Known as the king cake baby, these figurines are baked into the traditional frosted brioche-like ring cakes eaten between Three Kings Day on Jan. 6, and Fat Tuesday on March 4, when revelers celebrate and indulge before Lent. During this time, cakes with tiny plastic babies tucked inside are eaten en masse around the world. More than 750,000 are reportedly sold in New Orleans every year.
French and Spanish colonists are said to have brought king cake to the colonies in the 18th century, a symbol of the three kings who traveled to see the newborn Jesus, although the baby figurine didn't get popular until the 1950s. Depending on what you believe, the baby symbolizes the infant Jesus or an obligation to buy the next king cake. Because during Mardi Gras, you can never have too much of a good thing.
And if that's not strange enough ...
Check out the slideshow above for ways king cake is getting even weirder, and read on for details.
The Hamburger: The Food Drunk food truck based in New Orleans has made a name for itself with the King Cake Burger, a classic bacon cheeseburger with a frosted bun. One Shreveport reporter tried it and thought it was pretty good. Another mashup for the recipe book.The Mascot: The New Orleans Pelicans have trotted out a seasonal mascot, the King Cake Baby, to terrorize NBA fans everywhere. ABC News' Colleen Curry reports it's terrifying. This reaction apparently doesn't escape the King Cake Baby, with one Twitter handle attributed to the mascot declaring, "He loves racing on scooters and haunting people's dreams." Uh-huh.
The Meme: Alabama.com writer Tamara Ikenberg discovered a YouTube channel devoted to the King Cake baby. Watch baby multiply, travel to the Golden Gate Bridge and generally rock out.
The Mile-Long: Mexico City has a lot of awesome foodie feasts and the king cake celebration is no exception. In early January, tens of thousands of people feasted on a mile-long king cake that took 43,000 eggs to bake. According to tradition, the person who finds the king cake baby has to bake tamales for everyone who ate the cake. Good luck with that one.
The Record: A New Orleans bakery holds the record for baking the biggest king cake in the world. Set in 2010, the cake weighed more than 4,000 pounds and measured 2,600 feet long. The cake made a ring around the Superdome.
The Blog: The Times-Picayune in New Orleans loves King Cake so much they devoted a blog to it called, "58 Days of King Cake."
The Babies: You'll never be short on king cake babies if you stock up pre-season.
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This article is part of Mix It Up, an editorial series created in collaboration with AOL's Kitchen Daily and Huffington Post. It is dedicated to making the lives of mothers easier through articles, videos and slideshows focused on simple and creative solutions to everyday challenges. From healthy recipes to exciting ideas for a more balanced lifestyle, this section aims to become a resource for moms everywhere.