The Speckled Palate
February 28, 2014

Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake

Celebrate Mardi Gras by baking a homemade Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake for friends and family! King Cake, a traditional pastry that’s well-loved during Carnival season in South Louisiana, is easier than you think to make at home. All it takes is time and patience. This king cake, stuffed with cream cheese and raspberry filling, boasts two well-loved flavors. Make a Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake to celebrate Mardi Gras this year.

Celebrate Mardi Gras by baking a homemade Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake for friends and family! King Cake, a traditional pastry that's well-loved during Carnival season in South Louisiana, is easier than you think to make at home. All it takes is time and patience. This king cake, stuffed with cream cheese and raspberry filling, boasts two well-loved flavors. Make a Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake to celebrate Mardi Gras this year.

I have vivid memories of a Mardi Gras party in one of my elementary school classrooms. I was in the fifth grade, and it was all kinds of strange for a girl who’d only heard of this Mardi Gras business once or twice before. (As y’all should know, I was raised in Tennessee by parents who were from “up north.” Mardi Gras was not a blip on our radar…)

This shindig included beads that were not thrown but were instead handed out calmly. Weird music I’d never heard before was played loudly and a horribly dry cinnamon roll masquerading as a cake was served as a delicacy.

I was unimpressed with the business, particularly the King Cake, and I went about the next several years not knowing Mardi Gras to be anything different.

Celebrate Mardi Gras by baking a homemade Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake for friends and family! King Cake, a traditional pastry that's well-loved during Carnival season in South Louisiana, is easier than you think to make at home. All it takes is time and patience. This king cake, stuffed with cream cheese and raspberry filling, boasts two well-loved flavors. Make a Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake to celebrate Mardi Gras this year.

When I moved to Louisiana for college, I had a lot of learning to do, especially in regards to Mardi Gras. (Fun fact: Mardi Gras is actually a family-friendly activity, and as one of my girlfriends explained to me, “People from around here don’t flash the floats because somebody up there knows your mom, and she’ll find out before day’s end.” So. The more you know.)

In fact, my first Carnival season, I was offered a slice of king cake from a friend, and I kindly refused.

“I’ve had that before,” I told her kindly. “It’s not really my thing.”

“Erin, you’re from Tennessee,” she stressed. “I think you need to try it again.”

She foisted a plate of king cake onto me… and I skeptically took a bite as she and several of our other friends watched the scene with barely concealed excitement.

I was blown away from the first bite.

This cake was nothing like that disgusting cinnamon roll I was served so many years before. In fact, it was bursting at the seams with strawberry filling, and I quickly changed my tune about the cake I once swore I loathed because it was basically heaven in my mouth.

Celebrate Mardi Gras by baking a homemade Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake for friends and family! King Cake, a traditional pastry that's well-loved during Carnival season in South Louisiana, is easier than you think to make at home. All it takes is time and patience. This king cake, stuffed with cream cheese and raspberry filling, boasts two well-loved flavors. Make a Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake to celebrate Mardi Gras this year.

So. Mardi Gras. King Cake. All that jazz…

Y’all know that Fat Tuesday is in a few days, right?

Since we don’t live in South Louisiana anymore, I’m always a bit sad during Carnival season because we don’t get to participate in the fun or see any notable parades march by our home. However, I’ve whipped up a sweet little goodie to give us a taste of the season here in Texas.

Celebrate Mardi Gras by baking a homemade Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake for friends and family! King Cake, a traditional pastry that's well-loved during Carnival season in South Louisiana, is easier than you think to make at home. All it takes is time and patience. This king cake, stuffed with cream cheese and raspberry filling, boasts two well-loved flavors. Make a Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake to celebrate Mardi Gras this year.

This King Cake contains a combination of my favorite fillings — raspberry and cream cheese. Something about these two together just makes the cake so delicious, and this recipe was a total hit.

Between me, Winston, my dad, and my cousin and her family, we hardly have any left!

Learn how to make your own today so you can celebrate Mardi Gras wherever you live, too.

King Cake is a traditional Carnival cake that is well-loved in Southern Louisiana. Celebrate this Mardi Gras by whipping up Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake!
5 from 3 votes
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Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake

Celebrate Mardi Gras by baking a homemade Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake for friends and family! King Cake, a traditional pastry that's well-loved during Carnival season in South Louisiana, is easier than you think to make at home. All it takes is time and patience. This king cake, stuffed with cream cheese and raspberry filling, boasts two well-loved flavors. Make a Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake to celebrate Mardi Gras this year.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings 1 large king cake
Author Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk , scalded
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour , sifted and divided
  • 2 large eggs , beaten
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

Cinnamon Sugar Filling

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water

Cream Cheese and Raspberry Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • Purple , yellow and green food coloring

