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!
For the Dough:
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- 1 cup 8 ounces sour cream
- 3½ Tablespoons 1.75 ounces granulated sugar
- 3-1/2 cups 17.5 ounces all purpose flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
For the Filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
For the Icing:
- 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 2-1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Dough: Add the dough ingredients to the bread machine in the order listed. Select the dough cycle, and start the machine. Check the dough after five minutes of mixing, and add 1 to 2 more Tablespoons of water or flour if the dough is too dry or wet. If making the night before, remove dough to large oiled bowl as soon as the kneading finishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. If using the same day, allow the machine to complete the dough cycle. Makes approximately 32 ounces of dough.
- For the Fillings: Beat 8 ounces of cream cheese with ½ cup confectioners' sugar until smooth. Set aside. Mix 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 4 Tablespoons melted butter until combined. Set aside.
- Making Mini-King Cakes: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place dough on a floured surface. Divide into 4 pieces, 8 ounces each. Form each piece into a 12-inch log. Roll into a 15-inch x 6-inch rectangle. Trim the edges as needed. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the dough to within 1-inch of the edges. Spread cinnamon/sugar mixture on the cream cheese to within 1-inch of the edges of the dough.
- Starting at one of the long edges, roll the dough tightly into a 15-inch log; pinch seam to seal log. Place the rolled dough onto the prepared baking sheet, seam side down, and form the dough into a ring. Carefully place one end into other end; pinch to seal. Moisten the ends of the dough with a little water; pinch the two ends together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover with a cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the cakes in preheated oven until the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- Mix the ingredients for the icing to make a smooth, but not thin glaze.
- Remove the cake from the oven, and cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack. While the cake is still warm, spread the glaze on cake, allowing drips of glaze to dribble down the sides and center of the cake. If using sprinkles to decorate while cake is still warm. Otherwise, decorate as desired. Yield: 4 Mini- King Cakes.