Mardi Gras King Cake Cupcakes: Fit for a King and Queen

Mardi Gras King Cake Cupcakes: Fit for a King and Queen

cupcakes, cinnamon, contest, king cake, Mardi Gras, yeast
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King Cakes are cakes typically baked throughout the Mardi Gras season (beginning on Jan. 6, Epiphany, and ending on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday) to celebrate the three kings. It is one of the few desserts that I know of that people base an entire party around. The tradition is that one person brings the king cake to the Mardi Gras king cake party. A plastic baby (representing baby Jesus) is buried somewhere in the cake and whoever gets the piece with the baby has to host the next year’s Mardi Gras king cake party.

I’m not Christian and I’m not from New Orleans, so why did I bake a Mardi Gras king cake cupcakes?
1. Iron Barley was having a Mardi Gras King Cake Bake-Off. I won a prize in their last competition for my tomato cupcakes. I had to give it a shot.
2. King Cakes basically taste like cinnamon rolls. Groom 2.0 loves cinnamon rolls. He has in the past talked about going to the airport just because there was a Cinnabon there. Neither of us is sure if he actually did this or just talked about it.
3. In Jewish weddings (as Bride and Groom 2.0’s wedding will be), the bride and groom are supposed to be treated as king and queen for a day. The traditional chair lifting is to emphasize the couples regal status. Therefore, a king/queen cake could be fitting. Maybe I could hide a fake flower bouquet in one and the person who finds it either gets married next or chooses the next bachelor/bachelorette to wed.
The king cake cupcakes were the first cupcakes I have made that used yeast. They were definitely more a bread consistency that a cake consistency. In fact, I used my bread machine to make them.
The cupcakes were amazingly good fresh out of the oven and three days later my house still smells sweet and cinnamony.
The Mardi Gras king cake cupcakes were so tasty on their own that they didn’t really need frosting.  However, cupcakes must have frosting and I thought that would be the best way to work in the Mardi Gras king cake colors:
Purple represents justice,
green represents faith,
and gold represents power.
Another option might have been to just use colored sugar.
If I made these again and called them cinnamon rolls instead of king cakes, I would definitely work some of the praline filling into the frosting. The filling was the best part! Because I didn’t think that it would color well, I opted for a basic cinnamon frosting.
I used purple ball sprinkles to look like Mardi Gras beads and of course, I hid the baby in one of the cupcakes.

The Opinions of Important People

1. Groom 2.0 liked them a lot. He didn’t like the purple sprinkles because he thought they added unnecessary crunch. He also considered them to be a bit brunchy for a cupcake, but it turns out they are considering a brunch wedding so that might not be so bad.
2. Bride 2.0 is sick and has no taste buds.
3. The Iron Barley judges voted my cupcakes 3rd place! When they were announcing the winners, I was standing next to the owner of Kreative Kakes. She was so sweet. She seemed certain I was going to place. She asked me “Do you have a bakery?” I replied matter o’factly, “No, I have a blog.” My prize: A Mardi Gras crown, some fancy beads, Mardi Gras party cups, and a Mardi Gras CD by Bob Case. You can see some of the other contest entries in the picture to the left. Not surprisingly, mine were the only cupcakes.

The Mardi Gras King Cake Cupcake Recipe

I slightly modified the recipe from allrecipes to use a bread machine and to be cupcakes. If you don’t have a bread machine, you can follow the steps from the original recipe.
Mardi Gras King Cake Cupcakes: Fit for a King and Queen

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Mardi Gras King Cake Cupcakes: Fit for a King and Queen


    Pastry Ingredients
  • 1 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Filling Ingredients
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • Cinnamon Mascarpone Frosting Ingredients
  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 8 oz mascarpone
  • 1/2 T cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 cups confectioner's sugar (depending upon how thick you prefer frosting)


