Sunday, February 10, 2013

Super Easy Mardi Gras King Cake!

So…I should probably be updating you all about my Canadian vaycay, right?  Well, I had a post all written up for our time in Whistler… and then BAM… my editor crashed and ate the post.  After about a minute of cursing…I decided it was time to take a break and get back to cooking.

And in case you haven’t heard, there’s a big par-tay going on in New Orleans right now.  Maybe you even hit up a local pub crawl this weekend in its honor.  Tuesday is MARDI GRAS, y’all!  And this is the first year since 2004 that I haven’t gotten to attend a Louisiana Mardi Gras celebration in some shape or form.  Because you don’t have to be in NOLA right NOW…there’s a whole Carnival Season that started WEEKS ago, all across the Gulf Coast.  Last year, my Hubs & I got to ride in the Scott City Mardi Gras parade.  I’m sad I missed out this year.

Our church group had a small gathering this weekend, so of course, I decided to throw together a King Cake since I was in charge of the desserts.  But I didn’t have a lot of time to make dough from scratch.  Thankfully, some other brilliant person realized that refrigerated cinnamon roll dough makes a perfect substitute. 

I decided to make two small King Cakes—one for the church group, and then another later on this week.



3 tubes cinnamon rolls, room temp

Filling #1 (Cream Cheese & Cherry)

2 oz fat free cream cheese

1/4 c powdered sugar

1 Tbsp flour

1/4 tsp vanilla

splash of skim milk

1/2 cup low-sugar cherry pie filling

Filling #2 (Praline)

1/8 cup light butter

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

(Note: if you decide you only want to make one big King Cake with one type of filling, just double the ingredients for that filling so you have enough.)


Knead the 3 cans of dough together in a large bowl, then turn out onto a floured surface.  Roll into a large rectangle.

For the Cream Cheese Cherry option: combine the cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla, & milk  until smooth, then spread onto half of the rectangle.  Spoon the cherry pie filling on top of that. Don’t spread it all the way out the edge—leave yourself about an inch on each side.


For the Praline filling:  Combine the ingredients until thorough mixed, then spread on half of the rectangle.  Don’t spread it all the way out the edge—leave yourself about an inch on each side.

Fold the filling-covered portion on top of itself, pinch the ends so that the filling won’t ooze out, and then roll up the rest of the way.  Twist around to form a ring, with the seam facing down. Pinch the ends together.


Congrats, you have a giant bagel.

Bake at 375F for about 30-35 minutes. 

While that’s baking, make your own colored sugar for the top!  This is so simple and brilliant, I can’t understand why I never did it before.

Get one ziploc baggie for each color you need.  My food coloring box came with green, blue, red, and yellow, so two of the colors you need are easy-peasy.  Add some sugar to the bag, drop in a drop or two of coloring, close the bag, and then just shake and mix and rub until all the sugar is uniformly colored.

For the purple, you’ll combine blue & red in equal parts.  If you accidentally use too much color and it’s really dark, just add more sugar to lighten it up.


Purple for Justice, Green for Faith, Gold for Power.

Now…here’s the BONUS brilliant bit.  You know those icing packets that come with the cinnamon rolls? Yup…that’s the glaze for the top of your cake! Once the cake has cooled, spread one of the icing packets across the top.  Sprinkle your colored sugar on top of that.


Have a Happy Mardi Gras, guys!!!


  1. Bingo! I LOVE this idea! We do the usual pancake thing on Shrove Tuesday, but I've never had a dessert for it ... now I do! Thanks!

  2. No problem! I hope you like it! In Louisiana, there are tons of different filling options available, so you could really do whatever you wanted. Some traditionalists do just cinnamon & sugar, some just add cream cheese, some do fruit filling with no cream cheese. It's all about your preference!