Monday, February 11, 2013

Mardi Gras King Cake

Mary's King Cake
    Recently there were a few of us in the office that had birthdays very close to each other and some of our coworkers got together and brought in some cool goodies for snacks. One of the girls brought in a Mardi Gras "King Cake." This is a dish with culture and history behind it that I'd never had so I was intrigued.
    For Mardi Gras, it's a New Orleans tradition to make a ring-shaped cakes topped with colorful gold, green and purple icings. In the cake there is a plastic baby Jesus hidden in the center. Whoever gets the baby is supposed to have good luck for the next year and be "King" (or Queen) for the day. 
    This version of the New Orleans tradition is more like a coffee cake instead of a "cake" cake. It's made with croissant rolls and very light, with a cinnamon and cream cheese filling. It's as fun to eat as it is to see.

English: King cake purchased from Rouses in Ho...
English: King cake purchased from Rouses in Houma, LA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
King Cake
2 tubes (8 oz. ea.) refrigerated crescent rolls
8 oz. cream cheese
4 T. confectioners' sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
Icing -
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 T. milk
red, blue,yellow and green food coloring
colored sugar crystals
(for lighter version use reduced-fat rolls and cream cheese)

Unroll tubes of dough and separate into triangles. Place on greased 12 inch pizza pan, making a ring with points in center and overlapping big ends.

In small bowl, beat cream cheese, confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Spoon over wide ends of ring. In another small bowl, mix brown sugar, butter and cinnamon until crumbly. Sprinkle on cream cheese mixture.

Fold points over filling and then fold wide ends over points. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until golden. Cool for at least 5 minutes.

Mix confectioner's sugar, vanilla and milk. Divide icing between 3 bowls. Tint one bowl yellow, one green and in another bowl mix red and blue to make purple. Drizzle over cake. Top with colored sprinkles. Serves 16.

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