easy king cake

Ever since I was young,  I have been disturbed by the concept putting trinkets into cake.  

Yule logs with coins in them, Epiphany cakes with thimbles in them, Mardi Gras king cakes with babies in them (plastic babies).  They’re all a disaster waiting to happen. 
I’m expecting to bite into a soft, sweet, cream cheese laden cake, and then ouch! I just chipped my tooth on a plastic baby Jesus.  How do I know that the “lucky” coin hidden in my slice of yule log wasn’t on the floor of the subway last week… not feelin’ so lucky anymore. Or worse yet, what if someone choked on the thimble in the Epiphany cake? That would be awkward. so.many.issues

The lore behind the Mardi Gras king cake is that the person who gets the slice with the baby wins.  Winning means that they have to host the next King Cake party.  To some that would be a real treat (I would have a field day buying my weight in cream cheese and sanding sugar), others not so much. 
So if last year you were the one to get the slice with the baby in it, were lucky enough not to choke/chip any teeth on him, and you’re not too enthused about whipping up this years king cake, I have the recipe for you.  All this recipe takes is: 1) whacking pressure packed cinnamon rolls on the kitchen counter 2) whipping up some cinnamon-y cream cheese frosting (licking the spoon required) 3) shaking sanding sugar all over the whole thing and making it look all festive.
Easy enough right?

No proofing, zesting, waiting, or (god forbid) kneading.  Just pop, lock ‘n drop it…. not exactly, but you get the point: this recipe is easy. 


Naturally, since it’s made with Pillsbury, it doesn’t taste exactly like the traditional, yeasty sweet bread.  However, it’s absolutely delicious and addictive nonetheless (nobody will complain). It tastes a little bit like sopapilla cheesecake.  If you’ve never heard of sopapilla cheesecake, google it now and prepare to have your life changed.  
All of this being said, I won’t be putting a plastic baby in my king cake, but if you’re into that, by all means do it.  It’s fun and festive and kudos to you for not being a total party-pooper like me with my concerns about sanitary/dental issues.  Just remember to stick the baby in after the cake comes out of the oven (if you put him in before, you’ll end up with a gooey plasticky mess).  
Happy (almost) Mardi Gras to everyone!
And for all of you overachievers out there (or those of you that just like to play with dough), I have a real yeasted king cake recipe coming your way. 
With love, 
Erica

Ingredients

  • 2 cartons Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, 8 Count (12.4 Ounce Cans) — save the containers of icing!
  • 1 8oz. block cream cheese 
  • ½ cups dark brown sugar 
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons purple sanding sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow sanding sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons green sanding sugar
  • 1 dry bean or plastic baby jesus (if you’re into that) 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Take all of the cinnamon rolls out of their containers, and set the frosting containers to the side.  Dust a rolling pin with flour and roll each cinnamon roll into a flat disk (about 4 inches in diameter).  You should end up with 16 rounds.

Arrange 8 of these rounds on a piece of parchment paper, overlapping a bit in a wreath shape.  Press down where they overlap so they stick together.  

Beat together the cream cheese brown sugar and powdered sugar.  Add the cinnamon, and vanilla
extract. Beat well until combined. Drop this mixture by tablespoonful
on the cinnamon rounds that have been sealed into a circle, staying as
close to the center as possible.

Place the remaining 8 cinnamon rounds on top of the filling, overlapping
and sealing the tops and tucking under to seal the sides.

Bake for 17-20 minutes.

Let cake cool for a few minutes (now is when you stick the trinket into the cake). Frost with the Pillsbury Frosting that came with
the rolls. Sprinkle all over with purple, yellow, and green sanding sugar.

Enjoy!

Adapted from So Domesticated

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

yeasted king cake

Snow days are better than regular holidays for three reasons…


1) No expectations
of doing something super fun and fabulous. When people ask me “what did you do with your snow day?” “rolled around on the floor for a while,”  “watched three episodes of Jerseylicious” (does that show still exist?), and “played with dough all day” are all totally acceptable answers.  There’s no expectation that I went on some super fancy cruise ship, took a bunch of pictures wearing fancy/sparkly things, or changed the world through some community service trip I took.  Nope.  This is a day when I can wear fuzzy socks and eat a king sized bag of pita chips and not feel even a little bit guilty about it. 

2) No expectations of hanging out with people.  Not that I don’t like people.  But I feel like it’s socially unacceptable to lock yourself in the house and talk to your dog over a long weekend.  On a snow day, not so much.

3) No expectations of it coming.  What?  Ok, that didn’t make total grammatical sense, but what I’m trying to say is that snow days are unexpected, which make them that much more awesome. I wake up, remember all of the procrastinated assignments that I am obligated to do that day, and then oh wait! I don’t have to do any of them because there’s white stuff falling from the sky! It’s like confetti celebrating the procrastinators of the world.

So yay for the unexpected!  Since on snow days I have oodles of time to waste time/avoid humans/avoid responsibilities, they’re the perfect opportunity to play with yeast, and make a somewhat involved recipe that has a rising time (a luxury that someone who has to go to school rarely has)! I shared my super lazy way of making king cake with you all a few days ago, but for those of you who are itching to make the real-deal (maybe you have a snow day too), here it is!

As cliche/cheesy as this sounds, nothing compares to the real thing, there’s a certain special layer of flavor (love?), that just can’t be achieved with something that comes out of a can.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 3/4
    cups warm milk
  • 2 1/4
    teaspoons or one packet of dry yeast
  • 1/4
    cup plus 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1
    stick of butter, melted and cooled
  • 2
    egg yolks
  • 1
    teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3
    cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4
    teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • zest of one orange 
  • 1
    teaspoon kosher salt
Filling:

  • 1 block Cream Cheese (8 Ounce Block)
  • ½ cups Dark Brown Sugar (packed)
  • ½ cup Powdered Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • yellow, green, and purple sanding sugar

Warm the milk in the microwave or a saucepan until it is warm to the touch.  Mix the milk, yeast and 1 Tbs. of the sugar in a medium bowl and proof  While it is proofing, whisk together the melted butter, egg yolks, and vanilla in a medium bowl.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, flour, nutmeg, orange zest, and salt.

Add the butter mixture and the yeast mixture to the flour mixture in the stand mixer.  Knead for 5 minutes with the dough hook until smooth.  Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise for two hours.

After the dough has finished rising, prepare the filling.  Beat together the cream cheese, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until smooth.  Transfer the dough to a large sheet of parchment paper and roll it out into a 9×13 inch rectangle.  Spread the cream cheese filling evenly onto the rectangle, leaving an inch along one of the long sides so it doesn’t overflow.  Starting on the long end, roll up the dough jelly-roll style. 

Grease an empty metal can and place it in the center of a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Gently wrap the dough around the can (seam side down), and pinch the ends together to form a ring.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Let the cake rise as the oven preheats (about half an hour).   Bake for 30-40 minutes until it is golden brown.  Remove the can and let cool.

Make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and milk.  Add a little more milk if the glaze is too thick.  Pour on the the glaze and then decorate with sanding sugar.

Adapted from Food 52

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.