This Pecan Praline King Cake Snacking Cake packs all the flavor of a traditional king cake, sized down in a cute little 8×8 package. Perfect for Mardi Gras, try it for an updated twist on an old favorite!
Surprisingly, I did not include a king cake recipe in my new book, Small-Batch Snacking Cake Cookbook though I sort of did. I tried to stay away from anything that would seem “too” regional so instead included the recipe for a Pecan Praline Snacking Cake and then I gave it a Mardi Gras makeover for you here on the blog.
If you’ve been around for a while, you already know I love to take the traditional flavors of king cake and turn it into something that is well, not king cake. I’ve done it with these award-winning cookies, with this recipe for fudge, these homemade pop-tarts, and even some King Cake Cracker Candy!
If you’ve never had king cake before, the best way to describe it is a cinnamon-flavored dough covered with icing and sprinkled with Mardi Gras colors- purple, green and gold.
Here in Louisiana, they are commonly stuffed with cream cheese, and often a pecan praline cream cheese, though you’ll find them stuffed with fruit, banana pudding, or chocolate among many other flavor combinations.
This cake is reminiscent of a pecan praline cream cheese stuffed king cake…though we’re topping with cream cheese frosting and stuffing with only the pecan praline. Our cake is cinnamon heavy so even though the cream cheese and pecan praline flavors are dispersed separately, they still come across your palate all the same!
I baked my snacking cake in an 8×8 pan because if you have my book, you know that it’s my preferred pan of choice. It makes the most perfect 9 squares of cake. Not too much, not too little, just perfect for a sweet treat that doesn’t linger on for days. Because, trust me, this King Cake Snacking Cake won’t be around for long on day 2 if it lasts that long.
- For the Cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- For the Filling:
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mist an 8inch square baking pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the granulated sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture to the oil-sugar mixutre, a little at a time, alternating with buttermilk, mixing well after each addition, until just combined.
- Make the filling: In a small bowl, mix together the pecans, brown sugar, melted butter, water and flour and stir until well combined.
- Scrape half of the batter into the prepared baking pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth. Spread the praline topping over the batter. Top with the remaining batter.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out mostly clean.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Remove the cake to a cake plate or cutting board, discard the parchment paper.
- Make the Frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the powdered sugar and cream cheese together until fully combined. Add the vanilla and continue beating into worked in.
- Spread the frosting over the cooled cake, sprinkle the colored sanding sugar while the frosting is still wet. Cut into 9 squares to serve.
I use coconut oil for it's subtle flavoring but vegetable oil can be substitued.
I like my 8inch pan for this recipe, but a round pan can also be used as well as a 9inch square pan. The cake will be thinner and you'll need to begin watching the oven at around 20 minutes as the cooking time will decrease.
Wherever you happen to be, I hope you’ll choose to incorporate some Mardi Gras into your day this season. Fat Tuesday falls on March 1 this year so you have plenty of time to grab some sanding sugar the next time you’re at the store!