Did you know? Today is the first day of Christmas! The 12 Days of Christmas starts today and ends January 5th.
Many of us know the 12 Days of Christmas song. We know it’s about someone getting lots of gifts, especially birds, from their true love. A wee research led me to a number of ideas about its origin. I found reference to an early written version from 1780 published as a children’s “memory and forfeits” game, much like ‘I went to the market and bought’ game where players are tasked with remembering and repeating what was said before their turn. Others hypothesize it’s an English Christmas carol, a French folk song from 1770, and even a ‘code’ persecuted English Catholics used to practice their faith back in the 16th-17th centuries. A century later, it was described as a game played at a Twelfth-night celebration.
Fast forward to the 19th-20th centuries and the parodies ensued. Watch this family of 12 sing their own version called “Creative 12 Days of Christmas” because it’s hilarious!
Although opinions vary about the origin or meaning behind the song, today it’s rooted in both secular and Christian Christmas traditions. And it’s so much fun to sing! Whether the song is enjoyed for a secular or religious reason, we can extend the spirit of the season 12 more days, not only through gift giving, but also through acts of kindness.
And on January 6th, also known as Twelfth Night, Le Petit Noël, Little Christmas, Feast of the Epiphany, or Three Kings’ Day, the celebration continues! More about that later.
Happy Almost Mardi Gras! Every January 6th kicks off the official king cake season and Carnival. I wrote a guest post,‘Tis the season of King Cakes, over at Charlotte Riggle’s blog for all you food and culture buffs.
Today I want to share another easy king cake recipe. The recipe in my book,THE KING CAKE BABY, uses frozen bread dough with a cinnamon-sugar filling and includes a recipe for making a Cream Cheese icing. In this recipe, I use three Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheets, the cinnamon-sugar mix, colored sugar sprinkles, and a can of Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing. Easy peasy! The only thing easier than making this king cake is picking one up at your favorite grocery or bakery.
Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheet King Cake Recipe
3 Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheets
cinnamon sugar mix: ½ c. granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 plastic king cake baby (to hide inside, of course!)
purple, green, & gold sugar sprinkles
1 can Pillsbury Cream Cheese Icing or make your own
Heat oven to 375 °F (190 °C).
Cover a baking pan with parchment paper or use a nonstick cookie sheet. Unroll dough sheets and sprinkle each with about a tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar mix.
Roll each dough sheet from the shortest side of the rectangle.
Arrange into an oval shape. Press seams together to connect. Bake 20-25 minutes.
Decorate the King Cake
Soften ½ can of Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing. Have purple, green, gold sprinkles handy.
While the cake is still warm, pour icing on top. Alternate with purple, green and gold colored Mardi Gras sprinkles.
If you prefer to make your own icing:
3 cups powdered sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons melted butter
¼ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
3 tablespoons milk
Mix all five ingredients in a bowl. The icing should be thick enough to slowly drip from a whisk or spoon. Drizzle over the warm cake.
Hide a plastic King Cake Baby in the underside of the cake. Before eating, check to see if you got the baby!