Zatarain's King Cake Cupcakes

Created by Chef John Besh, these uniquely flavored cupcakes are a fun twist on a classic Mardi Gras King Cake. They're made with a buttery yellow cake, filled with root beer flavored cream cheese filling and topped with root beer frosting and colored sprinkles.

  • Yellow Butter Cake:
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Creole Cream Cheese Filling with Root Beer:
  • 1 pound softened Creole or regular cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Zatarain's Root Beer Extract
  • Dried fava beans (set aside)
  • Root Beer Frosting:
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup All-Purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon Zatarain's Root Beer extract

Prepare the cake:
In a mixer at medium speed, cream butter, sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time while the mixer is running, making sure each egg is totally mixed in before adding another. Beat mixture until light and fluffy, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl carefully.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder using a wire whisk to sift and combine them. In another separate bowl, mix the milk and vanilla.

Alternate adding wet and dry ingredients to butter mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Do not over mix, as batter should be thick and fluffy. Spoon into lined cupcake pans, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake at 350°F for 12-14 minutes or until done.

Prepare the filling:
Combine shortening and cream cheese in mixer at medium speed and whip with paddle until smooth.

Add powdered sugar and whip until fluffy, mix in Zatarain's Root Beer extract until well combined.

Prepare the frosting:
Combine all ingredients in bowl of mixer. Beat together at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Assemble the cupcakes:
After baking the cupcakes and allowing them to cool completely (about an hour), use a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon to scoop out the center of the cupcake from the top to about half-way down.

With a piping bag, or plastic bag with the corner snipped off, fill the hole with the filling. Insert a dried fava bean into the filling of each cupcake. Note fava bean is for decoration only and should not be eaten.

Using a star tip and separate piping bag, pipe the frosting starting on the outside, working your way to the center in one continuous motion. Top with green, purple and yellow or gold sprinkles or decorative sugar like on a traditional King Cake.

Makes 10 to 12 cupcakes

Zatarain's Authentic New Orleans Flavors:
For classic Mardi Gras recipes like Jambalaya, Gumbo and Dirty Rice visit