I decide to go simple since I was traveling and did not want to have to bring a lot with me (although I did have to lug around two cupcake pans and a mini mixer—I guess not everyone finds these supplies essential to one’s kitchen). Instead of making cupcakes from scratch, we went with Betty Crocker’s Super Moist French Vanilla Cake Mix. This was definitely the easy way to go because it was cheap and saved us some time.
The buttercream icing was very basic, as well. Just a little bit of butter, shortening, vanilla, milk and a lot of confectioner’s sugar mixed together to form a fluffy, sugary goodness. Then in three different bowls, we colored the icing yellow, purple, and green—traditional Mardi Gras colors. They turned out pretty good considering the limited supplies. Although, I never make enough icing because I was struggling to cover the last few cupcakes.
My friend also wanted to have a King Cake at the party. This is a traditional Mardi Gras cake that was named after the three kings and is associated with pre-Lenten season. It is custom to put a trinket (plastic baby Jesus) inside the cake. The person who receives the piece of cake with the trinket must buy the next cake or throw the next party. Earlier in the year, I made a really easy, really delicious cake using Pillsbury crescent rolls. I decided to replicate the recipe for the party.
To start off, I used two cans of Pillsbury crescent rolls. In a baking pan, I positioned the triangles next to each other to form a circle. It was important that there were no spaces between the triangles because the filling would spill out of the middle. Next I mixed up the filling: a cup of brown sugar, a stick of melted butter, a half cup of flour, and a tablespoon of cinnamon. I spread this around the ring, covering the center of each triangle. Then I folded the pieces of dough towards the center, covering the filling (see picture above). I baked the cake for about fifteen minutes at 350 degrees. Once cooled, I mixed up confectioner's sugar, a little water, a little vanilla, and a little food coloring to make the icing and placed it on top. Check out this website, the inspiration for the King Cake. It has step-by-step pictures that is very easy to follow.
Overall, everything turned out pretty well. Both the cake and cupcakes were a huge hit at the party. And yes, baby Jesus was found by a fashion designer/pastor, who I called the Baby Man for the remainder of my trip.