King cake is the delectable sweet roll of New Orleans served from January 6 ("King’s Day") to Mardi Gras. It marks the end of the Christmas season and the dawn of the carnival. Made of flaky crescent roll dough, butter and lots of sugar, it’s as tasty as it is festive—topped with the traditional colors of gold, purple and green. And there’s a twist: a plastic baby baked in for a special surprise. The unsuspecting individual who receives the piece of cake with the infant inside is said to enjoy good luck, and is tasked with baking the cake for the following year. So, if you’re planning a night of Mardi Gras madness, the king cake is a must. Here’s how to make this carnival classic:
- 1 (12 ounce) can crescent rolls
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄4 cup butter
- 1 (21 ounce) can fruit pie filling (cherry, blueberry or peach)
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1⁄2 cup icing (see below for instructions/ingredients)
- 3⁄4 cup sugar, divided into 3 parts
- Food coloring (gold, purple, green)
- Plastic baby
Step 1: Unroll crescent rolls in one piece. With your fingers, press seams together to form a single piece of dough.
Step 2: Mix together butter and cinnamon, and gently spread over the dough.
Step 3: Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar. Drop teaspoons over the top of the dough. Drop teaspoonfuls of pie filling over the dough as you did the cream cheese.
Step 4: Starting on the long end, carefully roll the dough horizontally with the filling and cream cheese inside. Insert plastic baby at any place within the dough.
Step 5: Place on a baking pan with the seam side down in a circle, pinching the ends together.
Step 6: Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Step 7: While the cake is baking, use the food coloring to dye the sugar.
Step 8: For icing, combine 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 tbsp. water until smooth.
Step 9: When cake is cool, pour icing over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the colored sugar, alternating the three colors as you go around the circle.
Serve surrounded by a handful of colorful Mardi Gras beads for an instant party favorite!