Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Mardi Gras! (& King Cake Cupcakes!)

The Big Day is upon us!  The day when all of my Louisiana friends are off work, enjoying parades or just lounging at home, recovering from the month of parades prior to today.

And here I am…in Missouri, with 40 degree weather, and yes…I have to work today.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t still celebrate a little bit!  Same goes for you!

You can watch WWL’s
live coverage of the New Orleans parades today on their website!

And…you can make cupcakes.  Like I did, for my coworkers.

kingcake 002

These were really easy (aside from the ones that were really hard, but we’ll get to that in a minute).  I wanted to capture the flavors of a traditional king cake without all the work.  So we use a box mix as our base, but add cinnamon, brown sugar, and cream cheese.


Ingredients: (makes about 12-16 cupcakes)

1 box golden or butter cake mix

3 eggs

1/2 cup skim milk

1/2 cup applesauce

1.5 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 oz fat free cream cheese, room temperature

Icing packet from a cinnamon roll tube (or you can make fresh glaze with 2 tbsp milk, 1/2 c powdered sugar, and a splash of vanilla)

purple, yellow, and green colored sugar (read more about making your own colored sugar here)

Muffin liners (DO NOT attempt this recipe without these!)



Preheat the oven to 350F, and prepare two 12-cup muffin trays with liners.  This is VERY essential.*

Beat all the ingredients together (except the glaze and the colored sugar), and then use an ice cream scoop (1/2 cup batter) to portion the batter into the cups.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown & cooked through.

Let cool for about 15 minutes on a baker’s rack, and then top with a dollop of glaze, and spread across the cupcake.  Sprinkle your colored sugars over the top in thirds to represent the colors of Mardi Gras (purple for justice, green for faith, gold for power).

kingcake 005

Now…here’s the dealio.  I didn’t follow my own advice. I am giving you the “I screwed up, but here’s how to fix it” version.  I had a limited number of muffin liners, so I only lined one of my muffin tins.  The other I just spritzed with cooking spray.

But this dough (probably because of the brown sugar and cream cheese) is EXTRA sticky, so when I went to turn out the cupcakes… only the tops came out.

After I resisted the urge to throw the pan on the kitchen floor (where my pug would have happily devoured the stuck cupcake bottoms), my brilliant husband suggested trying to mold the pieces together using the ice cream scoop.  Which made me think of CAKE TRUFFLES!

So I mixed in the remaining glaze into this Bowl Of Disaster:

kingcake 001

I tried a couple different molding methods—the ice cream scoop didn’t work out because the cake+glaze was too sticky, so instead, I used a small circle cookie cutter and just pressed the “dough” into the middle to make a form.  Then I dusted the tops with colored sugar.  It worked out perfectly!  They taste just like the cupcakes.  So now, I share this with the world, in case anyone else happens to screw up while making cupcakes.  All is not lost!  DO NOT THROW THAT PAN ON THE FLOOR!

kingcake 012


  1. Next year I'm making sure I'm in the office for Mardi Gras (I would have been had Boss not been moving...) No one in the St. Louis office makes yummy treats like this.

    Note - I purchased 500 muffin liners from websturant.com. It was less then $10 and totally worth it.