Easy Mardi Gras King Cake
Happy Mardi Gras! This “Fat Tuesday” you can celebrate the last day before Lent with an easier version of the classic favorite. A traditional King Cake can be time-consuming and labor intensive. Here, I used a box of hot roll mix to simplify the recipe.
A King Cake is typically decorated with purple (symbolizing Justice), green (symbolizing Faith) and gold (symbolizing Power). Along with some beads and coins, this colorful treat can be the centerpiece of any Mardi Gras celebration!
EASY MARDI GRAS KING CAKE
Cake and Filling:
1 box (16 ounces) hot roll mix
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/2 Tablespoons water
Purple, green, and yellow food coloring
Granulated sugar; or flaky-style colored sprinkles of the same colors
1. Prepare the hot roll mix dough according to package directions. Instead of forming into rolls, roll the dough on a floured surface to a rectangle 24″ long by 12″ wide. Spread the butter evenly over the surface, leaving a 1-inch edge. Stir together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle evenly over the butter. Scatter on pecans. Beginning at one long 24″ end, roll the dough into a long cigar shape toward the center, but stop rolling once you reach the halfway point; then roll the other end of the dough in the same manner until it reaches the other in the middle. Bring the ends together to form an oval shape and pinch the edges to seal. Carefully transfer, seam side down, to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Don’t worry if it shifts a little; just reform into an oval shape. Cover with a tea towel or paper towels and let rise for about 30 minutes or until it gets puffy.
2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for about 25 minutes or until dough is cooked through and golden brown. Let cool completely before icing.
3. For icing: Stir together the confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth. Divide into 3 parts. Add purple food coloring to one, green to another, and yellow to the last. Stir well to blend in coloring. Frost the pastry in sections, alternating colors. (see photo)
4. If you cannot find sprinkles of the same colors as the icing, just take about a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar per each of 3 jars or small plastic containers. Add the same food coloring to the 3 containers as you did for the icing and shake to blend the color. Sprinkle the purple sugar over the purple icing, and repeat for remaining colors. You can skip this step if desired, and just have the frosting. It just makes a fun added touch to add the colored sugar or sprinkles.
*Note: It is tradition to hide a small plastic baby inside the cake. Whoever gets the slice with the baby is supposed to host the party the following year. But remember – DO NO BAKE the cake with the baby inside! This will leave you with a melty mess! I like to slip the toy in a crack underneath the cake once it is out of the oven and cool. Just make sure to tell your guests to inspect their slice before eating. Another option is to hide a pecan inside the cake and then simply place the toy outside the cake for everyone to see and enjoy!
Looking for more recipes to celebrate Mardi Gras? Check out these great contributions from our Better Recipes community: