Toasted King Cake Bread Pudding w/ Pecan Crumble

Pin the photo above to save the recipe for later! You can find the full written recipe and instructions at the very bottom of this post, and a step by step photo instructional below.

Our windows are open and the breeze is coming in full strength and the sun is shining and we are truly ready as all get out (do people still use that phrase) to have an amazing Mardi Gras weekend / Fat Tuesday. Since legit Mardi Gras celebration begins two weeks or so before Mardi Gras day, we've had to develop a remarkably scientific system for conquering it all.

Our tried and true method for surviving the holiday - and not being that one boo laying on top of a car on Royal St. begging for her bffl Rachel to procure french fries from thin air - is to pick three days during the whole two week stretch to really go for it. Like, full costume, rhinestone flask of brandy taped to your hip, tiara tightly placed in your hair going for it. The rest of the days, feel free to put on some glitter and your favorite heels, but maybe try and be home before midnight and only have two drinks max. Are we experts or what? Legitimate question because sometimes we still end up being that girl begging for french fries.

In between brushing glitter onto our faces and attempting to fit into tights that are far too tight for our winter bods, we made a king cake bread pudding! It's a toasted king cake bread pudding, actually, with a brown sugar pecan crumble - a little nod towards another New Orleans favorite, pralines.

The toasting process gives this sweet thing a little burnt sugar flavor and keep the edges real crispy when it's being baked into the custard. And one other secret to this recipe: a little creme de cacao for a little added kick of alcohol and sweetness. It's pretty much the ideal way to use all of the day-old king cake laying around, and maybe our new favorite Mardi Gras season breakfast. Pro-tip for enjoying for breakfast: warm it in the oven for ten minutes and top with bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup. Enjoy with a cup of coffee with just a touch of cream. Also, be near a bed because you're going to have a horrific sugar crash and need a nap like immediately after. 

First, we're cutting our cake into traditional "pizza shaped" slices and removing the icing tops from the top layer of half of the pieces to set aside and garnish our bread pudding with later. Cut the rest of our little king cake cuties into big chunks.

Line a large baking pan (with a lip to prevent melted icing spilling over into your oven) with parchment paper and place the chunks into the pan. Toast in the oven for ten minutes, until golden brown but not burnt. Keep a close eye on these guys as they burn quick!

Next, we're whisking our wet ingredients up in a big bowl and soaking our toasted king cake chunks in it. Mix it up and fold it around to evenly coat the pieces, and soak for about 30 minutes.

Now we're going to put the oven at 350. Place a casserole dish or 9x13" baking pan on top of a baking sheet and pour your bread pudding into the dish. Depending on the size of the dish, you may want to leave a little bit of the liquid out to prevent spilling. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the custard part of the pudding is set but still quite jiggly. Remove  from the oven and enjoy warm!

Toasted King Cake Bread Pudding with Pecan Crumble

takes: about 1 hour // serves: 10 - 12

  • 1 medium traditional king cake
  • 3 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Creme de Cacao
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

for the pecan topping

  • 3/4 cup pecan, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with a lip with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the king cake like a cake and take the top icing layer off of half the king cake and set aside - these top layers will be placed across the bread pudding to add some color. The rest of the king cake gets cut into large chunks and placed onto the prepared baking sheet. Toast in the oven for about ten minutes, until the tops are crispy but not super hard, and the melted sugar is slightly golden but not black. Error on the side of under-doing this step, because if you overdo it you're gonna have a load of hard bread and burnt sugar and that's not fun. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. While the king cake is toasting, combine the milk, sugar, eggs, butter, creme de cacao, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl (big enough to fit all of these ingredients + the chunks of king cake). Whisk together the liquid ingredients and place the chunks of king cake into the bowl to soak. Gently press the chunks down into the liquid and stir a bit to evenly coat all the pieces. Let sit for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure everything is being soaked evenly.
  4. Set the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. While the cake is soaking, prepare the topping by combing all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Once the butter is melted, lower the heat to low and cook for another ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat after ten minutes and set aside.
  6. Once the cake has soaked long enough, transfer the cake and liquid to a 9x13 baking pan or other appropriately sized casserole dish. Place the dish onto a baking sheet to prevent spilling before placing in the oven. Sprinkle the crumble on top along with the slices of king cake topping that you reserved, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the custard is set.