For a Mardi Gras tradition that you can enjoy at home, try making a Mardi Gras king cake. King cake is a New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition that involves a small plastic baby tucked inside of a tasty cake. The "cake" is really a pastry decorated with icing and sprinkled with purple, gold, and green sugar. The twist? A small plastic baby is hidden inside this special cake.
According to tradition, whoever gets the slice of cake that contains the baby has various rights and privileges including the responsibility of hosting the next Mardi Gras party.
Having trouble finding a little plastic baby to tuck inside your cake? Switch it out for a pecan or an orange slice for a safer king cake. Be sure to share the king cake tradition with your guests and tell them to be on the look out for the little prize!
Follow this recipe for how to make your own king cake:
2 rolls (total of 12 individual crescent rolls)
4 ounces cream cheese (half of a large block)
½ cup brown sugar (packed)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup raisins (soaked in hot water for 15 minutes then drained)
½ cup pecan halves
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tbs. milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Purple, green, and yellow sugar crystals
Place cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins in a food processor. Add pecans and continue to blend until pecans are chopped to ¼ inch pieces. Pour this cream cheese filling into a bowl and set aside.
Unroll crescent roll dough onto a greased baking sheet. Separate the triangles and position them next to each other with the points toward the center. Overlap the long sides about ¼ inch and press the seams together. Spread the cream cheese filling around in a circle covering the sealed seam of each triangle. Place a small plastic baby somewhere in the filling.
Next, fold the short side of each triangle toward the center to the edge of the filling to cover and then pull the point to the outer rim of the pan. Tuck the points under the dough which will full enclose the filling. Lightly press the seams. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown at 350 degrees.
While the cake is baking, you can mix up the icing. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Once the cake is done baking and has cooled, spoon the icing over the top of the King Cake. Allow it to slowly drip down the sides. Decorate the top using stripes of the colored sugar crystals.