The only way it could be easier is if you don’t make it
January 6 marks 3 Kings Day. In our household this means we burn frankincense and myrrh incense, eat king cake, and light the Christmas tree and outdoor lights one last time before putting everything away for another year. We would always wait for the 3 kings to arrive before taking our decorations down. My son’s girlfriend’s family celebrates in another way: the children put a box of grass under the bed for the camels to eat. If the children have been good all year, the grass will be gone in the morning, and a gift will be in its place.
Many people make a traditional King Cake (iced in yellow, green, and purple) for the celebration. A plastic baby is put into the cake and whoever gets that piece, will have good luck all year. King cakes are not easy to find in bakeries on Long Island. Last year I visited several Hispanic bakeries, but none sold the cake. It can be ordered online but has to be done in advance, and really, who’s thinking about ordering a cake online right after Christmas?
Easiest cake ever
If you are like me, the thought of baking a yeast cake is overwhelming. If you are my cousin, this sounds like fun. Unfortunately, my cousin does not live near me. I vowed to try to make my own the easiest way possible, since it was so hard to find in a bakery. I googled online for “easy king cake” and came up with lots of versions. Several involved cinnamon rolls that you buy in the refrigerated section of the supermarket. I went to King Kullen and bought 2 packages of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls and a box of gel food coloring. That’s it.
The directions I found online said to unroll the strands of cinnamon rolls and shape into a circle. When I opened up the package, there was nothing to unroll; you just take these round biscuit shapes out and put them on a baking sheet, cinnamon side up. So there go those king cake directions online – they must have had some other type of cinnamon rolls to start with. I proceeded to simply place the rolls on a baking sheet in a wreath pattern and call it a day. The wreath was meant to symbolize the circular path the 3 kings took to confuse Herod, who was trying to find the baby Jesus. The rolls/wreath baked for a scant 13 minutes – watch them carefully – they bake fast.
I took the 2 little jars of icing they came with and made 3 colors with the food coloring – yellow for power, green for faith, and a mixture of red and blue to make purple for justice. Ice them as soon as they come out of the oven so it melts a little and gets gooey.
So that’s it! Plug in your Christmas tree, light some incense, and eat some easy King Cake. I know it’s not a perfect, traditional King Cake, but if it was, honestly, it wouldn’t be made. Sometimes you do what you can – and who doesn’t like the smell of cinnamon rolls?