It’s Mardi Gras season in Louisiana and, while most of the festivities have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that certainly doesn’t stop us from celebrating a bit at home!

In the past few years, I’ve made a king cake on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This is mostly because I have the day off and that gives me time to cook something that I wouldn’t ordinarily cook. I usually try to make a new creation of some sort – rather than making my family’s favorite Blueberries and Cream King Cake.

This year, I dreamed up a doozie! As most good Southern girls do, I LOVE pecan pie. I knew that I wanted my king cake filling to be just like pecan pie filling, but I wasn’t sure how that would work. When I make my classic pecan pie, the filling is completely liquid-y and cooks in the pie shell until it firms up. Even my Pecan Pie Bars start with a liquid-y filling. So how was I going to put that yummy filling into a king cake?

The answer was actually pretty simple. I made the filling on the stovetop and cooked it until it was firm enough to spoon into the base of the king cake. It actually firmed up a bit more as it cooled.

If you’ve read the blog for any amount of time, you know that I can’t EVER leave well enough alone. So I had to make an additional filling of cream cheese and brown sugar to serve as the foundation for my pecan pie filling.

The result was INCREDIBLE!! It is – by far – my favorite flavor of king cake that I have ever made!

As far as the “cake” part, I always use crescent rolls. The only thing I don’t like about store-bought or bakery king cakes is that the cake part is a dry, bread-like concoction. I use crescent rolls because they are buttery and tender and moist – even the next day!

I’m posting the method of folding the crescent rolls into a king cake. I didn’t actually take pictures this time, so in the pictures, you’ll notice that I use cream cheese and blueberry pie filling. These pictures are from a previous post, but the method stays the same.

Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles and lay them onto a pizza pan, overlapping the pieces. Use your fingers to press the seams together in the middle, leaving the tips and bases not pressed.
Spoon the cream cheese filing onto the crescent dough in a circle. Use the back of a spoon to make a little “trench” all the way around the give the pie filling a place to rest.
Spoon the pie filling into the trench. It’s okay if it dribbles over a bit – or a lot!
Pull the tips of the crescent roll triangles over the filling and press it into the triangle bases.
Pull the crescent roll triangle bases over toward the middle and fold it under the inner circle. Try to do a better job than I did of not leaving any gaps. I did go back and pinch those edges together before baking.
Go around the pinch together any open seams before baking. Otherwise, the filling will leak out during cooking.

So that’s how you put everything together. Let’s talk about how you prepare the fillings!

Pecan Pie Cheesecake King Cake

Cake:

  • 2 cans of refrigerated “Big and Buttery” crescent rolls

Pecan Pie Filling:

  • 1 cup of firmly-packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of light corn syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons of salted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of cool water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium, heat, stirring to assure the butter has melted. Once the mixture comes to an active boil, reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the pecans. Simmer for about 8 minutes,, stirring occasionally. After 8 minutes, in a small jar or bowl, make a slurry with the cornstarch and water, stirring until there are no lumps. Add the slurry to the pecan pie mixture. Increase heat back to medium and stir for 3-4 minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup of firmly-packed brown sugar

While pecan pie mixture is simmering, add softened cream cheese and brown sugar to a bowl and beat or stir together until completely combined.

Allow pecan pie mixture to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay out crescent rolls out as pictured above. Spoon on cream cheese filling and use the back of a spoon to make a little “trench” in the cream cheese for the pie filling. Spoon the pie filling into the trench and over the cream cheese. Follow above directions for folding the king cake.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Topping:

  • 1 tub of Pilsbury Salted Caramel Frosting
  • Candied pecans
  • Sprinkles of choice

Spread frosting over the entire cooled king cake and add the pecans and sprinkles in alternating sections.

Well Duh #1: Please follow the folding directions. I’ve had a few friends make my king cakes and just freestyle the folding part. While I’m sure the cake was delicious, it looked like a total trainwreck!

Well Duh #2: It doesn’t seem like a lot of sugar in the cream cheese mixture. It’s not. The filling will be just sweet enough. Remember, pecan pie filling is crazy sweet! So you don’t need the cream cheese mixture to be very sweet.

Well Duh #3: While I prefer to use the “Big and Buttery” crescent rolls, it’s not a deal-breaker if you can’t find them. I ordered them in my grocery pick-up order, but they substituted the regular crescent rolls instead. It worked fine!

Well Duh #4: There are lots of Mardi Gras-themed sprinkles out there. You can even just use food coloring and color sugar in the three Mardi Gras colors, purple, green, and gold. Here are a few of my favorite sprinkles:

These are ones pictured on this king cake:

These are $11.98 on Amazon
These are $6.99 on Amazon.

You can also find the colored sugar on Amazon. Price ranges from $5 – $7 each. Purple, Green, and Gold.

This is one decadent and delicious king cake! It is very rich and you probably won’t be able to eat more than one piece – which is great because that means there will be leftovers the next day!

Is it a lot of work? Maybe.

Is it worth it? TOTALLY!!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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