Easy Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe

This method is a common one for making filled coffee cakes1 or Danish pastry rings. Here it is adapted to make an easy King Cake for Mardi Gras2 with its traditional purple (denoting justice), green (faith), and yellow (power) wide stripes of color. However, you will want to keep this simple method on file for a fast and easy filled coffee cake at any time of the year. Simply omit the colored sugar (perhaps use different colors). You may also substitute canned pie filling for the cream cheese3 filling used here. If you cannot picture the procedure, take a look at the step-by-step photos. It really is easy. Note: Canned pie fillings are easily substituted for the cream cheese filling for a traditional filled coffee cake. You may use the standard or over-sized crescent rolls. • Step-by-Step Photo Instructions for Easy King Cake Recipe12
Photo by Maria G.

PREP TIME

15

minutes

TOTAL TIME

30

minutes

SERVINGS

12

servings

PREP TIME

15

minutes

TOTAL TIME

30

minutes

SERVINGS

12

servings

Ingredients

  • Filling:

  • 4

    ounces (half of a large block) cream cheese

  • 1/2

    cup brown sugar, packed

  • 1/2

    teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4

    cup raisins, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, drained, and patted dry on paper towels

  • 1/2

    cup pecan halves

  • Cake:

  • 2

    rolls (total of 12 individual crescent rolls) refrigerated crescent rolls in the can

  • Icing:

  • 1-1/2

    cups confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)

  • 3 to 4

    Tablespoon (about) milk or cream

  • 1

    teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Purple, green, and yellow colored sugar crystals or food coloring

Directions

Place cream cheese4, brown sugar, cinnamon5, and raisins6 in the bowl of a food processor7 fitted with the metal blade. Process until combined. Add pecan8 halves and pulse until pecans are chopped to about 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a pizza pan or baking sheet with butter-flavored vegetable oil. Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into triangles. Position triangles next to each other with the points toward the center, overlapping the long sides about 1/4-inch, forming a large round. Where the pieces overlap, press the seams together only in the center of each seam, leaving either ends of the seams unsealed so you can fold them up over the filling. Spread the filling around in a ring covering the center sealed seam of each triangle. Place a small plastic baby or dried bean somewhere in the filling. (The person who gets this piece will have good luck for the year.) Fold the short side of each triangle toward the center just to the edge of the filling to cover. Then pull the point end of the triangles toward the outer rim of the pan to fully enclose the filling, tucking under the points. Lightly press the seams. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature. Whisk together the confectioners' sugar, milk or cream, and vanilla9 until smooth. The consistency should be fairly thick, but still thin enough to slowly drip down the sides. Add more milk as necessary. Spoon the icing in a ring over the top of the King Cake and allow it to slowly drip down the sides. To decorate for Mardi Gras10, sprinkle wide stripes of purple, green, and yellow colored sugar crystals. If using food coloring, whisk together icing as above. Divide icing evenly amongst 3 bowls. Add 2 drops each of red and blue food coloring11 to the first bowl to make purple. Use 2 drops each of yellow and green in the remaining 2 bowls. Scrape each individual bowl into its own ziptop bag. Squeeze out all the air and seal. Snip off one corner of the bag and use as a pastry bag to pipe wide stripes of icing on the King Cake. The bags will give you more control than using a spoon or spatula. The icing should firm up a bit in about an hour.

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