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Quick and Easy King Cake Recipe with Crescent Rolls

If you want a low key Mardi Gras celebration this year, these individual king cake crescent rolls are made with cinnamon, sugar, and cream cheese and topped with decadent sprinkles.

Nothing says Mardi Gras like a sweet and flaky King Cake!

But first, here’s a little Mardi Gras history for you if it isn’t really your holiday.

king cake crescents with frosting

Truth be told, I hadn’t taken the time to learn what it actually meant until recently and I found it super interesting.

What is Mardi Gras?

The first US Mardi Gras was in 1704, but that’s not where the story begins.

The festival itself goes back to pagan celebrations of fertility and spring in medieval Europe. Then with the rise of Christianity came the 12 days of Christmas and the 40 days of fasting and prayer that is known as Lent.

The observation of Mardi Gras became sort of a last hurrah between Epiphany (the twelfth night) and Lent.

This is how Fat Tuesday got its name because people would party it up before Lent started the following day (Ash Wednesday).

And as you may have guessed, Mardi Gras literally means Fat Tuesday in French. It began was a way to merge two cultures and thus, a new tradition was born.

As someone who was raised as a non-denominational Christian, I didn’t observe or even know much about the Mardi Gras celebration (or Lent for that matter) until adulthood so for me, every day was Fat Tuesday!

Ha! I kid…..Mostly.

So there’s your history lesson as far as I understand it but there’s a lot more to it. Read about the origins of Mardi Gras if you find this as fascinating as I do.

king cake crescent rolls image with text

So Why King Cake?

This is another tradition with Christian roots and it has to do with thee three Kings who visited baby Jesus after His birth. This is why you may find a small plastic baby figure baked in or with the cakes.

People would nosh on these cakes from Epiphany right up until Fat Tuesday.

The traditional king cake is surprisingly simple. Some people compare it to cinnamon rolls and that’s not too far off.

The cakes are made in a large round circle with cinnamon swirled dough and frosted, then decorated with green, yellow, and purple colored sugar, which are generally recognized as Mardi Gras colors.

Mini King Cakes

Our mini king cakes offer a little nod to the original but are super easy to prepare. I’m a huge fan of crescent roll recipes in general. They are so versatile!

We’re using some pre-made supplies to cut down on time and effort so you can enjoy a fun and tasty afternoon rather than the whole Mardi Gras season.

Shopping List

King cake crescent rolls use just a few basic ingredients and take less than 30 minutes to make. You could easily double this easy recipe for a Mardi gras party.

What to buy:

  • 1 tube Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup prepared white icing
  • Purple, green, and gold sugar sprinkles


How to Make King Cake Crescent Rolls

If you need a quick and easy dessert and can’t get your hands on a real king cake, this simple recipe saves the day! Perfect after some delicious Creole shrimp and rice.

First, preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Then take the sheet of crescent roll dough and separate crescent rolls into triangles. Place slices on the baking sheet.

cream cheese frosting

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, confectioners sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth and well combined. 

Then, in another small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon.

king cake cinnamon sugar filling

Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese filling over the top of each crescent roll triangle and top with a layer of cinnamon sugar.

spread filling on crescent dough

Roll each crescent roll up starting with wide ends of the dough and place it on the lined cookie sheet.

Bake the rolls for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.

roll crescents and bake

Transfer the mini cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the rolls are cooling, warm the icing in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds to soften.

Frost the top of each crescent roll and immediately decorate with purple, gold, and green sugar sprinkles on the top of the cake.

mini king cake crescent rolls

How Should I Store a Mardi Gras King Cake?

If you plan to eat these rolls pretty quickly, they will last on the counter at room temperature for a day or two.

Or if you want them to last up to a week, you may put them in the refrigerator.

Free Printable Mardi Gras Mask

Yeah, this holiday definitely has its scandalous side.

And because people wanted to partake in various forms of debauchery without the associated notoriety, they would wear large and decorative masks to conceal their identity during the carnival season.

The mask is now as much a part of Mardi Gras as the food and music.

Below is a printable page you can color or cut out in observance of this tradition (hopefully minus the scandal)!

Print the Recipe

I hope you enjoy our little king cake crescent rolls and maybe even learned something new in the process. Feel free to print the recipe below and let me know how they turn out!

king cake crescent roll recipe

King Cake Crescent Rolls

Andrea Updyke
Delicious mini king cakes made with crescent rolls! They are filled with sweet cream cheese, cinnamon and sugar and then frosted to perfection.
5 from 1 vote

Be sure to check out my tips and tricks in the post. Scroll up to read!

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 22 mins
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 280 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup prepared white icing
  • Purple green, and gold sugar sprinkles

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth and well combined. 
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture over the top of each crescent roll triangle. Top with a layer of cinnamon brown sugar.
  • Roll each crescent roll up and place it on the lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the rolls for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Allow the crescent rolls to cool completely, then heat the icing in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds to soften.
  • Spread a layer of icing over the top of each crescent roll and immediately decorate with purple, green, and gold sugar sprinkles.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Store in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a day or two.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 280kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 2gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 136mgFiber: 1gSugar: 38g

Nutrition information is estimated. For the most accurate info, always doublecheck with your ingredients.

andrea

ABOUT ANDREA

I'm a travel-loving boymom living in Raleigh, NC. I love making life a little bit easier and a lot more fun by sharing easy recipes, travel tips, and holiday treats. Read more...

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