[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

If you've been to New Orleans you know that it's all about the purple, green, and gold come Mardi Gras. The purple stands for justice, the green for faith, and the gold for power. Mardi Gras is also all about excess before the start of Lent, with an emphasis on rich foods like doughnuts and cake.

This year, Mardi Gras is a bit later than usual. You've all been using that extra time to gather dessert ideas, right? No? Well, if you want something quick, easy, and fun to put everyone in the Fat Tuesday spirit, try out this Mardi Gras-themed tie-dye cake. You can make it from scratch or cheat and use your favorite boxed mix. Either way, it's sure to get you in the festive mood.

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered literary agent by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie, a Midtown Lunch contributor, and co-author of New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. You can follow her on Twitter at @BlondieBrownie.

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