AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) –Carnival season begins January 6th, but what we know as Mardi Gras day or Fat Tuesday is coming up on March 1st.

During the Mardi Gras season an important staple is the King Cake. This dessert dates back to the 1870’s when it was brought from France to New Orleans. It’s said to be a cross between a coffee cake and a French pastry and is decorated with purple, green, and gold sugar. The purple resembles justice, green for faith and gold for power. These colors also resemble a jeweled crown that the Wise Men most likely wore.

Inside the King Cake is a plastic baby which is believed to symbolize Baby Jesus but can also include a bean or ring which dates back to New Orleans lore. Either way whoever finds the baby in the cake is crowned king for a day and has to host the Mardi Gras party for the next year and bring the King Cake.

The recipe for an easy King Cake is below. If you want to color your own sugar just add some to a bowl or plastic bag, add food coloring, seal and shake it up to color the sugar. For your King Cake you can omit the cream cheese filling or find another recipe that includes many other fillings.

Easy King Cake

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Colored sugars in purple, green, yellow
  • Small plastic baby, bean, or coin

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Open crescent rolls and separate triangles. Arrange triangles on a large, round baking stone or pizza pan with points in the middle.
3. Press the crescent rolls together at the middle in a round circle, allow the edge to remain loose.
4. In a mixer, combine cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla until well blended. Then mix in pecans.
5. Evenly spoon cream cheese mixture over the pressed area of the crescent rolls.
6. Fold points of crescent rolls over the cream cheese mixture, press the tips into the other side of the dough. Then fold the wide edges of the dough over the cream cheese mixture. Tuck the ends under the inside of the crescent ring. Lightly press to seal any open creases.
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
8. Allow the king cake to cool slightly but not completely.
9. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk and lemon juice until well-blended with no lumps. Pour icing over cake.
10. Sprinkle colored sugar over the top.
11. Place baby inside and serve immediately.