Yesterday was the official kickoff of Carnival Season, aka MARDI GRAS here in Louisiana!
This means king cake, parades, good music, and loads of fun. And if you’re brave enough to head down to New Orleans (which everyone should do at least once in their life, put Mardi Gras in NOLA on your Bucket List. Trust me!) you’ll see sights you cannot imagine and one of the world’s largest parties!
My kids are huge fans of king cake and parades. There are a few bakeries around here that have not to be missed king cakes, but it’s really quite simple to make your own.
“A king cake (sometimes rendered as kingcake, kings’ cake, king’s cake, or three kings cake) is a type of cake associated with the festival of Epiphany in the Christmas season in a number of countries, and in other places with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras / Carnival. It is a popular food item during the Christmas season (Christmas Eve to Epiphany) in Lebanon, France, Belgium, Quebec and Switzerland (galette or gâteau des Rois), Portugal (bolo rei), Spain, and Spanish America (roscón or rosca de reyes and tortell in Catalonia), Greece and Cyprus (vasilopita) and Bulgaria (banitsa). In the United States, Carnival is traditionally observed in the Southeastern region of the country, particularly in New Orleans, Mobile, AL, other towns and cities of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, on the southeast Texas island of Galveston, and Louisiana. In this region, the king cake is closely associated with Mardi Gras traditions and is served throughout the Carnival season, which lasts from Epiphany Eve to Fat Tuesday.
The cake has a small trinket (often a small plastic baby, said to represent Baby Jesus) inside (or sometimes placed underneath), and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations.” (Facts from Wikipedia)
It’s a doughy, sugary, messy bunch of deliciousness!
I personally like mine filled with blueberry and cream cheese, strawberry and cream cheese, or just cinnamon and cream cheese, but there are many many filling combinations to choose from. I really don’t think there’s a wrong way to fill a King Cake. 🙂
Here’s a super easy recipe:
Fast and Easy Louisiana King Cake
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1 cup fruit preserves if you like fruit filling
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (if you like filling)
Icing packets from the cinnamon rolls
3/4 cup sugar, divided into 3 parts
food coloring (gold, purple, green)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a baking sheet.
- Open the cans of cinnamon roll dough and unroll the dough from each can. Mash together and roll to seal perforations for individual cinnamon rolls. combine the 2 cans and roll to make a log. Fold this in half, and roll slightly to make a fat log. Shape to make a ring, overlapping the ends and pinching them together to make a complete circle. (if you want filling, cut dough down the middle and fill with cream cheese and fruit preserves, then roll back up and make your ring, sealing the ends.)
Brush the top generously with melted butter.
- Bake in preheated oven until firm to the touch and golden brown, about 15-22 minutes. Check a few times to make sure you are not overbaking, but you want the middle set. Insert toothpick into the middle and it’s done when it comes out clean.
Remove from the oven when done and brush the top with remaining butter while still warm.
(Once completely cool <about half an hour> insert plastic baby if you are using one.)
- Drizzle cinnamon roll icing over the top of the king cake and used dyed sugar on the top.
(Divide your sugar into 3 bowls and add a bit of food coloring <purple, green, and yellow/gold> to dye your sugar. Allow to dry. You may want to dye your sugar while your cake is cooking)
Dust the cake with multi-colored sugar (can also add sprinkles), then cut into it and enjoy!Whomever ends up with the baby buys or makes the next king cake!
Laissez les bons temps rouler!