It’s almost time for Mardi Gras! This calls for a celebration and in true New Orleans fashion – everyone’s invited.
Mardi Gras is a celebration of food, music, creativity, festivity and joy. Mardi Gras is the love of life.
Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of then Lenten season. That’s 40 days of penance and self-deprivation leading to the celebration of Easter. So, this is the party before the penance. (Of course, I know lots more people who celebrate Fat Tuesday then actually observe Lent. Not judging. Just sayin’.)
The king cake is centuries old custom. Traditionally, a small porcelain or plastic baby (to symbolize baby Jesus), or other trinket like a coin or sometimes a bean is hidden inside the cake. Today, whoever finds the trinket in his or her slice of cake is assured prosperity, good luck, and is designated “king” or “queen” for the evening. Oh, and must provide the next king cake or host the next Mardi Gras party.
So, let’s celebrate like a NOLA “The Big Easy” native with this easy and delicious short-cut king cake.
This cake is super easy because we use canned crescent rolls and a delicious creamy cinnamon and nut filling made in minutes with your mini food processor. It’s addictive! Everyone will ask for your recipe.
If you’re throwing a Mardi Gras party these supplies will come in handy
On a side note, most bakers have started placing the baby outside of the cake, and leaving the hiding to the customer who can insert the baby from the bottom of the cake. This is because there is a potential of customers choking on or swallowing the baby, and bakers want to stay clear of this liability. Just be sure your guests know there’s a surprise inside the cake.
Nothing ruins a party like having to Heimlich the baby Jesus out of your Aunt Tilly’s windpipe.
Ready? Let’s make a king cake!
SHORT CUT KING CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FILLING
Serves 8-10 normally or 6 obnoxiously.
What You’ll Need:
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ cups raisins – plumped in warm water (or bourbon!) 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 (8-ounce) cans crescent rolls
- Mardi Gras Colored Icing (recipe below)
- Preheat oven 350°F. In a food processor or small bowl with a hand mixer; blend cream cheese, vanilla, brown sugar, pecans and raisins until well combined. Fight the urge to eat this with a spoon. They call it “Fat Tuesday” for a reason.
- Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface. Unroll the crescent rolls and separate them into triangles at perforations.
- Form a circle by placing triangles with the skinny points meeting in the center, overlapping the sides by about ¼ inch. About halfway down from points, press seams together. To be sure you’re on the road to a complete circle; every 4 triangles needs to make ¼ of the circle.
- Evenly spoon the cream cheese filling in a ring, half way between the center and outside of the circle.
- Now is when you’d hide the baby or trinket in the filling. Living on the edge.
- Fold the wide ends of the triangle over the filling, toward the middle.
- Next, pull the thin ends from the middle toward the outside to enclose the filling. Gently press the seams to close. Use the parchment paper to move the king cake to a baking sheet or pizza pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool and drizzle with Mardi Gras icing.
Mardi Gras Icing: 1 ½ cup powdered sugar, 2 ½ tablespoons milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, yellow, green, red and blue food coloring. In small bowl, combine all ingredients except food color. Divide mixture into three bowls and color each part with food coloring. In the first bowl add a few drops of green coloring to symbolize faith. In the second add a few drops yellow to symbolize power. In the last add equal amounts of red and blue coloring to make purple symbolizing justice.
As an option, you can keep the icing white and sprinkle with colored sugar in Mardi Gras colors.
I seem to have misplaced my baby Jesus. My son wanted me to substitute Steve from Minecraft. He called him The Baby Steveus”. No disrespect intended. A fava bean would be more traditional.
This short cut recipe is delicious and so versatile. You can make it work for any holiday by changing the color of the icing. Green and white for St. Patrick’s Day, pastels for Easter, red and green for Christmas.
Handy recipe to have, right?
Whether you’re enjoying this recipe for Mardi Gras or any other time of year . . .
As they say in New Orleans – Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler! Let the good times roll!