It's quite possible that I am developing an unhealthy obsession for making miniature desserts. First it was the Mini Pies for Derby, then it was the Mini Pumpkin Pies for Thanksgiving. Now, it's Mini King Cakes (Prince Cakes?) for Mardi Gras!
King Cakes are a traditional food in New Orleans, Louisiana during the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras. The tradition goes that a plastic baby or other charm is hidden inside once the cake is cooked, and then the cake is decorated with icing and purple, green, and gold sugar (colors representing justice, faith, and power). The person who gets the piece with the baby inside must bake the King Cake for the next gathering, and so it goes until Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.
In Louisville, we have a kinship with Louisiana, given that we are both named for French Monarchs (Louisiana for Louis XIV and Louisville, Kentucky for Louis XVI) and the Fleur de lis is a major symbol for both the cities of New Orleans and Louisville. Louisville also has the highest number of shotgun-style homes next to New Orleans.
So to celebrate Mardi Gras, I thought it would be fun to make these easy mini King Cakes, using cinnamon rolls as a shortcut to the traditional sweet bread dough.
You only need 3 simple supplies for these tasty cakes: a can of cinnamon rolls (with icing), colored sugar in gold or yellow, green, and purple, and a plastic baby!
After opening your can of cinnamon rolls (8 rolls will make 4 mini King cakes), preheat your oven as directed. My package called for 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take one cinnamon roll and split it at the side to create a crescent shape. Do this with one more cinnamon roll. Next, twist the ends of these two crescent shapes together and then twist into a circle.
Press the other two ends of dough together to complete the circle. This makes one mini King Cake. Bake your King Cakes as directed on the cinnamon roll packaging. In my case, I baked four mini King Cakes for 13 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
The finished mini King Cakes are so pretty!
Pick one of the mini King Cakes to hide the plastic baby or charm inside once they have been cooked. Cooking the plastic charm inside the oven is not recommended! Now you are ready to decorate. The great thing about using cinnamon rolls for these mini King Cakes is that you already have the icing too!
To make the icing go on smoothly, just heat it in a glass bowl in the microwave for about 10 seconds, and drizzle on the cake with a spoon. You must sprinkle the sugar on the icing before it dries, so I recommend icing and sugaring each mini cake one at a time.
Remember to sprinkle each cake with gold, green, and purple sugar: the traditional colors of Mardi Gras! There's really no wrong way to decorate or make these mini King Cakes. The more homemade they look, the better, in my opinion!
Don't they just look yummy?! Trust me, they are! These are the perfect treat for Fat Tuesday, right before the traditional fasting season of Lent. I hope that you enjoy making these mini King Cakes. They are so easy to make using the cinnamon roll dough and icing as shortcuts. This year Mardi Gras is on Tuesday, March 4, so you have plenty of time to make these cakes and get into the holiday spirit.