Divas: This Mardi Gras tradition takes the (king) cake

Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras!

This calls for a celebration and in true New Orleans fashion, everyone’s invited. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. Celebrate like a NOLA native with this easy and delicious short-cut king cake.

The king cake is a centuries-old custom. Traditionally, a small porcelain or plastic baby (symbolizing baby Jesus), or other trinket is hidden inside the cake. Today, whoever finds the trinket in his or her slice of cake is assured prosperity, good luck, and is designated “king” or “queen” for the evening. Oh, and must provide the next king cake or host the next Mardi Gras party. Let’s fake a king cake!

SHORTCUT KING CAKE WITH

CREAM CHEESE FILLING

Serves: 8 to 12 Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes

What You’ll Need:

4 oz. cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup chopped pecans

¼ cups raisins

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 (8-ounce) cans crescent rolls

Mardi Gras Colored Icing (recipe below)

Here’s How:

Preheat oven 350°F. In a food processor or small bowl with a hand mixer, blend cream cheese, vanilla, brown sugar, pecans and raisins until well combined.

Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface. Unroll the crescent rolls and separate into triangles at perforations. Form a circle by placing triangles with the skinny points meeting in the center, overlapping the sides by about ¼ inch. About halfway down from points, press seams together.

Evenly spoon the cream cheese filling in a ring, halfway between the center and outside of the circle. Now is when you’d hide the baby or trinket in the filling.

Fold the wide ends of the triangle over the filling, toward the middle. Next, pull the thin ends from the middle toward the outside to enclose the filling. Gently press the seams to close. Use the parchment paper to move the king cake to a baking sheet or pizza pan. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and drizzle with Mardi Gras icing.

Mardi Gras Icing: 1 ½ cup powdered sugar, 2 ½ tablespoons milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, yellow, green, red and blue food coloring. In small bowl, combine all ingredients except food coloring. Divide mixture into three bowls and color each part with food coloring. In the first bowl, add a few drops of green coloring to symbolize faith. In the second, add a few drops yellow to symbolize power. In the last, add equal amounts of red and blue coloring to make purple, symbolizing justice.

This shortcut recipe is inexpensive, easy, delicious and so versatile. You can make it work for any holiday by changing the color of the icing. Green and white for St. Patrick’s Day, pastels for Easter, red and green for Christmas. Handy recipe to have, right?

Mardi Gras is a celebration of food, music, creativity, festivity and joy. Mardi Gras is the love of life. As they say in New Orleans – “Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler!” Let the good times roll!

Frugal Festivity contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Website and blog – www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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