Not to be outdone with Mardi Gras parades and beads, Mardi Gras King Cake is a yummy tradition worth waiting for. Some traditions say whoever finds the baby doll (usually a Baby Jesus figurine) placed inside the King Cake would be responsible to make the King Cake the following year.
Eat King Cake on Fat Tuesday, Before the Beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday
The most traditional King Cake is a ring of twisted cinnamon roll-style bread topped with icing or sugar, usually colored purple, green, and gold which are the traditional Mardi Gras colors. Most King Cakes have a small small trinket placed inside. Other traditions say the person who finds the trinket is declared the King or Queen of the day, or hosts the next Mardi Gras party.
Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe from King Arthur Flour
The flavors of King Cake, Mardi Gras' signature confection, are mirrored in these nutmeg and lemon-scented cupcakes. Cream cheese icing, garnished with sparkling sugars in traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras colors, add the perfect touch.
This King Cake recipe comes from King Arthur Flour who provided the gold, purple and green sparkling sugars for the King Cake and cupcakes. King Arthur Flour also has a King Cake Kit which includes just about everything you need to make an authentic Mardi Gras King Cake.
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
- 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
- 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, white reserved
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon lemon oil, or 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/2 cup Lemon Bits or lemon chips, optional
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon + ½ to 1 teaspoon milk, enough to make a thick but pourable glaze
- Yellow, purple, and green sparkling sugars
- Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients to make a smooth, soft dough.
- Let the dough rise, covered, for 1 hour.
- Place 12 mini-panettone papers on a baking sheet. Or line a standard muffin pan with cupcake papers, and grease the papers.
- With greased hands, divide the sticky dough into 12 equal pieces, forming each into a smooth ball.
- Place the balls of dough into the papers. Cover the pan, and let the cakes rise for 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Whisk the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon water, and brush it over the cakes.
- Bake the cakes for 20 minutes, then tent them lightly with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until they're a deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
- Beat together the icing ingredients, dribbling in the final teaspoon of milk until the icing is thick yet pourable.
- Dip the top of each cake in the icing, or drizzle icing over the tops of the cakes. While the icing is still tacky, sprinkle with the colored sugars.
- Yield: 12 cakes.
Recipe and Photo used with permission from King Arthur Flour.