90-Minute Whole Wheat King Cake Cinnamon Rolls

by Erin

Happy Mardi Gras! Start the celebration with these whole wheat cinnamon rolls, cinnamon pecan filling and cream cheese icing. Decorated like a king cake with green, purple, and yellow sprinkles and a hidden plastic baby.

Whole Wheat King Cake Cinnamon Rolls 1

With the coming of yet another snow storm, I figured many of you were in need of a sweet comforting breakfast option today. Even in east TN  the temperature dropped 40 degrees in less than 24 hours and there were even snowflake sightings. I think Florida is yet again the only state to be spared the wrath of the polar vortex.

Whole Wheat King Cake Cinnamon Rolls 2

One year ago: Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls

Three years ago: Chicken Parmeatballs


Makes 12 rolls



3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

3-1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

1 egg, lightly beaten


1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted


2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 cups of powdered sugar

Purple, green and yellow (or gold) sprinkles

1 plastic baby, for serving


  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Add butter and stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2-1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add water, egg and the milk mixture; beat well with an electric mixer. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, using a wooden spoon to stir well after each addition.
  3. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  4. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 12×9 inch rectangle. Using a pastry brush, slather the dough with most of the butter. Sprinkle dough with cinnamon sugar mixture and press in lightly. Roll up dough and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place in a 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle with remaining butter. Cover and let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
  8. While the rolls cool, in a medium bowl whip together the softened butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Beat until creamy and spreadable. Add a tablespoon of milk if too thick.
  9. Through the bottom, insert plastic baby in the center of one of the rolls. Spread frosting over rolls and top with sprinkles. Serve warm.

Source: Adapted slightly from The Baker Chick.


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Kayle (The Cooking Actress) March 5, 2014 - 9:33 pm

mmmm gooey comfort….

…and plastic Jesus :P

Lora @cakeduchess March 5, 2014 - 9:14 am

These are so much fun, Erin! My kids would love them. Super delicious recipe!!

spiffycookie March 5, 2014 - 9:17 am

Thanks Lora! Definitely fun for all ages.

Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures March 4, 2014 - 3:09 pm

What a fun and festive breakfast idea!

Joanne March 4, 2014 - 8:58 am

As if King Cakes could get any more exciting, you turned them into CINNAMON ROLLS. Amazing.


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