I had never even heard of King Cake until I went college. If you live on the West coast and have never been remotely near the South during Mardi Gras, you may not have either.
Everything I know about King Cake I learned from my college roommate who was from Louisiana. For her first Mardi Gras, her mom sent her a King Cake all the way from Baton Rouge. From that point on, I knew you can’t celebrate Mardi Gras without one of these cakes.
Although, I wouldn’t classify it as a cake. It’s a light enriched dough that is filled with a cinnamon-sugar filling formed into a giant ring. Sound familiar? It’s almost like a giant cinnamon roll formed into a donut.
Which sounds to me like it’s just begging to be made into a mini King Cake donuts!
How to Make Them
I made this super handy video of me making these King Cake Donuts so that I wouldn’t drown you in the wordy explanation of the process. It’s so much easier to watch!
Things to Know
Even though I didn’t want to inundate you with words, there are a couple things that are important to know about making these donuts.
The first step to making these King Cakes is to make the dough. And like most bread doughs, this one starts with yeast.
Yeast can be a little tricky if you aren’t familiar with it. So here are three things I want you to remember about yeast:
- It is a living thing, so it can go bad very quickly. Make sure your yeast is fresh by keeping it in the freezer and abiding by the expiration dates.
- It also loves sugar! Always add sugar to your yeast so that it has something to feed off of which creates that foaminess.
- But it doesn’t do well in heat. When you mix together your liquid, sugar, and yeast, your liquid should lukewarm and never be more than 110 degrees F.
Ideally, after 10 minutes, your yeast should have “bloomed” and look something like this:
See how nice and fluffy? If it doesn’t look like this either your yeast is bad or the liquid was too hot. But there is no need to fret, just try it again!
Once you mix the yeast with all the other dough ingredients, you will have a very loose shaggy dough like you saw in the video. While you can let your stand mixer to the work and knead in the dough, sometimes it’s very therapeutic to knead the dough by hand.
You will know the dough is ready when it forms a ball and no longer sticks to your hands or the counter.
Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl covered with a bit of plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. If it’s cold in your neck of the woods, it may take longer for the dough to rise.
You can use my favorite trick when I am in a hurry and want my dough to rise faster.
Turn your oven on to it’s lowest temperature (ideally less than 200 degrees F). Once it’s up to temperature, turn the oven off and place your bowl of dough in there to rise. It will have doubled in size in no time!
Once you are ready to make your individual cakes, you have a couple of choices. You can make one big King Cake or you can make the donut version. If you choose to make the King Cake donuts it does not mean you need a donut pan. It just helps them keep their shape.
You can easily form them into small rings and place them on a baking sheet as is.
And now you know everything you need to know to make perfect and delicious King Cake donuts (or a full-size King Cake if you so choose!). Remember, you can’t celebrate Mardi Gras without them!