Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mardi Gras King Cake (lemon/cream cheese filling)

The first time I had a King Cake, it was Christmas and I was a little girl.

Christmas is already exciting as it is, especially as a little girl, but that particular year we were having a new dessert, which was even more exciting.  I had never even heard of King Cake before, but it had colored sprinkles, so I was all for it.  I'm not even really sure why we were having it since a King Cake is a Mardi Gras related dessert.  My dad picked it...

When my uncle passed around the cake to everyone, my dad told us that one piece had a plastic baby in it (apparently, the baby is meant to signify Baby Jesus) and whoever got the baby would have good luck for the rest of the year. 

I was super stoked when I bit into Baby Jesus; so excited, that I saved the baby.... and I still have it.  Since I don't have any plastic babies conveniently laying around the house, I used the same one in one of the cakes I made today.  I used a pecan in the other cake.

After I had that cake at Christmas, I was obsessed with it.  I kept thinking about it and my dad even got me one for my birthday a couple of years ago.  So, I'm pretty happy that Mardi Gras has given me a reason to make this cake this year! 

The recipe I found was basically a cinnamon roll recipe, but I remember the cakes I had having a little bit of a creamy, lemony taste to them, so I adapted the recipe and it turned out well. It takes a little bit of time because the dough has to rise twice, but it's worth it.  I don't know if it's because it reminds me of my childhood, or what, but it's delicious.  However, next time I think I'll try and find a flakier pastry recipe.  The one I used had more of a cinnamon roll texture. 

Happy Mardi Gras!  Are there any foods that remind you of childhood?

P.S. Don't forget to comment on my Giveaway!

 I used whole wheat pastry flour, which is why mine looks a little darker.

 Best part!

 Hello, Baby!

King Cake (lemon/cream cheese filling)
adapted from All Recipes

**Makes TWO 

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, at room temp.
  • 1/2 tsp lemon
  • 1/4 cup sugar, or sweetener to taste
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I left out)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup raisins (I left out)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  5. To Make Filling: Beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy, add in the lemon and sugar and mix until incorporated.  
  6. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches or so). 
  7. Spread the filling evenly over the dough and sprinkle brown sugar, nuts, and raisins on top. 
  8. Roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the long side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake (You can use a pecan, or something, too). 
  10. To make icing, mix water and powdered sugar.
  11. Frost while warm.  Add sprinkles! :)
 P.S. I got the pecan!!

 I take back what I said before; eating it is the best part.



  2. WOW! That cake looks so ooey-gooey and delicious! And I love the colorful/festive sprinkles ;)

  3. thank you! comments like yours make blogging worth it.

  4. i've never had king cake before. this looks great and so festive!
    when i was a kid we would pick blackberries and my grandma would make cobbler, so now blackberries remind me of that :) nostalgic foods are the best!

  5. Katie, saw your blog on your mom's FB page, and had to check it out. Love it, keep 'em comin'!

    Kitra Cooper


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