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water, stir well to allow the yeast to start working, and then set it aside.
  2. In the bowl of an upright mixer combine the scalded milk, sugar, butter, salt, vanilla extract, orange zest and orange juice, mix with the wire whip attachment on slow speed until the butter is melted, and then allow this to cool until lukewarm, or around 110° F.
  3. Change out the wire whip attachment on the mixer and replace it with the dough hook, then stir in 2 cups of the flour and beat on medium speed until smooth. Turn off the mixer. Add the yeast mixture and the beaten eggs. Turn on the dough hook and allow this to mix again until well incorporated. Add 3 more cups of flour a cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky and has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing on a slow speed with the dough hook for about 5 minutes to knead the dough. (Add a little more flour if it looks like the dough surface is sticking to the bowl or if it looks too moist.)
  4. Once kneaded, turn off the mixer and transfer the dough into a well-greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise and double in size. (About 90 minutes.)
  5. While the dough is rising, make the cream cheese filling. Combine the softened cream cheese with the sugar, egg yolks and vanilla, then set aside.
  6. Punch down the dough, then transfer it to a floured surface. Now, roll it out into a rectangle. (Make it about a ½ inch thick.)
  7. For inside the dough coating: combine the sugar, cinnamon and water then gently spread that over the entire surface of the dough. Smooth it over the dough surface with the back of a spoon.
  8. Add the cream cheese filling just inside one long edge of the dough, spreading with a spoon, and then top it with the raspberry jam. Then in jelly roll fashion, roll up the dough and shape it into a complete ring or circle.
  9. Transfer the rolled dough ring to a greased sheet pan, then brush the heavy whipping cream onto all the exposed surfaces of the dough.
  10. Place the sheet pan in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise and double in size again. (About 60 – 90 minutes.)
  11. Preheat oven to 375°, and bake for 10 minutes, then turn heat down to 350° and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean when poked through the largest section of the cake.
  12. Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.
  13. For the icing: Combine the powdered sugar and orange juice in a deep bowl whisking until smooth. If icing is stiff, whisk in ½ tablespoon water at a time until spreadable. Dye the icing purple, green and gold for Mardi Gras and set aside until it's time to dress the cake.
  14. Transfer cooled cake onto a serving platter and drizzle the top and sides with the icing. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Cajun Chef Ryan.

Celebrate Mardi Gras by baking a homemade Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake for friends and family! King Cake, a traditional pastry that's well-loved during Carnival season in South Louisiana, is easier than you think to make at home. All it takes is time and patience. This king cake, stuffed with cream cheese and raspberry filling, boasts two well-loved flavors. Make a Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake to celebrate Mardi Gras this year.

Have you been to Mardi Gras?

What’s your favorite flavor of king cake?

Celebrate Mardi Gras by baking a homemade Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake for friends and family! King Cake, a traditional pastry that's well-loved during Carnival season in South Louisiana, is easier than you think to make at home. All it takes is time and patience. This king cake, stuffed with cream cheese and raspberry filling, boasts two well-loved flavors. Make a Cream Cheese and Raspberry King Cake to celebrate Mardi Gras this year.

28 Comments

  1. Allyn

    I was at that 5th grade party!
    Though I still have a deep, secret love for the bastardized TN version of the cake. I should try the real version at some point.

    • Erin

      OH MY GOODNESS, Allyn. You WERE at that party! And I love that you have a deep, secret love for the bastardized Tennessee version of King Cake. Next year, let’s get you an authentic cake for good measure. 🙂

  2. Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies

    The first time I had King Cake was last year. Someone brought it in to work from a bakery, and it was disgusting (with a weird plastic baby on it). This version sounds a million, billion times better. If Tennessee’s was bad, imagine how awful Michigan’s would be! Most people eat paczkis round these parts on Fat Tuesday (and the storebought version of those are atrocious too! Homemade = mandatory)

    • Erin

      Aww, I’m sorry to hear that the king cake brought into your work last year was disgusting. The weird plastic baby is a thing… but when I make king cakes at home, I generally leave those out, as I don’t want to deal with the trouble.

      So the real question is: What is a paczki? And have you made them? Because I need to learn about this tradition!

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  4. Agos

    Yummy! I like plain cinnamon king cake, but I also love raspberries so this version sounds really good.

    • Erin

      Thanks, Agos! I love that you like the regular plain cinnamon king cake, but that you also love raspberries. This combo, in my opinion, is pretty fantastic.

  5. maria

    Yum! Looks delicious. I have had bad experiences with recipes that call for yeast, any tips?

    • Erin

      Thanks, Maria! What problems have you encountered with yeast in the past? Hopefully, we can troubleshoot this for you…

    • Erin

      Thanks so much, lady! I’m glad you’ve been enjoying all my recipes!

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  7. Sally Treadwell

    I ABSOLUTELY ADORED THIS! Just watch the 2nd rising, because I gave mine the full 90 mins, and it was a King Cake on steroids! Absolutely delicious. Will make every year for Mardi Gras.

  8. Carol Borchardt

    This is so beautiful! Looks like Mardi Gras for sure!

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  11. Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes)

    This looks fantastic!

  12. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious

    I’ve had cinnamon before, but never this! Wow! Cream cheese and raspberries! How can you go wrong!

  13. Catalina @ Peas & Peonies

    This is making my mouth water! It looks so delicious and so awesome!

  14. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet

    I’ve never made King Cake! This needs to happen soon! So festive!

  15. Amy @ Two Healthy Kitchens

    This looks so delicious! And I absolutely love the festive colors – they make it look so cute! I’ll have to try making this! 😀

  16. Jenny | Honey and Birch

    I usually just celebrate Mardi Gras with cocktails….. cake and cocktails sounds like a much better plan!

  17. Brandy | Nutmeg Nanny

    LOVE King Cake! Totally digging the cream cheese and raspberry flavors!

  18. Marti

    When does the 1 Tbsp of heavy cream get mixed in?

    • Erin

      The heavy cream is brushed on top of the dough before it bakes, Marti. It doesn’t get mixed in.

  19. Agness of Run Agness Run

    This is definitely a king’s cake, Erin! I love every aspect of this recipe!

  20. Jessi

    Wow, that cake looks so delicious!!! I really like all the beautiful colors you added to it. Thanks for sharing:)

    • Erin

      Thank you so much! It’s one of our favorites, and I hope you enjoy it, too!

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