Recipe: Quick Mardi Gras King Cake

This is so quick and easy… a total shortcut! Let me first tell you how I got to this “recipe”. Just before Mardi Gras I decided at the last minute to do a recipe or two that would be a good dish for the celebration.

Now I also have to tell you I’m totally addicted to a few Facebook games.. one of which is called Baking Life. I got interested when some of my friends were posting bonuses for the game.. namely Tiramisu… so now I play the game..

During various holidays they have new recipes for a limited time… we had been playing making “Mardi Gras King Cake”… which didn’t occur to me until a few days before Mardi Gras that this was an actual cake. So I goggled it and found many recipes all almost identical… if you are like me.. I didn’t know what it was… it’s basically cinnamon rolls made into a ring.. iced and sprinkled with spring colored sugars.

It really looks so pretty with the colored sugars… I thought I would make that… but good cinnamon rolls require a yeast dough and considerable time waiting for it to rise. A couple of people who have food blogs posted a quick an easy recipe using cinnamon rolls you buy in a can and bake (like from Pillsbury)… I thought how clever! The posts that I saw did not post a picture and had little or no instructions and no tips at all.

This “recipe” took 3 tries to get it to work … needless to say… I missed posting it for Mardi Gras… and thought… oh well.. next year. Then I got to thinking how it would be a perfect brunch cake regardless of the time of year… you certainly can change the colored sugars to match whatever time of year you do it… Christmas colors at Christmas.. red, white and blue at 4th of July .. or spring colors for Easter.

Traditionally, Mardi Gras King Cake has a hidden prize .. a plastic Mardi Gras baby is hidden in the cake by making a small slit after baking and inserting the prize… I wouldn’t recommend trying that with this.. but if you do… do let me know how it went.

Now for the “recipe”… I put it in quotes because it is a shortcut recipe… I’m sure the blog snob would stick her pointy little nose in the air and disapprove… after all… it’s not from scratch… gasp… horrors!.. it’s from Pillsbury in a can!

I’m putting this in caps… it’s important… PLEASE READ MY TIPS before trying this.


Definitely use 3 cans of cinnamon rolls. You will need that many to rise and “swell” together to form a ring that will stay together as one piece.

Cut the cinnamon rolls into 4 slices not 8… they need to be that wide so they don’t fall over during baking.

Pinch the two cinnamon rolls together so they are one piece and when laying them down in a ring also pinch the ends of each set of two together so all the rolls are connected at the middle.

Lay them on end not flat (see picture).

Bake them for 25 to 27 minutes instead of the baking times on the package.. they will require the additional time otherwise they won’t be fully baked.

Ice the cake quickly with the icing in the cinnamon roll can… work quickly and sprinkle the colored sugar quickly after acing otherwise the icing hardens and the sugars bounce off the icing.

Buy commercial colored sugars … they use a coarser sugar than the normal sugar you keep in the house. You can find them in the grocery store… I found mine at Walmart and they are inexpensive… mine were $1 (US) each.

I baked mine on a 10 inch round cardboard baking circle… otherwise the cake is difficult to slide onto a plate from a baking pan. I suggest you cover the cardboard with non-stick foil because the rolls will leak grease .. you will have to use paper towel to mop the excess grease from the middle of the ring. The foil will make clean up easier…. I didn’t do that and the grease definitely shows on the cardboard.. if I had covered it in foil, there wouldn’t be any stain.

This is definitely worth trying… a great brunch cake anytime of the year.

Recipe: Quick Mardi Gras King Cake

All you need:

3 cans Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with Icing (8 rolls each)
1 (10 inch) round baking cardboard
Reynolds Wrap Non-stick Aluminum Foil
Colored sugars

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cover the baking cardboard in non-stick foil.

Cut each can of cinnamon rolls into 4 instead of 8.

Place them in a ring on the foil covered cardboard round.

Place on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 25 to 27 minutes or until done.

Spread the icing on top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides.

Quickly sprinkle colored sugars on the cake, a different color in each of 3 or 4 sections.

Serve warm.


Ange said...

Dang. I wish I would have seen this before Mardi Gras. I made two king cakes from scratch. One traditional, and one with a chocolate pudding filling. Although they tasted great, yours is a lot more pretty.

Linda said...

Aww... I wish I could have worked through all the issues faster so i could have posted it before Mardi Gras... I did get a late start..I never knew this cake existed much before Mardi Gras...

I'm sure yours tasted better... i love homemade yeast husband used to make me cinnamon rolls and oh how the house smelled wonderful!

I like your idea about the non-traditional one with the pudding filling.. I will have to try it sometime.

This cake is a great brunch cake.. my son tells me there's a southern restaurant in New York City that serves it every Saturday and Sunday for brunch... so you can make this again...

Thanks for stopping by!

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