The Mardi Gras King Cake of New Orleans comes in a number of styles. The most traditional style is a ring of twisted cinnamon roll dough topped with icing. Then, it is decorated with purple, green, and gold sugar or sprinkles. As an added treat, the King Cake may be filled with cream cheese. Whatever the filling, the King Cake is a traditional staple of the Mardi Gras Season.
When Susan and I were in New Orleans, we sampled two variations of King Cake. One was at our cooking class and the other was at Sucré. Sucré is a New Orleans confectioner whose King Cakes had been previously voted the “Best.”Well, no offense, but we found both of these to be marginal at best. We knew that ours was truly the “Best”!
In the past, we’ve made full sized King Cakes. This time, we thought that it would be fun to make Mini-King Cakes, and play with different decorations.
I used the following ingredients for the dough: Water, salt, butter, egg, sour cream, sugar, all purpose flour and yeast.
As in the past, I used my little bread machine to make the dough. I added the ingredients to the pan of the bread machine in the order listed, and started it on the dough cycle. This time, however, I made the dough the night before. As soon as the kneading was finished, I removed the dough from the bread machine and placed it in a large oiled mixing cup. Then, I covered the cup with plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator. I’ve found that refrigerated dough is generally easier to work with than room temperature dough.
The next morning, the dough had risen nicely. I removed it from the refrigerator and placed it on a lightly floured piece of wax paper. I ended up with 32 ounces of dough. Because I was making Mini-King Cakes, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces that were 8 ounces each. I knew that I needed to roll the dough into a rectangle. Therefore, to make the job easier, I formed each piece into a log about 12-inches long.
Making the Mini-King Cakes
Before actually rolling the dough into rectangles, though, I made the two fillings: Cream cheese mixed with confectioners’ sugar; and melted butter mixed with granulated sugar and ground cinnamon.
I rolled each dough log into a rectangle roughly 15-inches long and 6-inches wide. Using an offset spatula, I spread some of the cream cheese mixture on the rectangle. I made sure to leave about 1-inch free on one of the long edges (this is the edge that I will seal). Then, I spread the cinnamon/sugar mixture on top of the cream cheese. Again, I leftl about 1-inch free on one of the long sides. Starting with the opposite long side, I carefully rolled the dough in jelly roll fashion, and sealed it by pinching the dough together.
Into a preheated 350° F oven the Mini-King Cakes went for about 20 minutes, until they were golden brown. While they were cooking, I made the cream cheese icing by beating together cream cheese, unsalted butter, vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar.
When the Mini-King Cakes came out of the oven, I let them sit for about 10 minutes before I iced them. Now came the decorating variations on the theme as shown below. Susan decorated two of the Mini-King Cakes, and I decorated the other two.
Rather than cook the plastic baby in the cake, Susan positioned one on each of the Mini-King Cakes. Laissez les bons temps rouler! Yum!