  1. Put all pastry ingredients into the bread machine per your machine's instructions. Typically you put in all the wet ingredients, then all dry ingredients, and put the yeast in last. Run the bread machine on the dough cycle.
  2. Remove from the bread machine, cover and allow to rise for two hours or until doubled in size.
  3. To make the filling: combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
  4. Rip off pieces of dough and make long strips out of them (about 2.5 inches wide). I didn't find the dough to be easy to roll so I basically just pressed it into the thin strips.
  5. Spread the filling down the center of the strip.
  6. Fold the top and the bottom of the strip around the filling to form a log.
  7. Stretch the log out to make it as thin as as you can without it breaking.
  8. Start on one end of the log and roll it until it fits snugly in a cupcake liner. Break it off, put it in the liner and continue rolling sections of the log.
  9. Bake at 350 F for 20 min.
  10. Cinnamon Mascarpone Frosting Instructions
  11. Whip whipping cream in mixer until soft peaks begin to form.
  12. Fold in mascarpone.
  13. Mix in cinnamon.
  14. Slowly add the confectioner's sugar, being careful not to over-whip frosting.

The Very Important Tip

I found the plastic baby in the baby section of a local party store. The store employee who helped me find it was very excited to share all of her Mardi Gras knowledge with me. I was most thankful for this particular tip:
“Do not put the baby in the cake when you bake it. It will melt. Hide it in afterwards.”
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17 comments on “Mardi Gras King Cake Cupcakes: Fit for a King and Queen”

  1. Sophie says:

    Prize winning cupcakes no less! And I love the idea of a cupcake you can make in your bread machine.

    They look really pretty, though the plastic baby is a bit scary! I guess it is a bit like the english tradition of hiding a penny in the christmas pudding.

  2. Stef says:

    Thanks! The baby is more than a bit scary.

    I never heard of hiding a penny in the Christmas pudding. That’s interesting.

  3. Actually there is a tradition with wedding cakes where you put charms attached to ribbons into the bottom cake- you can read about it here:
    I use to do cupcakes for the bridal shower and put the charms on top of the cake then frost them so the ribbon came out of the center peak. It’s a pretty fun tradition because each charm represents a different fortune. Perhaps you could do something similiar making special cupcakes for the wedding party?

  4. Gigi says:

    What a creative cupcake and congrats on your win!

  5. Tojosan says:

    Great idea! Loved this article. My wife and I got a kick out of it.

  6. Kai says:

    Every time I learn more about you I am amazed. Now that you have conquered mass productions and weddings (you looked very lovely that evening btw), you have moved on to mardi gras. A King cake cupcake is just genius. Please keep up the tips for me to try.

  7. Lisa says:

    I am getting ready to make a King’s Cake. In the process, I ran across your blog. King’s Cake Cupcakes ~ what a fabulous and creative idea!

    I loved your post and the cupcakes look and sound great! I especially like the idea of a praline filling.

    Most importantly, I value your tip! I’d hate to find a melted baby in my cake!!

  8. Cakespy says:

    Yes! Long live the King…Cupcake!

  9. Stef says:

    Tempered – That is so cute! Thanks for sharing. I never heard of that. It’s a great idea!

    Gigi – Thanks!

    Tojosan – Thanks! Glad you guys enjoyed! I just started using hittail after noticing it on your site. I’m now addicted.

    Kai – Well, I already sent you an email. But, thanks again!

    Lisa – Good luck with your cake! I’ll be curious to hear how it turns out.

    Cakespy – Hah!! I love it!

  10. Anna says:

    Those are adorable! They’re also practical because the problem with King Cakes is they’re sort of designed for kids, but hard to take to classrooms and whatnot. These are nice and portable. I might make some for my daughter’s class.

  11. Bridget says:

    Great idea! My sister who went to LSU will love these! :)

  12. jpalfood says:

    Congrats on the mention!

  13. Stef says:

    Anna – Fun! Hope it works out for you.

    Bridget – Thanks!

    J – Thanks! It’s my first time on slashfood. I’m pretty excited about it!

  14. malindakay says:

    Aaaand you’re a genius. Way to go girlfriend.

  15. Becky says:

    I never thought to make King Cake cupcakes, but you are so creative, and you did. they’re darling!

    I am yeast challenged,and the only time I have used yeast is to make a King Cake.(It’s a long story). I’m getting ready to make on this week. Wish me luck.

  16. Stef says:

    Becky – Good luck!! You’ll do great!

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