King Cake Monkey Bread is a fun spin off of a New Orleans classic. It's super simple to make and it incorporates the same flavors in King Cake, transforming them into a pull apart dessert everyone will love.
King Cake Monkey Bread
King Cake is a traditional dessert typically eaten from the time of Epiphany in January, through to Mardi Gras celebrations. According to New Orleans Showcase, the traditional King Cake is made from twisted pieces of cinnamon yeast dough, with or without a glaze, sprinkled with purple, green and gold colored sugar. Today, there are additional varieties of the original King Cake that add cream cheese, nuts, raisins or other fillings to the traditional King Cake.
What Does the Baby in King Cake Represent?
The baby found in a traditional King Cake is said to represent the baby Jesus. It's placed into the underside of the cake after baking, and whoever finds the baby tucked away in his or her piece, is expected to bring the cake to the following year's celebration.
Tips for Making King Cake Monkey Bread
- This recipe uses regular, not jumbo, cinnamon rolls.
- I make this in a large bundt pan without issue. Be aware that it puffs up considerably while baking, and if the liquid isn't evenly distributed it could cook over a bit. A tube pan gives plenty of room for the monkey bread to grow.
- This variation of monkey bread isn't made in the normal fashion of coating the cinnamon roll quarters in sugar. Due to this, it can also be sliced into beautiful pieces just like a cake.
- Placing a baby into this King Cake monkey bread is completely optional. In a pinch, a pecan half will work and could be baked right along with the bread.
- The cream cheese glaze that comes with the cinnamon rolls is sweet, and it's really not necessary to add more sugar. You may adjust to your taste.
- Other dishes to enjoy during Mardi Gras are sweet New Orleans Beignets or a big bowl of Quick Jambalaya. Creole Sausage Balls for breakfast or snacking or a heaping helping of Dirty Rice alongside your favorite entrees.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
King Cake Monkey Bread
- 3 13 oz cans cinnamon rolls (i.e. Grands Flaky Cinnamon Rolls 8-count) each cut into 4 pieces, reserve cream cheese icing
- 1 8 oz block cream cheese softened and divided
- ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp butter melted
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 large eggs
- purple, green and yellow edible glitter or sanding sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a bundt pan or tube pan with baking spray. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer whip together 6 oz cream cheese, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and vanilla until combined. Add eggs. Beat in half and half until blended. (Small bits of cream cheese may remain)
- Cut each cinnamon roll into 4 quarters. Arrange evenly in pan. Drizzle evenly with wet ingredients.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden and puffed. Check at 30 minutes and lay foil on top to prevent over browning, if needed. Let stand for 10 minutes then turn onto a serving platter.
- To make the topping: Using an electric mixer, whip together remaining 2 oz cream cheese with cream cheese frosting from cinnamon rolls until smooth. May add additional half and half to make easier to drizzle.
- Drizzle over monkey bread. Decorate with purple, green and yellow edible glitter or sanding sugar.
- Serve immediately.