Mini King Cakes: Good times to make a roll with your Krewe

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Just like everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day and all the world is in love on Valentine’s Day, everybody is part Cajun on Mardi Gras. True, is it not cherè?

Maybe it is the colors that draw us in, the rich purple and green, the flashes of bright gold. Perhaps it is the freedom of a little wine and a lot of good food that calls our spirits. True Mardi Gras has nothing to do with inebriated co-eds flashing their …er… um… cupcakes to earn beads. It is a family-based FREE celebration of joy, fellowship and heritage.

King Arthur Flour’s King Cake mix and King Cake recipe have long been favorites of our customers and we are always on the look out for new King Cake ideas. Our recipe developer Charlotte created a lovely lemon-y dough that rises high and develops a beautiful crown (aargh, bad pun!). The rich texture of a classic King Cake is there, the lemon flavor reminds us that spring is just ’round the corner. Top it all with bright colored sugars and you have individual cakes that make everyone feel like Rex, King of Mardi Gras!

Grab your Krewe, and roll out the Mini King Cakes!

While pre-fermented dough is great, it’s also nice to have some recipes in your stash that you can literally throw all together with a mix and a knead and a hi-hi-ho and come out with a beautiful, tasty dough to work with. This is just such a recipe. I felt a little guilty over not having more step photos, but you really don’t need them. So, into the bowl or bread machine pan dump in:

Use the dough cycle for your mix, knead and first rise, or mix and knead by hand or mixer then allow to rise for one hour.

Turn the risen dough out onto your work surface and pat out to an even thickness. I like a rectangle about 1/2″ thick, maybe as large as a sheet of paper.  Divide the dough in half, and then in half, repeating until you have 12 equal portions.

Shape each portion into a smooth ball and place in a greased 12-cup muffin tin, or 12 individual mini bake and give papers. The butter and eggs make this dough a dream to work with. The deep golden color from the yolks is gorgeous too.

Cover the pan, and let the cakes rise for 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Whisk the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon water, and brush it over the cakes.

Bake the cakes for 20 minutes, then tent them lightly with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a deep golden brown.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  If you decide to add the traditional baby to your cakes, you can go with one per cake, or hide just one in the whole batch.

In all honesty, not all of these guys are going to make it to the frosting stage. The scent of these cakes while still warm is truly irresistible. The sweet confectioners’ sugar glaze is literally the icing on the cake, but if you don’t have the time or the inclination, you can definitely savor the cakes “au naturale”.

If you are in the party mood and do want to jazz up the cakes with the traditional colors of the Mardi Gras season just mix up the confectioners’ sugar glaze and break out the colored sugars. We sell the coarse sugars in purple, yellow and green year round, but have also brought in the fine sugars in these 3 colors just for the season. (see top photo for fine sugars).It’s interesting to note that the colors for Mardi Gras were chosen in 1872, but the colors were not assigned symbolism until 20 years later. Officially, the purple stands for justice, the gold/yellow for power and the green for faith.

By the way, if you’d like to learn more about Mardi Gras and the real meanings of the traditions, I found a very informative site at MardiGrasNewOrleans.com. The site is very focused on the traditional and family aspects of the holiday and a great resource. They have the dates of Mardi Gras posted through 2024, giving you plenty of planning notice and time to stock up on your favorite baking supplies in advance!

Please bake, rate and review our recipe for Mini King Cakes.

Print just the recipe.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. JerseyGirl12

    Do you think this will work if I use the King Arthur’s Gluten Free all purpose flour?
    I think you could work with a GF sweet roll recipe to create something similar. It’s the butter and eggs that make this dough special, so look for a recipe that is GF, but make for a sweet dough and go from there. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. msykes620

    This being already a nice tangy cake – could you make it with sourdough? And if so, how would you go about that? I recently acquired some KAF sourdough starter and am interested in non-bread ways to use it – haven’t thought about cake!
    Find some great ways (including a cake) to use your starter here. ~Amy

    Reply
  3. Elise

    This looks great! I love the idea of a mini version of king cake. I live in New Orleans and we have such a great variety of king cakes here. The only thing this cake is missing is a cinnamon swirl!

