Quickie King Cake

Sometimes Mardi Gras sneaks up on you. You wouldn't think so, as it is a set day every year - the day before Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter, and the whole Mardi Gras season actually starts on Three Kings Day (January 6) so, again, you think you'd have time to plan. Well, Mardi Gras snuck up on us. We managed to (barely) get our crawfish order in on time to have them delivered on Fat Tuesday, but the king cakes were outrageously expensive, if not sold out entirely. 

Amy hemmed and hawed and finally came up with a plan, inspired by a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls in the fridge and the vague memory of making some sort of stuffed holiday wreath appetizer with them at someone's Pampered Chef party years ago.

This particular version is simple enough to be worthy of the Big Easy itself, where King Cake rules tables in office lunch rooms and teacher lounges for the first two months of the year. Someone starts by bringing in the first cake, and the person who finds a plastic baby in their slice gets the dubious honor luck of bringing in the next one. Needless to say, King Cake has ruined many a New Year's resolution. 

The colors of Mardi Gras have meaning, so remember that when you are decorating - purple stands for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. And don't forget to put a plastic mini baby doll (or dried kidney bean) somewhere inside for luck.

If Mardi Gras snuck up on you, too, you still have time to grab a few ingredients and make this quickie version before midnight rolls around. 

Happy Mardi Gras! Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Quickie King Cake 

1 8-ounce container whipped cream cheese
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cans refrigerated croissant/crescent roll dough
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 plastic mini baby doll or dried kidney bean
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
purple, green and gold colored sugar

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla, and the cinnamon until well-combined. 

2. Unroll each piece of dough in a circle with the flat sides of the triangles on the outside of the circle and the pointed ends of the triangles in the center of the circle, slightly overlapping each other. 

3. Spoon the cream cheese mixture about half way out, then sprinkle with the chopped pecans, if using. Place the baby somewhere on there.

4. Flip each piece of dough over the cream cheese mixture and press on it the seam in the center so it doesn't leak out.

5. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, until golden brown and allow to cool completely.

6. Whisk together the sugar, milk and remaining teaspoon of vanilla to make the glaze. Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to drip over the sides.

7. While the glaze is still wet, decorate with purple, green and gold sugar.

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