Celebrate Mardi Gras with a batch of these Muffin Tin King Cakes! Filled with cinnamon + brown sugar flavor, these king cakes make for a festive treat!
I’d be willing to bet that I have the largest collection of Mardi Gras beads of anyone in upstate New York. Granted, that’s a somewhat safe bet to make as Mardi Gras beads aren’t too common here in the frozen tundra of New York. But in Louisiana? I’d be willing to bet that everyone has some Mardi Gras beads stashed away somewhere!
Laura keeps asking me if I want to get rid of some of the bags of beads that are currently living on a rather large storage shelf in our basement. To this date, the answer has always been no. The beads remind me of Mardi Gras and Louisiana. Plus, Robbie really enjoys playing with them. And I keep telling myself that I’m growing to throw a Mardi Gras party one of these years. Maybe this is the year! And if we do throw that party, then you better believe these Muffin Tin King Cakes will be making an appearance.
Muffin Tin King Cakes
King cakes are a traditional Mardi Gras recipe, and they come in all sorts of flavors. I’ve noted before that my first experience with king cake was rather disappointing. I had recently moved to south Louisiana, and I noticed stacks and stacks of king cakes appearing on the tables at the grocery store. I broke down and got a cinnamon king cake. It was ok, but I didn’t understand all the fuss. It tasted like a 3-day old cinnamon roll. You know, the kind you still eat because it tastes like a cinnamon roll…all the while craving a fresh cinnamon roll.
Then I had a king cake from a local well-known bakery. It changed everything! In fact, I ordered a king cake from that bakery when we first moved up here to New York – I needed my king cake fix. Then I decided it was about time to learn how to make an actual king cake. As it turned out, king cakes aren’t all that difficult to make. And now I don’t have to worry about overnighting a king cake half-way across the country!
For these Muffin Tin King Cakes, I took my go-to cinnamon king cake recipe and transformed it into individual, mini king cakes. I was quite pleased with how these turned out! Dividing the dough takes a bit of time, but in the grand scheme of things, these individual king cakes weren’t too hard to make. And as I was sprinkling the colored sanding sugar on top, Robbie walked through the kitchen and said, “Dad, I can’t wait to eat one of those after dinner…if I’ve been good.” Hah!
If you’re familiar with king cakes, then you’ll know that the tradition is to include a plastic baby somewhere in the king cake. (You insert the baby into the bottom of the king cake after it’s baked.) Then whoever gets the baby in their slice of king cake provides the next king cake…and the tradition goes on throughout the entire Mardi Gras season. I didn’t include any plastic babies in these Muffin Tin King Cakes, although perhaps I could’ve stuck one into each of the king cakes. That way, I’d be sure to get invited to a lot of future king cake parties – hmmm, on second thought, this plan is sounding pretty good!
If you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate Mardi Gras, then put these Muffin Tin King Cakes on the list. They’re a tasty and festive way to celebrate Fat Tuesday! Laissez les bons temps rouler <– that’s Cajun French for ‘Let the Good Times Roll!’
Did you make a batch of these Muffin Tin King Cakes at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!
Muffin Tin King Cakes
For the Muffin Tin King Cakes
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast i.e. 1 packet
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup milk
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
For the Filling
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
For the Glaze
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 3 Tbsp milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- green yellow and purple sanding sugar (see note)
- Using a countertop mixer, add flour, sugar, yeast, salt and cinnamon; stir until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and melted butter.
- Pour liquid mixture into the dry mixture.
- Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and continue mixing for 4-5 minutes, or until dough is smooth.
- Transfer dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rest in a warm location until approximately doubled in size (~2 hours). (Note: I let my dough rise in the oven with the oven light on. The oven itself is off.)
- Once dough has finished rising, make the filling mixture by whisking all of the filling ingredients together in a small bowl; set mixture aside.
- Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick baking spray; set pan aside.
- Divide dough into 12 equal portions.
- Cut each of the 12 pieces into 3 pieces and flatten each with the palm of your hand. (Note: At this point, you should have 36 flattened pieces of dough.)
- Drop a small spoonful of the filling mixture on top of each piece of dough.
- Gather sides of each piece of dough together and roll into a tight ball. (Note: The filling should more or less end up inside of each ball of dough.)
- Place 3 balls of dough into each of the muffin cups. Spray tops of dough with non-stick baking spray and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until the dough is ~½” above the top of the pan (~20-30 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place muffin tin on a rimmed sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. (Check the king cakes after 15 minutes. If they are browning too quickly, tent the top with foil. The rimmed sheet pan is used to catch any of the filling that might overflow during baking.)
- Remove pan from oven and let king cakes cool for 15 minutes. Remove king cakes from muffin tin and drizzle tops with glaze. Sprinkle colored sanding sugars on top while glaze is still wet.
Looking for more tasty Mardi Gras dessert ideas? Check out these other favorites, too: