You may not be familiar with what a king cake is or what it represents. It is a French tradition that made its way to New Orleans. There is a lot to learn about this delicious cake. Maybe tasting an easy mini king cake recipe with cinnamon rolls can help broaden our horizons.
An easy mini king cake recipe with cinnamon rolls is great as a party recipe and often used as a Mardi Gras recipe. King cakes have a heavy history in religion. Of course, you don’t have to be religious to enjoy this recipe.
However, we must discuss religion when discussing the history of this delicious tradition. As Americans, we are more familiar with king cakes as a New Orleans tradition. However, the cake got its start long before New Orleans existed.
It is believed that the first king cake was made in Old World France…connecting the New Orleans dots yet? There is a holiday of sorts in France called Epiphany. Epiphany commemorates when three wise men visited a baby Jesus.
France still celebrates Epiphany in little ways every year on the 6th of January. The belief is that the cake became part of Epiphany during the Middle Ages and quickly became a tradition.
The idea was to bake a cake but place a tiny toy baby or bean in the cake somewhere random. We all know that New Orleans’ history is closely tied to France. It is no wonder that the king cake made its way to the US by way of New Orleans.
Of course, time keeps moving, and things rarely stay the same. The cake has many variations now, and the US version incorporates a lot of New Orleans into the recipe. But knowing the history of a recipe is one thing; tasting history is entirely different.
Easy Mini King Cake Recipe with Cinnamon Rolls
This recipe may not be the exact same as you’d find in France and is a variation of the New Orleans version. In fact, even the timing of when this cake makes an appearance is different. France uses king cakes on January 6th for Epiphany.
New Orleans uses king cakes for a different celebration, Mardis Gras! Mardi Gras is a giant party that takes over New Orleans every February. This party is also a religious one. However, it’s a bit of a different take on religion.
Mardi Gras is like a last hoorah before Lent starts. The idea is to go wild with things you aren’t supposed to have during Lent just before it starts. That history makes king cakes the perfect Mardi Gras party recipe!
Mini King Cake Ingredients
King cakes come in various flavors since the critical part is the bean or toy baby. This recipe uses cinnamon rolls, which makes cooking batches for parties even easier. All you need is a can of cinnamon roll dough, more for more cakes.
Then you need some confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) and some milk. That’s really all you need to make this mini king cake recipe with cinnamon rolls. Of course, you will need the toy baby or bean and some food coloring if you want to change the colors of the icing.
We chose to go with Mardi Gras colors for our king cakes. Those colors fit the theme better and make them perfect for your celebration.
Mini King Cakes Directions
1 can yields 8 servings. Store in an airtight container for 4-5 days. Prep time is approximately 45 minutes from start to finish.
Bake the cinnamon rolls according to the package directions.
While the cinnamon rolls are in the oven, combine the confectioner’s sugar, milk, and 1 tsp of vanilla to make the glaze. Start with 2 tbs. of milk and add another if the consistency is too thick. You want the glaze thin enough to spread but not runny.
Next, divide the glaze into 3 separate bowls adding 1-2 drops of food coloring to each: 1 bowl will be yellow, the 2nd will be green, and for the 3rd bowl using the ratio 2 red drops and 1 blue drop will turn the glaze light purple (I used 4:2 for my purple glaze).
Once the mini king cakes have cooled for a few minutes spread each with glaze covering the top completely, then add the same color sprinkles.
Repeat this process with the other cakes.
Easy Mini King Cakes
- 1 Can Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 Cup Confectioner's Sugar
- 2-3 TBSP Milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Package Food Coloring
- Sprinkles Yellow, Green, and Purple
- Bake the cinnamon rolls according to the package directions.
- While the cinnamon rolls are in the oven, combine the confectioner’s sugar, milk, and 1 tsp. of vanilla to make the glaze. Start with 2 tbs. of milk and add another if the consistency is too thick. You want the glaze thin enough to spread but not runny.
- Next, divide the glaze into 3 separate bowls, adding 1-2 drops of food coloring to each: 1 bowl will be yellow, the 2nd will be green and for the 3rd bowl, using the ratio 2 red drops and 1 blue drop will turn the glaze light purple (I used 4:2 for my purple glaze).
- Once the mini king cakes have cooled for a few minutes, spread each with glaze covering the top completely then add the same color sprinkles.
- Repeat this process with the other cakes.
More Party Ideas
Mardi Gras Appetizer Recipes | King cakes will make great Mardi Gras party snacks, but you may need something more savory.
Cheap Mardi Gras Party Decorations | Let’s not forget to set the stage for an amazing Mardi Gras this year.
Best Tips for Visiting New Orleans in Fall | Get your own first-hand experience of New Orleans this fall.
Football Party Ideas | We also can’t forget that it is football season! Game days aren’t as widely celebrated as Mardi Gras. Still, they should be fun!
Elegant Naked Cake Decorating Ideas | Want something a little more elegant than pulling a plastic baby out of a cake?