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Authentic Mardi Gras King Cake

  • Author: Debbie
  • Prep Time: 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 120 minutes


Traditional New Orleans Style King Cake. Twisted but can be braided.



For dough

  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • plastic baby charm

For cinnamon filling

  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

For icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • Colored Sprinkling Sugar (green, gold and purple)


  1. Place warm water in large warm bowl.
  2. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved.
  3. Add warm milk, softened butter, sugar, nutmeg and salt; then add 1 cup flour; blend well.
  4. Stir in eggs and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  5. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease surface of dough.
  6. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, (about 1 hour).
  7. Punch down dough.
  8. Remove to lightly floured surface; roll to 30- by 9-inch rectangle.
  9. Brush with melted butter; then sprinkle to within half-inch of edges with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  10. Beginning at long end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll; pinch seam to seal.
  11. With sharp knife, cut roll in half lengthwise; carefully turn halves so that the cut sides face up. Twist halves together, keeping cut sides up so filling is visible.
  12. As you are twisting, place charm somewhere in the center of the dough.
  13. Transfer dough to greased baking sheet.
  14. Shape into ring; pinch ends together to seal.
  15. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (about 20 to 40 minutes)
  16. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until done.
  17. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on wire rack.
  18. Mix all icing ingredients together until smooth;
  19. Divide into three small bowls and tint purple, green and gold.
  20. Drizzle over the top of the cake, add colored sprinkling sugar (coarse grain sugar) as desired.


Adapted from a 1980’s recipe featured in the Times-Picayune Newspaper of New Orleans.

  • Category: Party Food
  • Cuisine: Southern