak­ing ses­sion, Cameron rolled out the dough for a King Cake, while vol­un­teers like Donna Bassham and Norene Tins­ley took cakes out of the oven.

Janet Fr­yar driz­zled white ic­ing over a cake that had cooled while Wilma Hen­don sprin­kled an al­ready­iced caked with col­ored sugar in Mardi Gras hues of green, pur­ple and gold.

Cameron said the group makes sure each cake comes with some Mardi Gras beads, a short flier about the his­tory of King Cakes and, of course, a baby.

The plas­tic trin­ket in the form a baby — rep­re­sent­ing the Christ child — is typ­i­cally hid­den

in­side the treat, and the per­son who finds it is dubbed king or queen for the day and may be ob­li­gated to hold a fes­tive gath­er­ing, ac­cord­ing to tra­di­tion.

Vol­un­teer Bassham said the bak­ers don’t want to harm any­one who might un­know­ingly swal­low or bite into the baby trin­ket so each cake comes with the baby on top.

Look­ing on as the bak­ers set­tled into their rou­tine, Perce­ful smiled. She said the fundraiser is a fun way to start the New Year with the church’s new mem­bers.

“I think it’s been a good fit. They are a won­der­ful group and we’re thrilled to have them,” she said.


Vol­un­teers Norene Tins­ley, Janet Fr­yar and Wilma Hen­don show off King Cakes they dec­o­rated at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Mid­west City.

Vol­un­teer Janet Fr­yar adds ic­ing to a cake that will be sold dur­ing the King Cake fundraiser at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Mid­west City.


Vol­un­teers Mar­i­lyn Lewis, Donna Bassham and Linda Hewett make King Cakes in the kitchen at St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Mid­west City.

Jenifer Cameron

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