No Mardi Gras season is complete without a king cake. A traditional king cake is made with a brioche style dough mixed with cinnamon and sugar, then topped with a glaze and sprinkled with color sugars. Making brioche dough can be time consuming so I took a little shortcut. My easy mini king cake recipe captures the essence of a traditional king cake.
Back in Louisiana, you could pick up a freshly baked king cake at every grocery store and bakery. My local grocery store sells king cake but it disappoints me every time. When I only had one kid, we made king cakes from scratch. This time, I’m cheating with refrigerated cinnamon roll dough. While it’s not the same as eating a real king cake, these mini king cakes will be a hit with the kids.
Make sure you find the cinnamon rolls that are actually rolled dough and not biscuit-like. I used Pillsbury Flaky Cinnamon Rolls with butter cream icing. Don’t throw away the icing because we’re going to use it for the glaze. Because of the shortcut (no waiting for yeast to rise), your kids can help unroll and braid/twist the strips to make the mini king cakes. I used 2 strips per king cake. Shape them into a circle and pinch the ends to keep the shape.
Once they mini king cakes have cooled, just glaze/ice and sprinkle sugar on top. Each Mardi Gras color has a special meaning: purple represents justice, green is faith, and gold represents power. If you want, you can hide a “baby” inside by poking it through the bottom. If you can’t find a little plastic baby in your area, go the traditional route and stick a dry red bean instead.
- 1 can of refrigerated Pillsbury cinnamon roll dough (recommended)
- ¼ c powdered sugar
- 2 tsp milk
- Colored sugar crystals in gold, green, and purple (Mardi Gras colors)
- Dried red bean or plastic baby (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Remove cinnamon roll dough from the can and separate the rolls.
- Unroll 2 sections into strips. Stack them and pinch them together at one end.
- Loosely "braid" the strips.
- Shape the braid into a circle and pinch ends to keep its shape. Repeat with remaining 6 strips to form 4 mini king cakes.
- Bake on a grease cook sheet for 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- While the king cakes cool, make icing by mixing icing from the can with powdered sugar and milk. If icing is too runny, add a teaspoon of powdered sugar. If too thick, a splash of milk
- Spoon icing onto cooled cake and sprinkle with the color sugar, making sure each cake has all three colors.