It isn’t a Mardi Gras celebration without a King Cake, but who has all of that time on their hands? Learn how to make a Mardi Gras King Cake the easy way with this “cheat” recipe. Who will be lucky enough to find the baby this year?
A Brief History of Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras Day has a moveable date that occurs on any Tuesday between February 3rd and March 9th. It is always the day before Ash Wednesday, and always falls exactly 46 days before Easter. In many areas, especially in the United States, the term Mardi Gras has come to mean the entire period related to the celebratory events leading up to the actual day.
While Mardi Gras is not observed nationally as an actual holiday throughout the United States, a number of traditionally ethnic French cities and regions in the country, notably Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and the southeastern part of Texas, enjoy elaborate celebrations. The traditions that surround these celebrations include parades, beads, parties, carnivals, and of course copious amounts of rich, French foods and customs.
A favorite and greatly-anticipate tradition, especially amongst the kids, is the annual Mardi Gras King Cake. The King Cake is a round to oval-shaped bakery delight that is a cross between a coffee cake and a French pastry. It’s as rich in history as it is in flavor and decorated in purple, green, and gold to match the occasion. In modern day, a small plastic baby is placed inside the cake and whoever finds the baby in their slice is then crowned king of the day and expected to host next year’s party and provide the King Cake.
Mardi Gras King Cake the Easy Way
If you are lucky enough to find the baby in this year’s slice, or if you just want to enjoy a Mardi Gras King Cake with your family for fun, we have a delightfully simple recipe that you’ll want to try!
Traditional King Cakes require a whole host of ingredients and an awful lot of time. In today’s busy world, we don’t always have the time to put together fancy meals or desserts for parties and celebrations like Mardi Gras, but that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on celebrating!
If you’re looking for a quick and simple way to get a King Cake ready for an upcoming party, this “cheat” recipe is exactly what you’re looking for. Full of the cinnamon flavor and flaky crust you’d get from a traditional King Cake, this recipe is affordable and the whole thing can be party ready in just under an hour!
- 3 12.4-oz cans refrigerated cinnamon roll dough with icing included
- 2 drops green food coloring
- 2 drops yellow food coloring
- 1 drop blue food coloring
- 1 drop red food coloring
- Green, purple, and gold sprinkles for topping
- 1 plastic baby, optional
- Heat oven to 375ºF.
- Open cans of cinnamon rolls and form each into a separate dough ball.
- Roll the balls out into 3 relatively even strands.
- Lay the 3 strands side by side, and crimp one end.
- Begin braiding the strands until you get to the end.
- Place the braid on a dark, non-stick pan (like a pizza pan) and form into an oval. Crimp the ends together so that it doesn't separate while baking.
- Bake at 375º for 15-17 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from oven, carefully poke plastic baby into one section of the cake, and let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Place icing in three separate bowls (they should be individually packaged in the cans so it's easy to split evenly between bowls).
- Add 2 drops of green food coloring to the first bowl, stir, and drizzle on two opposing sides of the King Cake. Cover those sections with green sprinkles.
- Add 2 drops of yellow food coloring to the next bowl, stir, and drizzle on two opposing, unfrosted sides of the King Cake. Cover those sections in gold sprinkles.
- Add 1 drop blue food coloring and 1 drop red food coloring to the last bowl, stir, and drizzle on the two remaining sections of the cake, then cover in purple sprinkles.
- Cut, serve, and enjoy!
Home Chef Tip: You might need to microwave the icing in 10 second increments so that it stays thin enough to drizzle over the cake. If you'd rather, you can frost the cake with a knife before adding sprinkles.
We hope you love this super simple recipe for Mardi Gras King Cake made the easy way as much as we do. If you love this delightful recipe, stop by our Desserts section to find more like it. If you’re looking for more recipes to prepare for your upcoming Mardi Gras celebrations, we have entrées, appetizers, breakfasts, and more that we know you’ll love! Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Pinterest for daily recipe inspiration. Enjoy!