Mini parfaits with traditional yellow cake and cinnamon buttercream frosting, tinted in the colors of Mardi Gras- purple representing justice, green representing faith, and gold representing power.
King Cake Mini Parfaits are a fun mini dessert in celebration of Mardi Gras!
While Mardi Gras is actually a season that begins January 6th,
it’s widely celebrated the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, known as “Fat Tuesday,”
and day for indulging before the fasting season of Lent begins.
The King Cake is believed to have originated in France around the 12th century.
Early Europeans celebrated the coming of the three kings or wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child,
twelve days after Christmas calling it the Feast of the Epiphany,
Twelfth Night, or King’s Day.
The New Orleans tradition of serving King Cake during Mardi Gras
is to believed to have begun in the 1870’s.
In the early days of King Cake, a bean, pea, or coin was hidden inside the cake.
The person who got the hidden piece was declared King for the day
or was said to have good luck in the coming year.
The Mardi Gras tradition of King Cake has evolved today to using a small baby-shaped figurine,
hidden inside the King Cake. The lucky person finding the baby in their slice of cake,
hosts the next party as “King” and provides the King Cake.
Originally King Cakes were slightly sweetened yeast loaves,
shaped in a circle or twisted into a braid, topped with icing or covered with glittering sugar.
King Cakes are most often flavored with cinnamon,
but have evolved to include fillings of cream cheese,
fruit fillings of apple, strawberry or lemon, and even praline.
These King Cake Mini Parfaits are a fun nod to the tradition of King Cake
and a way laissez les bons temps rouler without overindulging!
I used 2.5 ounce tasting dessert parfait glasses,
but feel free to make these King Cake parfaits in any size using the glass of your choice.
Instead of cinnamon flavored cake, these parfaits are layered with a traditional yellow cake
and a cinnamon buttercream frosting, tinted in the colors of Mardi Gras. . .
⚜️ purple representing justice,
⚜️ green representing faith, and
⚜️ gold representing power.
Quick Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting, adapted from Williams-Sonoma
Makes about 4 cups
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 1/2 Tbs. milk, plus more, if needed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, the 4 1/2 Tbs. milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt; beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks. Tint with food coloring as desired. I used Wilton gel colors Golden Yellow, Violet and Kelly Green. To make parfaits, layer pieces or cubes of cake with alternating layers of colored frosting. Top with decorative sprinkles if desired.
Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting
- 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 sticks unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 1/2 Tbs. milk plus more, if needed
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, 4 1/2 Tbs. milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt; beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks.
- Tint with food coloring as desired. I used Wilton gel colors Golden Yellow, Violet and Kelly Green for Mardi Gras colors.
To make Mini King Cake Parfaits:
- Divide frosting into three bowls and tint each bowl with a Mardi Gras color; green, gold and purple.Add each tinted frosting to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip of choice. Layer 1st color of frosting in bottom of parfait glass, add cubes of yellow cake. Repeat layers with 2nd and 3rdcolor of frosting, ending with frosting to top mini parfait. Top with decorative sprinkles of choice.
Find more quick and easy recipes, party inspiration and cocktails
for a taste of the Big Easy to celebrate Mardi Gras, HERE.
You’ll find recipes for Muffuletta Puff Pastry Pinwheels, Muffuletta Dip,
Homemade Italian Giardinera and more!
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There’s A Nothing King Cake Can’t Fix ;)
Love this serving idea!! So pretty!
What a post to wake up to this morning, my tastebuds are in overload!!!! My favorites are the plain and the Bavarian creme filled King Cake! Thank you for sharing your dessert recipe!
What a terrific idea!!! Love this! I know they must taste so delicious! A great idea to adapt to other holidays….
I am about Mardi Gras-ed out Mary, but your mini parfaits of King cake look incredibly tempting!! LOVE the napkins, and yep, a sweet bite of cake makes everything better! I love the idea of yellow cake with cinnamon buttercream, a great twist on the original flavors. I hope beads come flying your way and you have a Happy Fat Tuesday!
Thanks for the review of the history of Mardi Gras. Cute napkins and a creative new twist on King’s Cake.
Mary, the parfaits look delicious and thank you for sharing the history! Have a wonderful Monday!
What a great idea! I love these!
These look very cute and festive for Mardi Gras, thanks for sharing :-)
So cute! They look wonderful! Now, about them fixing everything…. I have a list – where should I submit??
I’m typically not a big fan of King cake, but my daughter’s mother-in-law brought me one from Paul’s in Picayune, MS that is delish.
We have never celebrated Mardi Gra. These cakes sound wonderful. AND they are beautiful as well. Your presentation is always flawless!
Mary, you had me at Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting! What a yummy idea and the parfaits are so perfect. Don’t we love having our own individual dessert?
The cinnamon frosting sounds good and I love your napkins Mary:@)
Sooo wonderfully colorful, Mary! Makes me want to do a quilt in these colors. LOL
Would you believe this Northern gal has never tasted King cake? They just don’t seem to have them here in OH. I’ve never seen one for sale…ever! We have the Polish filled doughnuts…Paczki… called “Poonchkie” instead. Yummo…just bought some lemon ones today.
You are so much fun !! Love the tradition of King cake ,yum!
I am loving the shape of the share jars !!
Have a super week !
What a super fun idea! I love that I could easily put these together as an after-dinner surprise for Mardi Gras without throwing a full blown celebration. Also, I have to say that those napkins are awesome!
This Mardis Gras post was fantastic! Thank you!
I’m attending my first Mardis Gras at the Golden Age Club in NB. The Acadian traditions will be in place & these descendants are from France around the 1600’s. I did not know anything of the three colours! Mary your blog is a wealth of knowledge to me & so enjoyable to view too!
I knew today as, pancake Tuesday, the introduction to Lent, so many traditions in different areas.
I’m very curious to the party today! Glad I stopped in for a visit with you!
Happy Mardis Gras!!
My last day of sweets is FAT TUESDAY!!! I’ll try this along with my favorite..Chocolate Cake!! And then the fast begins!! 🎉🍾🎈🎂☂️🎺🎷👑 thanks for sharing!!!!
Wondering if you have mailed the She Shed books yet ? Thanks. Carole Prisk
Hi Carole, I just sent you an email about the status of your book. The publisher is expecting more stock in March. I’ll keep you updated when I hear back.
Yes, I had to change my email address because of something my husband did to the computer. It has caused some confusion and we can’t seem to retrieve the old one. I can’t retrieve any email at the old one. I resigned up for your blog with the new one. Thanks for the update.
Everything on your site is always so gorgeous !!!
These are so cute! I need to make them next year….this year I haven’t had time to bake much.
This post brings back so many memories. I would love a cupcake right now! I love the ingenious idea of stacking the cakes in a glass, and the icing is perfection!
Absolutely love this idea! I don’t have a very big sweet tooth so I am all about smaller portions of desserts.