Celebrate Mardi Gras with your own personal king cake. These whole grain king cakes have less butter and sugar than most but are just as delicious!
King Cake is the quintessential Mardi Gras food.
You gotta have a king cake if you want to celebrate Mardi Gras.
As a kid, we had king cake in class every day leading up to Mardi Gras break. Maybe it wasn’t every day, but it felt like it. And it was awesome. (And yes, you get “Mardi Gras break” in Mobile and it’s the best thing ever.)
If you got the baby, you were responsible for bringing the next king cake to class.
When I lived in New Orleans, we had king cake parties where we all brought a king cake to taste. Hello, king cake hangover.
Now that I’m almost 2000 miles away from Mardi Gras events, I decided I’d make some king cake.
I’ve made king cake in the past when I lived in Birmingham and wasn’t going home to Mobile for Mardi Gras. That time I used this recipe from Southern Living. I liked it but felt like it was a little dry and kinda boring.
This go-round, I made them mini, so everyone gets their own, which I personally think is more fun 🙂
I also used a little extra milk, a little less sugar, whole milk greek yogurt instead of sour cream (for a little extra protein whoop whoop), egg yolks instead of a whole egg (more fat for flavor), and brown sugar on the inside. I also used regular whole wheat flour, but that was only because I forgot to get white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour.
I think it would be even better with whole wheat pastry flour, but I thought they were still quite tasty with regular whole wheat.
You might be worried that I ruined king cakes by making those changes. I understand. I’d be worried too if I was you; no one should be “healthifying” king cake, no siree.
But don’t you fret! I promise you that all of the deliciously rich and sugary flavor are in these cakes. Yes, they’ve been slightly altered so I don’t feel as unsettled (read: sugar crash, stomach ache) after I eat my personal cake.
These treats are great for making ahead of time because I personally think king cake is much better at room temperature and dare I say, a day old… (I really do. I always like the way king cake tastes a day after you make it or buy it from the store)
In case making bread and/or using yeast in recipes makes you nervous, I made a video to prove that it can be done… even while drinking White Russians 😉 Check out the video below the recipe or watch it on YouTube
Mini King Cakes
What You'll Need:
For the cake:
- 1/3 cup warm milk 110-120*F
- 3 TBSP granulated sugar
- 1/4 oz . yeast
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 TBSP melted butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp orange or lemon zest
- 3 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the filling:
- 2 TBSP softened butter
- 3 TBSP brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
For the glaze:
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1-3 TBSP milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- purple green and gold colored sugar
How to Make It:
In a small bowl, stir together warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, melted butter, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and orange zest. Add the yeast mixture.
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment, add the flour, nutmeg, and salt. Stir.
Add in the yogurt-yeast mixture. Stir until combined, pushing down sides a few times.
Knead using the dough hook attachment for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, oil the inside of a mixing bowl.
Add the dough to the mixing bowl, and cover with a towel. Set aside until it doubles in size, about 90 minutes.
When ready, punch down the dough and roll into a large 18x12 inch rectangle. Spread with the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Roll and cut into 12 pieces.
Roll each piece into a circle and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Set aside for 25-45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375*F.
Bake the mini king cakes for 12-16 minutes until lightly golden. Let cool.
Stir together the powdered sugar, a tablespoon of milk, and vanilla. Add more milk if needed to make the glaze.
Drizzle the glaze over the cooled king cakes and sprinkle with colored sugar. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes*Based on this recipe from Southern Living
Watch how to make these adorable Mini King Cakes:
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