King Cakes Fit for a Kid

Let the Mardi Gras festivities begin with these individual king cakes! You and the kids will be starting a new tradition of fun.

By FamilyTime

 Every year during Carnival in New Orleans, a grand celebration takes place. Parades and parties fill the days and nights, all accompanied by festive foods.

King cakes are the ever-present food, served during the entire length of Carnival in honor of a mock Mardi Gras king and queen.

Traditional king cakes are sweet yeast breads, coated in colored sugar or icing and baked with a plastic toy baby inside. Whoever finds the "baby" is expected to provide the king cakes for next year's celebration.

A New Celebration
The FamilyTime food editors have taken the liberty of making cupcake-sized king cakes which offer up an edible baked surprise inside each one.

In place of the little plastic toys, which can be dangerous if swallowed, we substituted edible candies, such as giant gum drops, Swedish Fish, Tootsie Rolls or Chocolate Kisses. The cupcakes are iced in the traditional vibrant colors of Mardi Gras: purple, green, and gold. Definitely fun!

Every cupcake has a different candy tucked inside. Let the child with a particular candy be the "winner" responsible for next year's cakes. Or, instead of such a heavy responsibility, perhaps that child could be crowned with a foil crown and declared "queen" or "king" of your own private Mardi Gras!

Throw a king- or queen-of-the-day party. Make up games, put on a parade complete with glitzy Mardi Gras costumes, make Mardi Gras masks. Have fun!

Getting Organized
Choose the size cupcake tin you will need. The bigger the better for kids, but it is equally appealing to offer a multitude of colorful mini cupcakes instead.

Mardi Gras is a rather gaudy holiday, and so we chose silver cupcake paper cups. Choose your favorite silver or gold cups, or something even more outrageous!

Measure all ingredients before mixing the batter. This will save a lot of time and effort and teach the kids good kitchen habits.

Here's a tip: If time is short, use a boxed cake mix and tint canned vanilla icing for decoration.

Line the cupcake tin with the paper cups and fill each about a quarter full with batter. Place one candy in the center of the batter, and fill the cups with more batter until about three-quarters full. If you make mini cupcakes, be sure to use mini candies!

Bake the cupcakes according to the recipe. Don't insert a toothpick or skewer in the cakes to test for doneness - you will end of with a candy-coated tester! Instead, press the surface of a cupcake gently. When the cake springs back, it's done.

The Art of Decorating
Decorate the cakes with purple, yellow and green buttercream or confectioners' sugar frosting. Dust them with multi-color sprinkles, dragees, or crystallized flowers.

Tint the frostings so that they are deeply hued. To make purple, mix red and blue food coloring together. We recommend paste food coloring, which produces much more intense colors than the more familiar liquid colors.

Be whimsical; anything goes for Mardi Gras! Decorate the table with beads and confetti and let the festivities begin!