Semi-Homemade King Cake

by Sally
1 Cake
1 hr 30 min

The first time I had a bite of King Cake was in New Orleans in 2001. I was in NOLA to attend a Mardis Gras ball and the accompanying festivities. The moment I had a bite of King Cake, I was smitten with the dessert (or sometimes breakfast at our house). If you’re not familiar with King Cake, here’s a quick rundown:

The King Cake, also known as twelfth night cake, was originally baked to celebrate and honor Epiphany, on January 6, or Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night marks the arrival of the three wise men in Bethlehem who delivered gifts to the baby Jesus.

Mardi Gras refers to events of the Carnival celebration, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday.

I typically make a king cake during the time period between The Epiphany and Fat Tuesday. The flavor of this King Cake recipe could be described as a delightful combo of cinnamon rolls and cake. Keep reading to see how I make a semi-homemade King Cake using a Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix.

This recipe for King Cake hits the spot. Filled with a brown sugar and cinnamon mixture sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

My King Cake recipe is made using a Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix.

Here is an illustration of the steps you will take to form the King Cake into an oval ring.

These are the ingredients you will use for the filling.

I enjoy using sanding sugars to decorate my King Cakes.

Breakfast or dessert? You choose! Pairs well with coffee!

Recipe details
  • 1  Cake
  • Prep time: 1 Hours Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 30 min
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For the King Cake
  • 1 box of Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 2 tbsp plus 1/2 cup of butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp, plus 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp all purpose flour, plus extra for your surface
For the glaze
  • 1 16 oz box confectioners sugar
  • 3.5 tbsp corn syrup
  • 3.5 tbsp of milk, plus extra
  • 1 tsp of vanilla or almond extract
For the King Cake
Prepare Pillsbury hot roll mix according to package directions for the “sweet dough” through STEP 4.
While the dough is resting, prepare King Cake filling by stirring 1/2 cup of melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and AP flour in a medium bowl until well combined.
On a lightly floured surface, roll rested dough into a rectangle shape with a rolling pin.
Spread prepared filling evenly over rolled out dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges of the dough.
After the filling is evenly spread over the dough, roll dough tightly. You will tightly roll the dough, lengthwise, to avoid air pockets while baking.
On a 9×13 in baking sheet covered in parchment paper or a silpat, shape the rolled dough to form an oval shaped ring. Fold one end of the dough over the the other and pinch the ends together to close the seams.
Allow the oval dough ring to rise until almost doubled in size. *Dough rises in about 30 minutes in a warm oven (Turn oven on lowest temp for a few minutes, and turn it off. Place dough in warm oven to rise).
Once the king cake has risen until it has almost doubled in size, bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until golden brown on the top. While the King Cake is baking, prepare the glaze.
For the glaze
To make the glaze, combine confectioners sugar, corn syrup, milk, and extract until well combined and a smooth consistency. If glaze is too thick, add milk 1 tsp at a time until until desired consistency is reached.
  • Optional-separate the glaze into bowls and dye green, purple, and yellow with food coloring gels.
  • Allow the King Cake to cool completely and ice the cake with the prepared glaze.
  • you want to add a plastic baby to your King Cake, add after the King Cake has cooled. Ice the King Cake after the baby has been added. Sanding sugar and/or sprinkles are often used to decorate King Cakes.
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