Happy Mardi Gras, y’all! During Carnival time, the only thing that comes close to my love of drinking daiquiris on the parade route is my love of eating king cake… lots and lots of king cake. There is something about purple, green and gold sugar that just tastes better.
Since I moved away from New Orleans, it has been impossible to find king cake to satisfy my craving. I wanted to make a traditional cake, but I waited to start baking until 10 p.m,. and apparently you have to let most recipes rise for two hours. Instead, I found a few recipes for king cake cupcakes (from Cupcake Project and Ptit Chef) that I adapted, and they turned out fabulously well.
Notes: If you have never tried king cake before, since the recipe uses yeast, the consistency is less like cake and more like a delicious cinnamon roll. I left out the baby because I didn’t have a creepy plastic baby lying around. You could also use a pecan half if you so desire.
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Three small prep bowls of sugar, tinted with food coloring to be purple, green and gold
1 cup chopped sugared pecans (or if you have regular pecans, you could add brown sugar)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup melted butter
Cinnamon to taste
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. softened butter
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (if you have it; we were out, so I had to skip it)
A little cinnamon to taste
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes until it is frothy.
2. Mix in the butter, eggs, salt and the other 1/4 cup of sugar (you can do this by hand or using a mixer). Add flour and mix until you have a soft ball of dough.
3. Cover with a towel and let the dough sit in a warm place for an hour until it doubles in size (I put the bowl in the slightly warmed oven with the door cracked.)
4. While the dough is rising, make the filling. Mix all the ingredients together and set aside.
5. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured surface and roll into a large rectangle. Spread the filling in a line down the middle of the rectangle so it is covered evenly.
6. Fill two cupcake pans with cupcake liners. Roll the dough up so it forms a long cylinder. Cut off small pieces (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches) and place each in a cupcake liner. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
7. While the cupcakes are in the oven, make the frosting using a stand-up or handheld mixer. Mix all the ingredients until fluffy and smooth.
8. Cool the cupcakes, then frost and sprinkle with colored sugar.
9. Devour and enjoy!
I was so distracted by my sugar rush that I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Photo credit goes to Meringue Bake Shop.