You probably don't think of religion when you think of Mardi Gras. Ironic, since it is literally a holiday to mark the eve of Lent. Carnival season is ushered in by a different holiday - Epiphany. And, in New Orleans, king cakes are the crown jewel of Epiphany and mandatory fare for every Friday gathering between Epiphany and Mardi Gras (whether you're a fan of sweet baby Jesus or not).
So what's king cake? Made to symbolize the three wisemen finding baby Jesus, it's a cake traditionally shaped in a ring and made of yeasted bread similar to brioche. Usually spiced with cinnamon and often filled, the dough is topped with some variation of icing and purple, green and gold sugar. In New Orleans, there's usually a figurine of a baby hidden inside the cake.
The King Cake Shortbread this is exactly what it sounds like. A SHORTBREAD flavored like KING CAKE. Glory to Baby Jesus!
Sold by the half dozen.