Cinnamon Cream Cheese King Cake

Celebrate Mardi Gras with this classic New Orleans danish-like treat filled with
cinnamon cream cheese!

Cinnamon Cream Cheese King CakeMardi Gras is just around the corner, and it’s time to celebrate!  If you’ve never been to Mardi Gras, then you probably have a very specific image in your head of what happens during this festive celebration.  That image probably involves lots of alcohol, beads, and girls who have misplaced their shirts.  But as my blog buddy Graham from Glazed & Confused points out, there is so much more to Mardi Gras than the debauchery which we see on television. For starters, Fat Tuesday is a state holiday in Louisiana, and it’s a chance to celebrate with family and friends before Lent begins the next day.  (Seriously.  For most of New Orleans, Mardi Gras is a family holiday.  Bourbon Street is the only place where things really get crazy.)  Since it’s customary to give up a favorite food or two for Lent, Mardi Gras is the last chance to enjoy those rich foods for a while.  And what better way to celebrate the carnival season than with a Cinnamon Cream Cheese King Cake?

Cinnamon Cream Cheese King CakeThis Cinnamon Cream Cheese King Cake is a light brioche-style dough filled with cinnamon-flavored cream cheese.  Once the whole thing is baked, then it’s topped with a simple icing in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, purple, and yellow.  (I also threw some sanding sugar on top just to give it an extra sparkle.)  When I lived in Louisiana, I had easy access to a number of bakeries which made some really delicious king cakes.  I might have even ordered a king cake for my birthday one year.  (And my birthday is in July.)

Cinnamon Cream Cheese King CakeAfter I left Louisiana, however, king cakes were hard to come by.  Heck, most of the bakeries up here in upstate New York have never even heard of a king cake!  So I set about making my own version…and after many attempts, I finally landed on something I’m proud of.  To be honest, though, this Cinnamon Cream Cheese King Cake isn’t my favorite.  I’m not saying it isn’t tasty…my wife loved this version!  It’s just that I prefer my king cakes without cream cheese.  To be fair, cream cheese danishes never really call to me, either…so it’s no surprise that I prefer my king cakes sans cream cheese filling.  (If you’re looking for a plain Cinnamon King Cake, check out this post here.)  Whether you go with the cream cheese filling or opt for the plain cinnamon version, a king cake is a great way to celebrate the Mardi Gras season!

Cinnamon Cream Cheese King Cake

Ingredients

    For the King Cake
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 ¼ tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk, warm but not hot
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • For the Icing
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp milk, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
  • food coloring

Instructions

    For the King Cake
  1. Using a countertop mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon, and egg to the bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the warm milk and melted butter; stir until well combined and add to bowl. Mix for 2 minutes on low speed. Increase speed to medium and continue mixing for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl; cover and place bowl in a warm (~80 degrees) location for approximately 2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured countertop and roll into a 36" by 8" rectangle.
  5. Spread the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling evenly across the dough, leaving a 1” border around the outside.
  6. Starting with a long edge, roll the dough into a 36" log.
  7. Pinch the seam together to seal the dough. (Tip: Use a small amount of water on the edges to help seal the dough together.)
  8. Attach the two ends of the dough together to create a large oval shaped ring. Seal that seam similar to the way you sealed the long seam above. (Tip: The king cake will expand as it bakes, so make the center ring larger than you might think!)
  9. Cover dough loosely and place in a warm location for approximately 2 more hours, or until dough has doubled in size again.
  10. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until top of cake is golden brown in color.
  11. Allow cake to cool and then frost with green, purple, and yellow Icing.
  12. For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling
  13. Using a hand-mixer or a countertop mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and flour. Mix until smooth.
  14. For the Icing
  15. Using 3 medium-sized bowls, measure 1 cup of powdered sugar into each.
  16. Add 1.5 tablespoons of milk and 1/2 tsp of vanilla to each bowl; stir until well mixed.
  17. Add several drops of food coloring to each bowl to create the traditional purple, green, and yellow colors.
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Comments

  1. Looks delicious and fun! I’ve never even heard of a king cake before, but it looks amazing. I think someone needs to bring these to Michigan :)

  2. So ya, love love making bread, but still have never made King Cake…..CRAZY!! I do love King Cake though…..but how could you not right? Your icing alone has my complete attention:-) Yum, Hugs, Terra

  3. I’ve never had a King Cake before but between you and Graham I am craving everything king cake this week. Love this cream cheese stuffed king cake. I must make before lent starts :)

    • Your dessert baking skillz are incredible, Zainab! I think you need to make a King Cake…mainly just so I can drool over how amazing your version will be. :-) There’s all sorts of King Cake varieties, but plain cinnamon (no cream cheese) is probably the most popular, and it’s still my favorite. Happy Mardi Gras!! :-)

  4. Oh man you have me drooling on my keyboard. I love king cake and haven’t had any yet this year. Need to resolve this asap.

  5. I’ve never heard of this kind of cake before but now that I do I totally need it in my life! :) Yummmmmaay!

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