• Barth Bakery

King Cake Pecan Cheesecake Bars

Updated: Apr 17

Inspired by the New Orleans iconic Mardi Gras King Cake, these bars meet all of the flavor requirements and are just as delicious as the classic King Cake, but are much easier to make. With six layers consisting of a buttery shortbread crust topped with a rich, creamy cheesecake, followed by cinnamon spice candied pecans, then another layer of shortbread, coated with a vanilla glaze, and decorated with crunchy, colorful sanding sugar, these bars are perfect for any Mardi Gras celebration.






Ingredients

Shortbread Crust

  • 1½ cup unsalted butter, softened

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ tsp kosher salt

  • 3 Tbsp whole milk

Cinnamon Spice Candied Pecans

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 ½ cup chopped pecans

  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Cheesecake Filling

  • 16 oz full-fat cream cheese, softened

  • ¼ cup full-fat sour cream

  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Glaze

  • 1½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

  • 3 Tbsp whole milk

  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract


Directions

Shortbread Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter with the sugar at medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Turn the mixer down to low speed and mix in the flour, salt, and milk until a soft dough forms.

  3. Press about ⅔ of the dough into the prepared pan creating an even layer. Bake the crust until lightly browned, about 12-14 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Cinnamon Spice Candied Pecans

  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir until the brown sugar is melted and the pecans are well coated. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Spread the pecans out on wax paper to cool for about 5 minutes.

Cheesecake Filling

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla together until completely smooth.

  2. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the partially baked crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

  3. Spread the pecan mixture in an even layer on top of the cooled cheesecake layer. Use a rolling pin to carefully roll out the remaining ⅓ of the dough into a 9x13-inch rectangle and place it on top of the pecan layer. Bake until the top layer is golden brown, and the filling is set, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature before glazing.

Vanilla Glaze

  1. Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla until completely smooth. Spread the glaze in an even layer on top of the cooled bars.

  2. Immediately decorate with sanding sugar. (Be quick because the glaze will harden!) Allow to cool completely, then cut into bars and serve.


Here's another fun treat to celebrate Mardi Gras:

Mardi Gras Cinnamon Pecan Vanilla Cake Pops

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