This is a particularly long Mardi Gras season. The season officially begins on the feast of the epiphany and we have a new family tradition of celebrating the kick-off with Jambalaya and King Cake. You can get King Cake shipped from lots of places-- I suggest Haydel's (and we're lucky enough to have family who often send us the best ones from the local grocery).
Though it sure is nice to get a little bundle of love, complete with beads and doubloons, every once in a while you just want King Cake NOW. And I have yet to find a store-bought mix or recipe that quite lives up to the real thing. So I faked it (and yes, my Louisiana native, Swamp People-watching husband approved.)
Here's the super easy recipe:
Buy 2 containers of cinnamon rolls (I used Pillsbury, but make sure you get the kind that rolls, not the biscuit variety)
Food coloring in purple, yellow and green OR colored sugar in the same colors (or who am I kidding-- both.)
Spray your cooking sheet with some non-stick cooking spray. Open up your cinnamon rolls and unroll them. Start braiding them three rolls at a time and smooch the ends together, arranging them in a circle as you go. Bake according to the package directions.
** a note: you can get baby kings at any party store in the baby shower aisle. You can hide that baby before you bake or after!
Meanwhile take the frosting that comes with the cinnamon rolls and divide it into three even amounts. Add food coloring to make purple, green and yellow frosting. (You can skip this step if you are using colored sugar.)
Once the cake is done, let it cool and then, alternating colors, drizzle frosting on top. You can then top with the corresponding colored sugar. (Or just cover all the cake in white icing and stripe it with alternating colored sugar.)
***If you're a dummy like me and bought the biscuit type cinnamon rolls, you can still do it. Just smash the biscuits up and roll them a bit between your hands to make them cylindrical. Then try to layer them as if they are braided.
This is all SUPER easy, and seriously tastes pretty close to the real thing.
Of course the tradition is to have one of these every Sunday after church and whoever gets the baby in their slice of cake has to buy the next King Cake! I'll never forget the year I taught church school and all the boys fought to get the baby Jesus. Their poor parents...
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