I’d never heard of King Cake until well into my twenties when a co-worker from New Orleans brought one to work. As per tradition, her father would send her one every year to share with the office. In theory, the person who found the hidden plastic baby was supposed to provide another King Cake, but nobody ever did because at the time, they weren’t quite as popular in that region. Now you can find them in lots of places, including some grocery store bakeries.
A few years ago, I bought Fuzz a cookbook for kids and in it, was a picture of a King Cake. She loved that cake and off and on throughout the year, asked if we could make it. We finally got around to it this week and since this, have made a couple!
This is a really fun activity. If you have the time and patience, make the dough yourself. However, canned biscuit dough is the perfect medium for little hands and covered with cinnamon, sugar, and butter, it tastes really good. Emeril has a recipe similar to this, but he uses canned crescent dough. We might give that a try, but so far the biscuit dough has been well accepted.
Easy King Cake
- 1 16 oz can of biscuits (regular, not the layered kind but the regular). We use “Grands”
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- A few spoonfuls of canned cream cheese frosting optional
- Yellow Purple, Green Sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper.
- Open the biscuits and lay them flat on the foil. Press them into a large circle (about 12 inches) or into a giant rectangle. We’ve done it both ways.
- Brush the dough with butter, then mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle evenly over dough.Lay babies somewhere on the dough.
- Roll the dough up into a cylinder and pinch as tightly as possible to seal. Shape the cylinder into a circle.
- Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool slightly, then spoon icing over top and let it fall down sides. Sprinkle sugar on top.
- Ready to eat! It tastes best shortly after being made, but also tastes good the next day.
Thanks for the review! Sounds like you all had fun making it :).
Thanks for this great idea! Made this with my 1 1/2 and 3 yos and it came out fantastic! I actually made the cream cheese frosting and added a filling of whipped cream cheese, vanilla, zest of a Meyer
Lemon and turbinado sugar. For added fun, I had the girls make the sugar sand. All you do is put about 1/4 c sugar in a small
container with a tight lid, add a few drops of food coloring, cover, an let the kids shake it up until they’re exhausted. I put on rebirth brass band and we danced and shook while the cake baked! So fun!!! And easy!!
I love this post and always send my friends to this site for this easy & fun recipe! We make it every year to celebrate the Epiphany and its so wonderful & easy! My one thing to pass on is that the Grande Biscuits contain hydrogenated oil, so we opt to sub them for this recipe, then we follow your recipe exactly! Thanks again!
Substitute dough instead of Grand’s Biscuits
Love, Love, love this recipe. I am a preschool teacher and needed a recipe for the letter “K” as we baked our way thru the alphabet. it is a great recipe and the kids loved it so much I made some for my family and friends. I leave out the babies as they are not necessary for our purpose. My one friend calls this recipe “Cinnamon goodness” and asks me to make it often!!! Thanks so much for sharing such a delicious and easy recipe.
I’m from New Orleans and I wanted to add a few things here. The bakeries here add the plastic babies AFTER the cakes are baked by pressing them up into the cake from the bottom. I think this is because the babies could melt or release yucky tasting chemicals during baking.
The best King Cakes (in my humble opinion) are the ones filled with sweet cream cheese. I bet that addition would push this recipe over the top!
Just discovered your blog, Anna — love, love, love it! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!
I read that originally people would put a bean inside the cake to represent the baby! That could work if you can’t find our cute LA babies. Yes, I am a Louisiana girl and can’t imagine Mardi Gras without at least a couple each year!. I lived in New Orleans for 8 years and people always had their opinion about which bakery made the best ones! Be sure to read the history of the cakes on the internet!
that recipe is amazing my kids love it and they are very picky.
thanks… will be making this for my son’s 4th birthday NOLA themed party tomorrow… thanks for the EZ route!
This is genius!! My 7 yr. old son and I are looking forward to doing this tomorrow! He’s been carrying around the little gold baby from the last King Cake we had from 2yrs. ago! We had found a King Cake boxed mix, but I haven’t been able to find it since. I love to involve him in the baking (hence the reason I got the mix) and your recipe is perfect! Thank you for sharing! 🙂
At last a King Cake I can make! 🙂 Yippee! Unfortunately, I will have to wait until next year because I didn’t get to the store in time to buy the ingredients before Lent. But next year, yes! 🙂
Good question, Jo.
It’s a guestimate, but I’d say 8.
how much does one cake serve?
I am planning a Cajun party for a friend. My first plan was to order a king cake, but after seeing all the shortcuts – I am ready to dive right in tomorrow for a trial run! Thanks!
I was so glad to find this easy king cake recipe. I teach preschool and was looking for a easy king cake recipe we could do together. We are going to try this one for sure. Thanks a lot.
Love the “mini” King Cake idea. Thanks for the URL.
I “cheat” and use ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls for my mini king cakes. Check out my how to recipe on ehow.com.
Too cute! I love it! King cake cupcakes would also probably be a hit with kids. Too bad I don’t know any kids to try them out on. Someday!
The first cake went so fast that my daughters are chomping at the bit to make another! I have all the ingredients so this weekend I am going to let them make it. (They are 11 and 8) Both of them are excited and looking forward to hiding the babies (yes, just as in your picture, I put more than one baby in the cake!) Thanks again.
I’m glad you made it. Maybe next time, you could let the girls help. Fuzz loved making this and it was kind of a bonus that her little playgroup buddies showed up right as it was coming out of the oven.
Now that I’ve made this one a few times, I’d like to move on to a scratch King Cake.
I made this as a suprise for my girls last night while they were at gymnastics. They were so excited to see it sitting on the counter when they got home. Who knew that Grands and a little frosting and sprinkles could put such smiles on their faces! Actually, the flavor really suprised me. It did not taste like biscuit dough as the filling gave it an upscale taste. Thanks for the recipe. It will for sure become a yearly tradition.
Update: We tried this with crescent dough. In my opinion, it was too rich. The butter plus the extra butter in the dough was just overkill. I think the cresent dough would work well with a different filling, but the butter and sugar filling was better with the biscuit dough.
Monica, my girlfriend came over and her first question was “Why didn’t you just use cinnamon roll dough?”. I’m going to try it. What I liked about the biscuit dough was I was able to really control the amount of sugar/cinnamon/butter.
Gigi, she’s pretty funny with tiaras….and hats in general. If there’s one around, she’ll wear it.
I love that Fuzz was wearing a crown/tiara to make the King Cake. I actually think that should be a requirement for any kind of baking.
I personally go the lazy man’s route and instead of buscuits, I use cans cinnamon rolls. This way you already have the icing and the cinnamon sugar goodness.
The version which used the crescent dough was from Emeril.
Anna, Could you please post the recipe using the crescent roll dough? This sounds like something my son would like to try.
Thanks so much for posting this recipe. My husband is from New Orleans and we love King cakes. My girls will get a big kick out of being able to make their own.
Therese, we found the dolls at a party store called “Party Pig”. Any party store should have them, if not, try Michael’s. You can hide coins instead of babies.
Williams Sonoma has the colored sprinkles. They’re 4.00 a canister, but will last forever. We’ve also made our own colored sugar, but I think the larger-crystaled sprinkles are better. Granulated sugar seems to grainy to me.
Hi again Anna!
Oh my gosh, this is so cool! I am chuckling at those little plastic dolls!!
Where can you purchase those? Too cute!
I have seen these cakes too, but this one looks so doable and easy. Thanks!