Monkey Bread King Cake

Monkey bread king cake is such a quick and simple way to create a celebratory New Orleans dessert. Using cut up vegan biscuits rolled in cinnamon and sugar gives this cake a delicious cinnamon roll flavor. Vanilla glaze and colored sugar provide the Mardi Gras colors and decoration your guests will expect.

King cake is traditionally eaten on January 6 in honor of the Catholic Epiphany, marking the three wise men (kings) arriving in Bethlehem. The cake is also popularly served throughout Carnival season, up to Fat Tuesday (the beginning of Lent in mid- to late February or early March).

King cake is always sweet and circular (to represent a king’s crown), but can be pastry, cake or bread. Most people are familiar with Louisiana-style king cakes that consist of a sweet bread dough in a ring. Typically the cakes are decorated with icing and colored sprinkles. The colors used are purple, green and gold: purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power.

In Christian tradition, the three kings delivered gifts to the baby Jesus, hence the plastic baby you might have seen in king cake. A small plastic baby trinket (or a dried bean) is hidden in one piece of the cake. The guest who gets the baby is the “king” for the day and is also said to have good luck for the year. In some circles, that person is responsible for the cake the following year. I didn’t have a chance to get a plastic baby trinket. Only Mr. Key Lime and I ate the cake (for a week), so we didn’t hide anything in a slice (he’s sure not baking a cake next year if he gets the baby!). If you use a baby trinket, push it into the cake from the bottom *after baking*.  An alternative method is to place the baby or bean under one slice of cake when serving, so your guests won’t bite into it while eating. 

I use a vanilla sugar glaze to top the cake, with colored sprinkles over the glaze. You can also find vegan food coloring to color your icing, skipping the sprinkles. Vegan sprinkles, such as Wilton brand, are available in most stores. For the biscuits, I used Pillsbury Grands Southern Homestyle Original Biscuits, which are accidentally vegan. If you use another brand, just check the ingredients label to make sure no dairy products are used.

This king cake is perfect for a dessert or for breakfast/brunch. If you don’t serve the cake immediately after baking, you can microwave each slice for 30 seconds before serving. Make sure NOT to microwave the plastic baby trinket, if using.

The baking time will vary for this cake, depending on the biscuits you use and your oven. Begin checking the cake after 20-25 minutes. The biscuit pieces on the inside of the cake take longer to bake, but you can easily check them by removing the cake from the oven, prying back biscuit pieces and making sure you don’t see any doughy parts. Remember that the bottom of the cake won’t be seen, so don’t worry about messing up the bottom. When done, the cake will feel firm and solid to you when pushing down on the bottom of the cake. I baked mine for 40 minutes and it was not overcooked at all.

You might enjoy some of my other Cajun recipes:

Mardi Gras Muffaletta

Meatless Dirty Rice

Jambalaya Soup

Cajun & Creole Spice Mixes

Cajun Baked Okra

Hoppin’ John Black Eyed Peas

 

Print Recipe
Monkey Bread King Cake
An easy version of king cake for a delicious, traditional Mardi Gras dessert. Also perfect for breakfast and brunch!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
For the king cake:
For the vanilla sugar glaze:
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
For the king cake:
For the vanilla sugar glaze:
Instructions
To make the king cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray a Bundt pan with coconut spray oil.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix the cinnamon and sugar together.
  3. Cut each canned biscuit into six pieces, slicing once to cut it in half, then slicing each half into three pieces.
  4. As you cut one or two biscuits, drop the pieces into the bowl of sugar and cinnamon and toss to coat, making sure each piece is coated on all sides.
  5. Place the sugar and cinnamon coated biscuit pieces into the Bundt pan, being sure to fill in the spaces in the center and outer edge as you go, until all of the biscuits are in the pan and the bottom of the cake is even all around. The cake pan will be about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the biscuits you use and your oven. Begin checking for doneness after 20 minutes, being sure there is no gooey dough in the center of the cake. Recheck every 5 to 10 minutes until done.
  7. Once done, cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Place a platter over the top of the Bundt pan, then flip the platter and cake pan over to remove the cake.
  8. Once the top of the cake is cool to touch, top with vanilla sugar glaze and colored sprinkles. Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator and microwave each piece 20 to 30 seconds to warm.
To make the vanilla sugar glaze:
  1. Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl (if you don't own a sifter, try to mash out any clumps with a fork).
  2. Add the vanilla extract to the bowl and blend.
  3. Add the plant based milk, stirring to moisten the sugar, until you reach the desired glaze consistency. (I leave mine a little thick - it will still run down the sides of the cake.)
  4. Spoon around the top of the cake, letting the glaze drizzle down the sides.
Recipe Notes

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Leave any feedback in comments below. Also, share your comments on Instagram: @key_lime_coconut or on Twitter: @keylime_coconut. We love seeing hashtags #keylimecoconut and #keylimecoconutblog when you try our recipes.

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