Monday, February 20, 2023

Easy Bananas Foster King Cake

Tuesday is Mardi Gras in New Orleans, also known as Fat Tuesday. It is the culmination of Carnival season, which kicks off on January 6 every year (Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day). Many people in Indianapolis (which is 800 miles from New Orleans, by the way) don't take it seriously. They may celebrate by indulging in southern food and sweets, but that's the extent of it. In contrast, southerners celebrate throughout the entirety of Carnival season with dozens of parades, many gatherings, lots of alcohol, and indulgent foods—including king cake. 

King cake isn't just a one-day treat. Bakeries in New Orleans have been selling king cakes since January.  So if you haven't had your king cake fix yet, I have just the solution for you. I'm making bananas foster king cake with store-bought puff pastry. I wanted to combine a classic New Orleans dessert with a classic Mardi Gras dessert.

Most bakers make king cakes with brioche dough, which is an enriched sweet bread, and fill them with either cinnamon and sugar or a cream cheese mixture. So my version definitely isn't "traditional." But it's important to point out the king cakes we see today are very different now than they were even just a few decades ago. And if you visit New Orleans during Carnival season, you'll find king cakes in dozens of different flavor combinations.

Easy Bananas Foster King Cake

Yield: 12 servings

Time: About 1 hour


For the cake

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 2 Tablespoons Challenge salted butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon rum (or 1/2 teaspoon rum extract)
  • 1 teaspoon banana extract (you can substitute vanilla extract)
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 15 grams (2 Tablespoons) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 Tablespoons pecans, chopped
  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced thin

For the icing

  • 115 grams (1 cup) powdered sugar
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Yellow, green, and purple food coloring or yellow, green, and purple sprinkles


For the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring puff pastry to room temperature. Cut it down the middle lengthwise in two equal pieces.
  2. Mix butter, rum, extract, sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom, and pecans. Fold in banana pieces.
  3. Spread half of the mixture on one half of the puff pastry sheet and the rest of the mixture on the other half.
  4. Roll up each puff pastry piece from the long edges like a log. Place the two pieces side-by-side and twist one over the other to form a rope.
  5. Transfer the twisted puff pastry onto the parchment paper and shape it into an oval. Pinch ends together.
  6. Bake 30 - 35 minutes until golden brown on top and cooked through. Set aside to cook.

For the icing

  1. Combine powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Icing should be thick but pourable. 
  2. (Skip this part if you choose to use sprinkles.) Divide icing into three bowls. Color with yellow, green, and purple food coloring. 
  3. Pour icing over cooled king cake. (Skip this part if you choose to use food coloring.) Decorate with sprinkles. Allow icing to set.
  4. Slice and serve.


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