Mardi Gras King Cake History With Best Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe!

Mardi Gras king cake history with king cake with crescent rolls recipe

Ever Wonder About the Mardi Gras King Cake History?

Here in south Louisiana, we can’t wait until king cake season as I call it, but better known as Mardi Gras season to everyone else. What is a king cake?  This New Orleans delicious colorful specialty is a cross between a cinnamon coffee cake and French pastry. Did you know there is a king cake tradition?  I am obsessed with my Mardi Gras king cake recipe from my easy Louisiana cookbook. You may ship king cakes all over the county but with my simple king cake recipe, is a king cake with crescent rolls.  You can make it wherever you live.  I wanted to share with you the Mardi Gras king cake history.  Nowadays, this regional party is found throughout the United States with parades, beads and the full carnival celebration.  Actually, the New Orleans king cake tradition dates back a long time ago.

Mardi Gras King Cake History Is Time Honored Religious Tradition

You might have heard about the king cake tradition but here’s the Mardi Gras king cake story. The time-honored tradition began when people celebrated the arrival of the Three Kings, who brought gifts to baby Jesus on the Twelfth Night (the end of Christmas and the beginning of Epiphany). King Cake season officially starts on January 6th known as King’s Day or Twelfth Nigh (January 6) and goes through Fat Tuesday which is Mardi Gras Day to honor the three kings.   Along with giving special gifts to children, the custom turned into eating a special kind of cake for celebration which originally was a simple ring of dough. Now my popular easy king cake with crescent rolls is made throughout the season in homes all over the United States.

Here’s How You Make My Super King Cake with Crescent Rolls

The traditional king cake is somewhere between a coffee cake and brioche but my king cake recipe with reduced crescent rolls is simple to whip up wherever you live. Here’s all it looks to give you an idea and I will also put my video at the bottom.  I make it with my grandkids all the time so if they can do it you can too!

king cake with crescent rolls easy king cake tradition. 

King Cake with Cream Cheese Cinnamon Filling from GULF COAST FAVORITES cookbook

Now, you can make a quick King Cake with crescent rolls in your own home any time, without worrying about complicated yeast dough. Kids love helping with this cake year round—try red and pink colors for Valentine’s Day, pastels for Easter, and red and green for Christmas! I also created a savory king cake recipe with crawfish filling that everyone raves about!

Makes 16 servings

2 (8-ounce) cans reduced-fat crescent rolls
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Mardi Gras Icing (recipe to the right)

1. Preheat oven350°F. Coat 10-inch round pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Separate crescent rolls at perforations, into 16 slices. Place slices around prepared pan with points in the center. About halfway down from points, press seams together.
3. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, con¬fectioners sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Spread on dough in the center where seams have been pressed together.
4. In another small bowl, combine but¬ter, brown sugar, and cinnamon with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over cream cheese. Fold dough points over filling, then fold bottom of triangle over points forming circular roll like king cake.
5. Bake about 20–25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly and drizzle with colored Mardi Gras Icing.

Mardi Gras Icing

1 cup confectioners sugar
1–2 tablespoons skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Yellow, green, red, and blue food coloring

1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, except food color. Divide mixture into three bowls.
2. In first bowl, add a few drops of yellow food coloring. In second bowl, add a few drops of green food coloring and in the third bowl, add equal amounts of drops of red and blue food coloring (to create purple).
3. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Nutritional information per serving Calories 184 | Calories from fat 36% | Fat 7 g Saturated Fat 3 g | Cholesterol 9 mg | Sodium 275 mg Carbohydrate 26 g | Dietary Fiber 0 g | Sugars 16 g | Protein 3 g Diabetic Exchanges 1 1/2 carbohydrate | 1 1/2 fat

Holly Clegg's Mardi gras king cake recipe for Mardi Gras king cake history

Louisiana Cookbook Features Easy King Cake with Crescent Rolls

Holly Clegg's Trim & Terrific Gulf Coast Favorites: Over 250 easy recipes from my Louisiana KitchenHolly Clegg’s Trim & Terrific Gulf Coast Favorites: Over 250 easy recipes from my Louisiana Kitchen

My popular and easy King cake recipe is from Gulf Coast Favorites cookbook. If you like healthy Cajun recipes, this Louisiana cookbook is perfect for you wherever you live. I have an easy, affordable and delicious Mardi Gras Party Food Menu.