    Reply
  4. Cindy Leigh

    Lovely, MJ!
    I was fortunate enough to have some King Cake when we were in Baton Rouge and NOLA week before last. It had the flavor and texture of a Krispy Kreme doughnut- not what I expected.
    Hi Cindy Leigh,
    Our crew will be in Baton Rouge later this week. I’ll have to ask Frank if he can score a piece. Maybe he’ll get the baby and have to bring back a whole cake! :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. Cindy Leigh

    MJ, they are all over town. Grocery stores, bakeries, etc. (we have two kids in school there and have a home there)
    They’re offered in many different flavors, too. Look at the side of the box to see what flavor’s checked off.
    If you can break away, go to Coffee Call and get some beignets. They have a drive through.
    See if you can get to Mason’s for brunch or breakfast. I tried a jalapeño cheddar grit cake that was amazing, as were the sweet potato pancakes. And the breakfast sausages seem homemade and were the best I’ve ever had. They serve unlimited bloody Mary’s with Sunday brunch, and there are menu slips at every table to “build your own bloody Mary”.
    Stop, stop! You’re killin’ me!! Those folks on our trip are sooo lucky! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. gr8gonzo

    does it come with the little plastic baby to put inside?

    Sorry, no little plastic baby. You’ll need to supply that part of the tradition. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  7. Cindy Leigh

    Ah… I see where your demo is. Not too far from campus.
    Fyi, Louie’s Cafe is a greasy spoon in the best sense, from the 1940s I believe. Fabulous breakfast and lunch. If you order the biscuit with your breakfast ( and they’re usually gone by around 10am), they are nearly as big as your head! It’s on West State st, touching the edge of LSU.
    Wish I could send my baby girl over to snag some KAF baked goodies, next best thing to a care package from mom!
    It’s in the mid to high 70s in BR this week, enjoy the weather!

    Reply
  8. jlgirl617

    I once read a suggestion to use something like a jelly bean or a gumdrop in the cake instead of a bean or a plastic baby; some people don’t feel comfortable baking plastic into a cake, and with something soft, no one hurts their teeth by biting into a bean or what have you.

    Reply
  9. cartvl219

    Thanks for the tip Susan. But whatever would I do with 3 dozen of them?? :-) If I do make these mini-cakes, I will only make a half recipe. Don’t have many potential recipients these days.
    jlgirl617 – I thought of jelly beans but wasn’t sure how well they would hold up during baking although I think jelly beans would work better than gumdrops. At the source Susan suggested they forbade baking the plastic babies in the cake. Just poke it in the bottom of the cake when cooled. Of course the jelly bean could be inserted, too.
    Carolyn

    I like the Jelly Bean idea, too. Susan

    Reply
  10. Margy

    I’ve seen King’s cake made using a single whole almond instead of the plastic baby, so that’s what I use–easier on the teeth if you bite into it.

    Reply
  11. nthompson

    could I use the King Cake Mix and just add the lemon bits instead of using almond paste?
    I’m sorry, but the mix kit and the mini king cake recipe were not designed to be used interchangeably. ~Amy

    You could certainly add the lemon bits to the King Cake Mix, though – bet it would be yummy! PJH

    Reply
  12. Bpatton524

    I made these mini king cakes,they turn out great. I am wondering if I can make these the night before, put them in the fridge and bake them the next morning?

    This recipe works best made as written. Extending the fermentation overnight will make for a slightly denser roll. Due to amount of sugar. No harm, give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  13. KateB

    How long would you knead a dough like this? I’m still new to yeast baking and am always stumped when a recipe just says to knead the dough but doesn’t give times. I’m using a stand mixer…

    Plan on about 8 minutes at med-low speed using a dough hook. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  14. cmwilson

    Any suggestions on how to get a cream cheese filling into these? I love the idea of mini cakes! So much easier than dealing with a big load of dough to try to form into a ring.
    I think if you dolloped a sweetened cream cheese filling in the bun and then pinched it sealed, you should be fine. You should probably make 16 or so buns, not just the 12, so that they are not too big. Let us know how it goes. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  15. kastenson

    i tried this over the weekend. They came out tastey but the bread was very dry – which is the same problem i have with my challah bread! Any suggestions for fixing this?

    Sorry to hear of the difficulty. Since the dryness seems consistent across similar recipes, you may be using a bit too much flour in the dough. Here is the method we use in all of our recipes: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/measuring-flour.html If you “dip” the flour directly from the bag, you can have 20% too much. If this doe snot seem likely, please give our bakers a call on the hot line, 800-827-6836. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  16. drc

    Made these cakes on the dough cycle of my Zo. They were sooo good. I did frost them, and decorated with the three colors of sugar. Should not have baked them so long as the directions state. Had too much crust. They are similar to the petite brioches that I make every year for Easter morning breakfast!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Like many bakers and cooks, we like to riff on tradition. If you prefer a strictly traditional cake, that’s okay with us too. ~ MJ

  17. emleaming

    I have made the King Cake in my round stoneware mold as well as in the small muffin pans. What a wonderful recipe! The results are always perfect, and everyone raves. Couldn’t ask for more! Thank you for a great recipe.

    Reply

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