On Epiphany day— the official beginning of king cake season—Asheville baker Jodi Rhoden had her own epiphany, turning the classic Mardi Gras king cake into a handheld treat.
Rhoden, owner of Short Street Cakes, took her “old school, real deal, made-from-scratch” king cake dough, coiled it, sliced it into medallions, and fit them into a cupcake tin. “People like individual bite-sized things,” she says. “It’s party friendly and it’s less of a mess.”
The French-style dough is rich like a stollen, raised with yeast, and buttery like sin. Jodi modified her recipe from the 1983 Southern Heritage Cakes Cookbook.
The cupcakes are stuffed with one of three things—cinnamon, strawberry, or pecan praline cream cheese. Once cool, they’re topped with a powdered sugar lemon glaze. Rhoden doesn’t miss the most important detail. Inside every dozen or so cupcakes rests a plastic baby.