Mini King Cakes


Known as a Turk’s head pan, and more broadly as a gem pan, this vintage collectible bakeware is an excellent addition to any cast iron collection. Many years ago, companies like Wagner, Griswold, and Lodge produced these pans, sometimes with a swirled pattern and other times with fluted designs like this one, in varying sizes. Today, your best bet for scoring one is scouring secondhand stores or websites of online sellers. Treat this decorative pan like a muffin tin and just imagine all the delicious goods you can bake.

These petite confections will be the star of your Mardi Gras celebration. Invite kiddos to help drizzle the icing and decorate with sprinkles.

Mini King Cakes
Makes 6
  • ½ cup warm whole milk (105° to 110°)
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ teaspoons whole milk
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Garnish: green, purple, and gold sprinkles and sanding sugar
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine warm milk, yeast, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2¾ cups flour, salt, cinnamon, and remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Add half of flour mixture to yeast mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Beat in egg and melted butter. Gradually add remaining flour mixture, beating until a soft dough forms.
  3. Switch to dough hook attachment. Beat at medium speed until a soft, smooth dough forms, about 4 minutes, adding remaining ¼ cup flour as needed. (Dough should not be sticky.)
  4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Loosely cover, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°) until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Punch down dough; let stand for 10 minutes. Spray a 6-well cast-iron Turk’s head pan with baking spray with flour.
  6. Divide dough into 6 portions; shape each into a ball. Place balls into prepared wells. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°) until puffed, 30 to 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°.
  7. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream cheese and milk until smooth. Gradually whisk in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Drizzle onto cakes; garnish with sprinkles and sanding sugar, if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.