Before Ash Wednesday arrives this March, the celebration of Mardi Gras takes place on Feb. 28. Also known as Fat Tuesday, this carnival encourages the consumption of rich, delicious foods before Lent begins. The most popular dish for Mardi Gras—and one that you can find everywhere in New Orleans—is king cake.
This delicious, ring-shaped pastry is a cross between a French pastry and a coffee cake, covered in green, purple and gold sprinkles that give it the semblance of a crown.
While many people purchase king cake from bakers, making your own is easy, especially if you follow the recipe from Jocelyn Delk Adams of Grandbaby-Cakes.com.
One of the aspects of what makes this recipe so easy is its low amount of required ingredients.
Instead of gathering an armload of baking materials to create the dough from scratch, simply purchase two (2) cans of refrigerated cinnamon rolls, like Pillsbury® Grands!™ or a grocery brand.
While you’re at the grocery store, make sure you also pick up one (1) can of cream cheese frosting, one (1) large egg and sanding sugar in green, purple and yellow colors.
Since the cinnamon roll dough is already prepared, there isn’t much work to be done to prepare the king cake before you bake it.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit; find a 10-inch round Bundt pan and coat the inside with a non-stick baking spray. Break the egg and lightly beat it in a small bowl, whip it lightly with a whisk and then set it aside.
Making the cake
Open both packages of cinnamon rolls; begin by lining the bottom of the Bundt pan with a row of the dough. Lightly brush the ring of dough with the beaten egg, then add another layer of dough. Repeat this pattern until all the cinnamon rolls are used.
Place the pan in the oven and bake it for 20 – 25 minutes until the dough is cooked through. Let it cool on a hot pad for five minutes before removing the cake from the pan.
Flip the cake over and coat the top of it with cream cheese frosting, sprinkling the three different colors of sprinkles on top in alternating sections.
Now, all you have to do is cut the cake and serve it.
Want a baby?
One of the elements that set king cakes apart from other cakes is the inclusion of a plastic baby in the dough. Whoever “finds” the baby by being served the slice of cake that contains the half-inch-long toy is declared king or queen for the day and is obligated to bring next year’s cake.
If you want to participate in this tradition, purchase or obtain a plastic baby figurine while you’re gathering your ingredients. Bake the cake as you normally would but before you ice the finished cake, insert the tiny doll into the bread from the top, where you’ll cover up the hole with icing.
Just make sure that you alert those consuming the king cake that the plastic baby is hidden inside it so they do not accidentally swallow it.
The entire time to prepare and cook the cake should only last a half hour, so you can whip it before you eat dinner or if you are headed to a party. It serves 12 people and is a festive treat even if you don’t celebrate Mardi Gras.
This article is presented by Colonial Honda of Dartmouth in N. Dartmouth, Massachusetts.