Mini King Cakes for Mardi Gras!

Let the good times roll with these festive little cakes! Surprisingly, even with the Acadian blood I have running through my veins, I have never made a king cake! The cakes have a rich, interesting history: a combination of French, Spanish, and Catholic traditions dating back centuries, they are inarguably a very New Orleans tradition now. I did not include a plastic baby in my recipe, but feel free to add one (or eight) to yours. Click this link to learn more on the tradition.

IMG_8801The photos from this recipe are so colorful, and perfect for the Be Funky photo editing app! Check out my article on Creating Instagram Graphics for your Recipes to see some really fun, creative collages and graphics of my photos, and grab the recipe for these bold little cakes below.

I made my dough from scratch, but this could easily be, and often is, made with store bought, frozen bread dough. (I have some in my freezer right now—you will get no judgment from me). This is a great dough recipe though, very easy to work with.

And, If you want something savory to enjoy for your Mardi Gras celebration, give my Dad’s Chicken and Sausage Gumbo a try!

Mini King Cakes

  • Servings: 8cakes
  • Time: 3hours
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Dough:

(Click Here To View Ingredients)

or use two large loaves of store-bought yeast bread dough, follow thawing instructions on package

Filling:

  • 4 tbs soft butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Glaze and topping:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • tiny pinch of salt, about 1/8 tsp
  • Purple, green, and gold/yellow sprinkles

Cook first 4 dough ingredients in small saucepan over low heat until butter melts and ingredients are combined. Set aside and cool slightly.

Stir together yeast, 1/4 cup warm water, and 1 tsp sugar in a glass measuring cup or bowl; let stand 5 minutes until yeast foams.

Beat cooled sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, egg, and 1 cup flour in stand mixer with paddle attachment until smooth. Reduce speed to low, add the rest of the flour, and once combined, switch to a dough hook and beat on medium low speed for 10 minutes.

Spray the dough with non-stick spray in the same mixer bowl, turning to coat the bowl and dough. Place bowl in a warm place covered loosely with a clean towel or plastic wrap. Let rise 90 minutes or until dough is doubled in bulk.

Combine all 3 filling ingredients and stir to make a smooth mixture.

Turn dough onto a clean surface, and flatten into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle into 4 even rectangles, about 6 inches by 12 inches each, Spread 1/4 of the butter mixture onto each rectangle in a thin, even layer.

Starting at the wide end, roll the dough toward yourself until you have a long thin log like a jelly roll. Repeat this with the remaining dough. When you have 4 long rolls, cut each on in half and pinch the seams and the ends together to form an oval ring, somewhere between a doughnut and a bagel sized ring. Do this with all 8 pieces of dough and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray and let rise for about an hour in a warm place. The best way to check that they are done rising is to give the dough a light poke with your index finger. If the dough springs back, they are not ready. If your finger leaves an indentation that remains, they are ready to bake!

Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool on wire racks while you prepare the glaze. Combine all glaze ingredients in a large measuring cup or bowl. Once cakes have cooled for about 15 minutes, pour glaze over and quickly sprinkle to make a yellow, purple, green pattern. Allow to set and enjoy!

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Valentine’s Day: Nutella and Jam Pie Pops

I am so excited to share this recipe for a few reasons. First, I created it for my first guest blog writing gig with BeFunky.com, an amazing, user-friendly, and really cool photo editing application. All of the photos and collages in this post were edited and created using the app. The collage credit goes to JC Gibbs. She really helped me out this first post, and I am so grateful and lucky to be working with her!  Nutella Jam Pops RecipeNext, it is the first time my little hand model is being featured on my blog—she was very excited to be a part of the process. Look at those hands! Long fingers and short nails like her mama. (and that little freckle… Sigh.)

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And finally, this is just such a cute, fun recipe! My daughter and I had such a fun time creating, baking, sharing, and eating these treats! You can customize the fillings to suit your tastes, change the shapes and sprinkles to suit any holiday or occasion. Have fun and let your little ones help!

Nutella Valentine Pie Pops Recipe

Follow this link to get the recipe and see my first BeFunky blog post!:

Baking Valentine’s Treats With Kids: Nutella & Jam Pops!

Nutella Kids Pie Pops Recipe3

A small drinking glass or two works well for displaying them, or a super cool antique wooden thing-a-ma-jig you picked up at a thrift shop years ago.IMG_8471Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope your day is filled with sweetness and love. And maybe this Crème Brûlée recipe of mine.

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Crème Brûlée : Perfect for Valentine’s Day

In the pastry/dessert world, it just doesn’t get sexier or more romantic than Crème brûlée. People swoon over this stuff; it is fantastic, irresistible, and so delicious. When I thought about a Valentine’s themed blog post, it was the very first thing that popped into my head.

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Crème brûlée is one of those desserts that everyone loves. The funny thing is, most people think it’s terribly complicated and fancy to make. This is sneaky, sexy French simplicity at its finest—4 simple ingredients composed in a way that mystifies people while simultaneously knocking their socks off. It makes people wonder why it’s served in such tiny vessels as they desperately scrape the final bits out with their spoon and look around wondering if anyone will notice them licking their ramekin.

Make this for your Valentine; I guarantee you will both be very happy. (and you’re sure to get lots of smooches.)

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**You can find my original crème brûlée article, along with the story of a curious praying mantis, on DcFud.com.**

Classic Crème Brûlée

Special equipment:

  • 6 4-ounce ramekins (although I have made this in small coffee mugs and very small mason jars before…. When the urge for crème brûlée strikes, nothing can stop me.)
  • small kitchen torch

Ingredients:

  • 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise, or 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt

For the crunchy top:

  • a few tablespoons granulated sugar

To Prepare:

Heat oven to 325 degrees and boil a tea kettle or a small saucepan of water.

Place the ramekins in a baking dish large enough to hold them comfortably and set aside.

Add the heavy cream and split vanilla bean (or extract) to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. You want the cream to get hot, but not boil, so keep an eye on it, and if you see bubbles around the edge, turn off the heat.

While waiting for the cream to heat, whisk the yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl until the mixture thickens and becomes pale yellow. When you lift your whisk a long ribbon should fall. (You can use a mixer, but I always feel like a very fancy French pastry chef when I do it by hand. Plus, it really isn’t worth dirtying a mixer.)

When both your cream mixture and yolk mixtures are ready, slowly add the cream mixture to the yolks while whisking.

Just as a curdle precaution I then pour this mixture through a fine mesh sieve set over a large measuring cup. (the measuring cup helps with the pouring process.)

Next, divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins. Place your baking dish in the oven, and very carefully add the recently boiled water to the pan, making sure not to get any in the ramekins. Loosely cover the entire dish with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. When you gently shake the ramekins they will be very loose and wiggly still, but set. They will firm up after refrigeration.

Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool to room temp, or if you’re impatient like me, just stick them in the fridge as soon as they come out. Let chill for 3-4 hours (at this point you can let them sit in the fridge covered for 3 days before moving on to the next step)

5-10 minutes before serving, sprinkle each ramekin with a light dusting of sugar. I like a very delicate layer of crispy sugar, but if you like it thicker, just add more sugar. Holding your kitchen torch close to the surface of the crème brûlée move slowly and constantly back and forth until the sugar bubbles and turns a caramel color. The sugar will harden within seconds.

Enjoy! (In front of a fireplace, preferably.)