Easy King Cake

This Easy King Cake uses refrigerated crescent dough instead of the traditional yeasted dough. It’s an easy – and delicious – way to celebrate Mardi Gras!

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This Easy King Cake uses refrigerated crescent dough instead of the traditional yeasted dough.  It's an easy - and delicious - way to celebrate Mardi Gras!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a die-hard college sports fan. I’ve lived in a tent for over a month in order to sit front row-center court for a Duke-UNC basketball game. I’ve tailgated for 12 hours in a parking lot for LSU football games…on numerous occasions. There is just something different about college sports vs. pro sports.

Have you ever wondered how your favorite team adopted their team colors? In the case of LSU, it’s actually related to Mardi Gras. According to legend, a faculty member arrived at LSU in 1893, and he immediately noticed that the school didn’t have much of a sports program. He decided to fix that, and he arranged a football game to be played in New Orleans.

This Easy King Cake uses refrigerated crescent dough instead of the traditional yeasted dough. It's an easy - and delicious - way to celebrate Mardi Gras!

The team “nailed cleats on leather shoes,” but they had no uniforms. So this faculty member – who was coaching the team – stopped at a store in New Orleans to pick up ribbons to decorate the uniforms. As they were preparing for Mardi Gras, the store had plenty of purple and gold ribbons. Apparently, the green ribbons had not arrived yet. So he bought all of the purple and gold ribbons in stock – and the colors stuck.

Easy King Cake

But enough about college sports. This is a food blog, and I’m sure you’re here for a recipe. Today’s recipe is a great one for Mardi Gras season! This Easy King Cake can be made in about 10-15 minutes, and it’s delicious!

This Easy King Cake uses refrigerated crescent dough instead of the traditional yeasted dough. It's an easy - and delicious - way to celebrate Mardi Gras!

Traditionally, king cakes are made with a yeasted, brioche-style dough. A good king cake is amazing, but they do take a bit of time to make. (If you’re looking for the traditional style, I posted my go-to king cake recipe years ago. Don’t laugh at the photos, though!) This Easy King Cake uses the same cinnamon + pecan filling, but it substitutes crescent dough for the homemade brioche dough.

This Easy King Cake uses refrigerated crescent dough instead of the traditional yeasted dough. It's an easy - and delicious - way to celebrate Mardi Gras!

Laura pointed out that this Easy King Cake tastes like the inside of a cinnamon roll. It’s buttery, cinnamon-y and sugar-y in the best way possible! I topped this tasty treat with purple, green and yellow (gold) sanding sugar as those are the traditional colors of Mardi Gras. Instead of sanding sugar, another option would be to drizzle the top with colored icing. Either way, this will be a festive and delicious way to celebrate Mardi Gras!

This Easy King Cake uses refrigerated crescent dough instead of the traditional yeasted dough. It's an easy - and delicious - way to celebrate Mardi Gras!

For this Easy King Cake, I opted for a cinnamon-pecan filling. However, king cakes in Louisiana are available with a variety of fillings. Cream cheese, praline and strawberry are all common options. The “Zulu King Cake” is a chocolate version filled with coconut. If cinnamon-pecan isn’t your thing, then you could use the filling from this recipe to make a cream cheese version. Or go hog wild and add chocolate chips and shredded coconut. The choice is yours!

I hope you enjoy this Easy King Cake as much as we did here in our house – it got 2 thumbs up from each of us! Laissez les bons temps rouler <– that’s Cajun French for ‘Let the Good Times Roll!’

Did you bake this Easy King Cake at home? Leave a comment or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!

This Easy King Cake uses refrigerated crescent dough instead of the traditional yeasted dough. It's an easy - and delicious - way to celebrate Mardi Gras!

Easy King Cake

This Easy King Cake uses refrigerated crescent dough instead of the traditional yeasted dough. It's an easy – and delicious – way to celebrate Mardi Gras!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 314kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper; set pan aside.
  • Working on a lightly floured surface, unroll crescent dough and stack both sheets on top of each other. Roll dough into an 11”x18” rectangle.
  • Using a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, melted butter and chopped pecans.
  • Spread sugar mixture evenly on top of dough.
  • Starting with a long edge, roll the dough up into a tight log. Press seams together to seal.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut log in half lengthwise. Place pieces cut side up next to each other and carefully twist pieces around each other. Transfer dough onto the prepared sheet pan and pull the ends together to create a circle; pinch ends together to seal.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown in color.
  • Remove king cake from oven and let cool completely.
  • Before serving, top with colored sanding sugar and a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar.
This Easy King Cake uses refrigerated crescent dough instead of the traditional yeasted dough. It's an easy - and delicious - way to celebrate Mardi Gras!

Looking for more Mardi Gras recipes? Check out these other favorites, too:

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20 Comments

  1. Cant wait to make this soon for me can i use vegan butter i never had easy king cake before perfect for my after office snacks love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work

  2. 5 stars
    Ahhh, you’re the king of King Cake! Every year I tell myself that I’m going to try making it — maybe this will be the year! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve never heard of this before but what a beautifully fun and festive cake!! And look how much it’s filled … tasty and pretty. Such a lovely weekend baking project, especially on a snowy day. I bet the coloured icing sugar would be a great option too. 🙂

    1. Oh king cake is one of the best things about Mardi Gras! I personally love the cinnamon version, but there are a lot of fun flavors out there. And this version is super easy with the refrigerated dough!

  4. 5 stars
    Wow, this recipe for Easy King Cake sounds fantastic! I love the idea of using refrigerated crescent dough instead of traditional yeast dough, it seems like it would make the process so much easier and quicker. And with the option of different fillings, it’s a perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve never had a King Cake (Nor really heard of it). But that’s such a smart idea – simple ingredients, quite complex (yet fun) exterior, and delicious filling. While the pecan-butter-brown sugar-cinnamon is one of my favourite combos, I’m also loving the chocolate-coconut one. Perfection!

    1. Oh you have to make a king cake this year, Ben! It’s a Mardi Gras tradition. A yeasted version is classic, but this version is so much easier thanks to the refrigerated dough. You should make a chocolate-coconut version and let me know how it turns out!

  6. 5 stars
    The inside of a cinnamon roll is the best part IMO so, if Laura says that’s what this taste like, I’m sold! Love your use of crescent roll dough in making this. And, while I’m not a college football fan, I am a huge fan of anything related to food facts and loved finding out about how Mardi Grass played a role in the uniforms of LSU. Thanks for that nugget, too David!

    1. I can’t disagree with you, Shashi – the inside of a cinnamon roll is basically the best thing ever! I love me some Mardi Gras, and we try to ‘celebrate’ each year here in our house…even if it doesn’t even beads and parades. 🙂

  7. Doing a Mardi Gras with my neighbors and I’ll think I’ll try this King Cake recipe.
    I recently saw a recipe whereas canned cinnamon rolls were used.
    They were pressed in a Bundt cake pan with cream cheese mixture added to the middle.

    1. Hey Loraine! I hope you love this king cake – it’s certainly festive and fun for the holiday! One of my neighbors mentioned that idea using cinnamon rolls, but she said it turned out very dense and almost inedible. I haven’t tried that myself yet, though. It sounds like it should work. Either way, Happy Mardi Gras and have fun with the neighbors at the party!

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