Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 2, 2007 02:09 PM

King Cake Recipe

King Cake Recipe
I may be in the wrong board, however, does anyone have a good reliable recipe for King Cake? I am a new baker so I need detaiils, measurements, type of flour, oven temperature, etc.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Do you have experience with preparing and baking yeast breads? I checked recipes online for King Cake, and although they don't seem that complicated, they're not something I'd want to have a go at without being comfortable dealing with yeast breads.

    Try some basic breads first, and if you're comfortable with those, try the King Cake. It looks to be a brioche style bread, that isn't the easiest to deal with.


    3 Replies
    1. re: violabratsche

      I'll second that. I have a pretty good King Cake recipe that I worked up myself by combining a few recipes and changing up a few things but it's not something I'd recommend to a novice yeast baker.

      You could consider faking it by baking a favorite coffee cake recipe and decorating it like a King Cake with colored icing and sugars. I don't think you can overdo the sugar. My favorite instruction from a King Cake recipe is the one that reads, "Take 10 mg. valium to counter the sugar." That sounds about right.

      1. re: rockycat

        rockycat, would you please share the King Cake recipes you have so I give it a shot I will share with you my results. Thanks. I bake various breads several times a yesr but do not have a King Cake recipe.

        1. re: State St.

          I can't believe I found it on my work computer. Here it is:

          Mardi Gras King Cake Makes 1 large loaf

          ½ c. warm water (110° to 115°)
          2 pkgs. yeast
          ½ c. plus 1 tsp. sugar
          3 ½ - 5 c. flour
          1 tsp. nutmeg (I really prefer freshly grated)
          2 tsp. salt
          1 tsp. grated lemon zest
          ½ c. warm milk
          5 egg yolks
          1 tsp. vanilla
          8 Tbs. butter, cut into slices, plus 1 Tbs. softened butter

          1 ½ c. brown sugar
          1 c. sugar
          2 Tbs. cinnamon
          8 Tbs. butter, melted

          1 c. confectioners’ sugar
          2 Tbs. milk
          ¼ c. green tinted sugar
          ¼ c yellow tinted sugar
          ¼ c. purple tinted sugar (I use the large colored crystals from the King Arthur catalog)

          Pour warm water into shallow bowl and sprinkle yeast and 2 tsp. sugar into it. Let rest 3 minutes and mix thoroughly. Set bowl in warm place for 5 minutes until yeast bubbles and mixture almost doubles in volume.

          Combine 3 ½ c. flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg, and salt, and sift into large mixer bowl. Stir in lemon zest. Beat in yeast mixture, milk, and vanilla. Add egg yolks and yeast mixture to dry ingredients and mix on low speed. When smooth, beat in 8 Tbs. butter, 1 Tbs. at a time, and continue to beat 2 minutes or until dough can be formed into soft ball.
          Knead dough until no longer sticky, adding up to 1 ½ c. more flour if necessary. Knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic. Coat inside of large bowl with 1 Tbs. softened butter. Place dough in bowl and rotate until entire surface is buttered. Cover with kitchen towel and place in draft-free spot for about 1 ½ hr. or until dough doubles in volume. While dough is rising, mix together sugars and cinnamon.

          Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (I generally use a large pizza tray to bake this). Punch dough down and roll out into an 18 x 36-inch rectangle. Brush surface with melted butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar mixture. Cut lengthwise into 3 strips, rolling each like a jelly roll, then braid, form into a ring, and place on baking sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled (about 45 minutes).

          Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350°.

          When cake is cooled, combine confectioners’ sugar and milk to make a glaze. Cover cake with glaze, then sprinkle with tinted sugars.

          When baking for people who know what a King Cake is I do hide a little plastic baby in it and then warn them first. Otherwise I just skip it. Nothing like having a friend choke on a hunk of plastic you deliberately put in your cake.

    2. I always use Southern Living's King Cake recipe- at least for the last 4 years. It's soft and fluffy and doubles easily. The recipe calls for a cinnamon sugar filling- I prefer cream cheese, so I just make a soft cream cheese filling of my own to fill it with, and it's always great.

      1. Thank you both for the recipes. Here is the story of the King Cake.

        The story of the king cake begins, like the story of Mardi Gras itself, with the pagans. They had a celebration where a young man from the village was chosen to be treated like a king for a whole year. He was not denied during his reign, but after the year was over he became a human sacrifice to the gods. To eliminate this pagan custom, the Christian Church encouraged an observance calling for the preparation of a king cake containing a bean; whoever received the slice with the bean became king for a week and was allowed to choose a queen to reign with him. This took the place of the sacrificial pagan rite.
        The King Cake tradition is believed to have been brought to New Orleans, Louisiana, from France in the 1870's. It evolved from the Twelfth Night or Epiphany pastry made by those early settlers. They added their own touches with the Spanish custom of choosing Twelfth Night royalty.
        In European countries, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. The celebration, called Epiphany, Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night, is a time of exchanging gifts and feasting. All over the world people gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations. One of the most popular customs is still the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings..."A King's Cake" or Gateau de Roi.
        A King Cake's ring shape, too, is significant, as some believe it symbolizes the unity of all Christians, and others believe it aptly resembles a king's crown.
        A dried bean was originally hidden inside the cake but was replaced by coins, peas, pecans, rubber dolls, porcelain dolls, and in recent years plastic dolls. Starting around the 1930s, a tiny naked baby (Frozen Charlotte) was used instead of the bean or pea. The baby can be pink, brown, or golden. Some people believe that the baby represents the baby Jesus because Twelfth Night was when the three kings found the baby in Bethlehem.
        Tradition has it that the person who finds the baby in the king cake is the next queen or king, he or she receives a year of good luck, is treated as royalty for that day and must host the next king cake party.
        King Cake season lasts throughout Mardi Gras from the feast of the Epiphany until Mardi Gras Day.
        The royal colors of purple, green and gold on the cake honors the three kings who visited the Christ child on the Epiphany. Purple represents Justice. Green stands for Faith. Gold signifies Power.
        The three colors appeared in 1872 on a Krewe of Rex carnival flag especially designed for the visiting Grand Duke of Russia. He came to New Orleans just for the carnival, and the universal colors remain his legacy.

        2 Replies
        1. re: State St.

          Here Is a link to the history of the King Cake as well as several King Cake recipes:

          1. re: speyerer

            Here Is a link to the history of the King Cake as well as several King Cake recipes:


        2. I have a feeling my friend from Louisiana is longing for his home-state, but he has requested a King Cake for his birthday which is in a few days (yes, July!, not during the Mardi Gras season!).

          This recipe has all 5-stars and was Kitchen-Tested by the Southern Living food editors
 HappyBelly - I believe this is the same as your link - did you have luck with this recipe and did you make it as a filled cake or plain?

          I'd appreciate any tricks that weren't already mentioned on this thread. Speyerer, your article was helpful! Thank you!

          1. Is anyone else baking a King Cake this weekend?
            I'm probably making this one: , but would love to hear about the recipes any other hounds are making!

            The recipe I have includes raisins, but most online recipes don't seem to mention raisins. Louisiana CHs, what do you think? Should I leave them out?

            1 Reply
            1. re: prima

              I'm making this Emeril recipe tonight. So far, so good. If it tastes as good as it smells, it's a winner.


              I'm waiting for it to cool so I can ice it and sprinkle it.