The Mardi Gras King Cake of New Orleans is descended from the "galette des rois" of France. The galette was usually made of puff pastry filled with frangipane, which takes quite a bit of time and effort to prepare.
The king cakes of Spain and Louisiana are yeast-leavened, like a brioche, which also requires more time, skill, and good luck.
Enter: the Mardi Gras Princess Cake! A dump and stir cinnamon-infused batter with a savory influence that's impossible to resist, in a pretty princess pink with Mardi Gras-colored buttercream frosting accents on top.
I've seen people go for "the princess" over "the king" more than once when I've served the two side by side. Happy Mardi Gras! Let your princess vibes roll!
This recipe is a WWL-TV / WUPL New Orleans (and now website) exclusive. It's not in my best-selling cookbook however there are of course plenty of other great cake, dessert, Creole and Cajun recipes throughout!
Mardi Gras Princess Cake
First up: The Cake!
2 cups cake flour, more for flouring pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature, more for greasing pan
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
5 or 6 drops pink gel food coloring
Heat oven to 350F. Thoroughly butter and flour a 6 cup bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together both milks, the vanilla, and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, using hand mixer, beat together butter and shortening. Add sugar in two parts and beat together till fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time.
Add dry and wet mixtures to large bowl alternatively, starting and ending with dry. Stir in the 5 or 6 drops food color.
Pour in pan, tap on counter to release air bubbles. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or till it has a firm body and a toothpick comes out clean.
Turn out onto a plate or cooling rack, while you make the . . .
Buttercream Frosting & Decoration
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar (this will be more than a 16 ounce box, with additional as preferred)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 or 3 teaspoons milk, if needed
4 or 5 drops pink gel food coloring
Purple, green, and gold sanding sugar (or sprinkles)
1 King Cake (or "Princess Cake?") baby
In a large bowl, with hand mixer, cream butter till it lightens in color, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add confectioners sugar in three parts, mixing with butter till smooth. Incorporate vanilla and salt. Add milk to achieve preferred consistency if needed. For a firmer frosting add more sugar, for softer, add milk, one teaspoon at a time.
Set 1/4 of the frosting aside. This will be used later to pipe the accents.
Color remaining frosting, you guessed it: PINK - stir in about 4 drops of the gel coloring.
Get to frosting your cake all over with the pink frosting. Then, with remaining white frosting, pipe three (or six) stripes from the center (as if they were sun rays) OR even encircle the top in large rosettes or blooms, and sprinkle each with purple, green, and gold sanding sugar alternatively.
Place baby in center and you're ready to serve!
One year I made these custom boxes to gift my Princess Cakes in!
Here's another way to decorate. I did it this way this morning for WWL-TV.
Be creative, sky's the limit!
See: these folks are going for the Princess over the King!
With the WWL-TV/WUPL team for my super fun appearance February 13, 2023.
Let your princess vibes roll!