I use everyday ingredients and simplify all the recipes so you can prepare your favorite New Orleans recipes and southern recipes. Everyone is busy but we also appreciate the Cajun food culture so I create easy recipes! All my recipes have nutritional information. You’ll find Chicken and Sausage Gumbo to classic Easy Crawfish Etouffee–all made healthy!  Who said Louisiana food can’t be good for you!!

The Colors Have Meaning To Mardi Gras King Cake History

I am sure you noticed that there are traditional colors associated with the icing.  Again, there’s a reason for these three colors as such a part of king cake history.  The traditional Mardi Gras colors are purple representing justice, green representing faith, and gold representing power. We have fun using food coloring to create the traditional colors of the king cake. This makes it a great children’s project because all kids love to use food colorings.  You can even find purple now but remember red and blue make purple!

Mardi gras king cake recipe for Mardi Gras king cake history

Gel Food Coloring Works Great For Your Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe

Betty Crocker Classic Gel Food Colors - 4 CTBetty Crocker Classic Gel Food Colors – 4 CT

These are the gel food coloring I like to use and really make a difference. This is an inexpensive small set by they also have a larger gel food coloring set. I was excited when I discovered them because they just are easy to use and work better. It seems to keep the food coloring off of my hands better too!  I also like the Neon Food Coloring set by Betty Crocker

The kids love the food coloring but in this case, it is perfect for the Mardi Gras king cake recipe.  The kids can help put it together because it’s a king cake with crescent rolls and they love to tear them into the triangles.


What Does The Plastic Baby Mean In King Cake Tradition

The king cake tradition includes a baby. Today, the king cake symbolizes luck and prosperity.  Whoever finds the baby is responsible for the next party or purchasing the next cake.  A small baby, symbolizing the baby Jesus, is traditionally hidden inside each King Cake.  Today, you will find the plastic baby on the outside to let you know it is there. When I am making the king cake at home I usually don’t worry about the baby but maybe that’s because I am from Baton Rouge.  We have king cakes all the time.

Different Types King Cake History and King Cake Tradition Starts in France

When it comes to king cake tradition you will find different types of king cakes.  As the king cake story goes, you’ll find in New Orleans a king cake made into a  ring called the “galette de roi” found in French bakeries.  Originated in France, who it was explained that the galette type (puff pastry and frangipani filling) was popular in the north and the “gateaux de roi” of brioche dough was made in southern France. Today king cakes in bakeries have their own special recipe. You can even find them made with donuts! I still love my king cake with crescent rolls recipe.

The King Cake Tradition Story Behind The Name

The actual king cake name is said to come from the Three Wise Men in the Bible.  They came bringing gifts for Baby Jesus  on the Twelfth Night. So, traditionally king cake is served from King’s Day (January 6)until Fat Tuesday which is Mardi Gras day and celebrates the coming of the three kings.  Also, it honors them with a sweet homage to their jeweled crowns.

Where to Order King Cakes in New Orleans

I make so many of my king cake with crescent rolls this time of year because they are so easy and so good!  However, I also send king cakes all over the country to my business associates and all my kids want a king cake who live outside of Louisiana.  We have decided Randazzo’s Camellia City Bakery is our favorite king cake to ship to people. Not only are they fresh when they arrive but their customer service department is outstanding.  This is the third year I have ordered king cakes from this bakery and I think they are the best New Orleans bakery for king cakes.

All My Cookbooks Include Healthy Easy Recipes


Holly Clegg
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Holly Clegg

With over 1 MILLION COOKBOOKS sold, Holly Clegg has become a culinary expert on easy healthy everyday recipes through her nationally recognized best-selling trim&TERRIFIC® and Eating Well cookbook series, including Eating Well Through Cancer, (English, Spanish and Chinese editions), Eating Well to Fight Arthritis and Diabetic Cooking with the ADA. Clegg attended the Cordon Bleu Cooking School, London and has appeared on Fox & Friends, NBC Weekend Today, QVC, The 700 Club, USA Today, Cooking Light Magazine, Web MD, and Huff Post. She consulted and did spokesperson work for Walmart, Teflon, DuPont, The Coca-Cola Company, and hospitals throughout the country. For more information, visit About Holly or The Healthy Cooking Blog for more recipes and tips.
Holly Clegg
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