Monday, February 20, 2012

King's Cake for Mardi Gras

My friends had yet another opportunity for me to try new recipes. They threw a Mardi Gras party over the weekend and requested that I bring a King's Cake. I had never tried King's Cake and when I searched for them online I thought they looked absolutely disgusting. Cover in icing and sprinkles, I could hardly even see the cake, let along imagine what it was supposed to taste like. But my friends insisted that I make it. So I did. And you know what? It was actually really good and everyone loved it! It tasted like coffee cake. 

If you haven't made this recipe before or even ever had a King's Cake then you should try it. Traditionally the King's Cake has a trinket inside of it. Usually a baby or a bean. I couldn't find a baby to put in it and the only beans I had I thought would present a choking hazard. So I improvised and used a orecchiette pasta. Large enough to find and delicate enough to not chip a tooth. Whoever finds this trinket in their piece of cake is supposed to host the party next year. 

There are many recipes for King's Cake, but I used the one from It received good reviews and looked fairly simple to make, good for someone who has no idea how this recipe was supposed to turn out. Some recipes have fillings but this one doesn't. This recipe also calls for you to braid the bread dough, I've seen some that don't. I dyed my icing purple because I thought I was out of purple sprinkles, only to discover them hiding in the back. Oh well. I got to use my green and gold sprinkles. Overall I think this recipe came out great and will be making it again as a breakfast treat.

King's Cake
Adapted from

For the cake: 
1 cup lukewarm milk, about 110°F
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp yeast
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup melted butter
5 egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grated fresh lemon zest
3 tsp cinnamon
Several gratings of fresh nutmeg

For the icing: 
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup condensed milk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Purple, green, and gold decorative sugars
1 fève (fava bean) or plastic baby to hide in the cake after baking

1) Heat the milk in a saucepan then add to bowl and whisk in the sugar, yeast, and 1 tbsp of the flour, let sit until foamy
2) Whisk in butter, egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest then fold in the flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon
3) Knead in mixer or by hand until smooth and elastic

4) Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours

5) Divide dough into 3 pieces and braid together then connect the ends in the shape of a circle and place on sheet pan

6) Preheat oven to 375 F and let dough rise for 30 minutes
7) Cook for 25 minutes, check after 20 minutes to make sure top isn't getting to brown
8) Let cool and tuck in trinket into bread

 9) Make the icing by mixing ingredients together, adding more milk or sugar to adjust to taste and consistency then pour over cake and top with sprinkles/sugars and enjoy!


  1. The Mardi Gras cake does sound like a fun project, now that Fat Tuesday is right around the corner. You did a great job on twisting the loaf-I have issues with that task. It looks delicious, thanks for sharing this!

    1. Thanks! I had trouble braiding it also. It took me a few times to remember.

  2. I have seen a few mardi gras cakes by now. This is the most accurate i've seen so far. Awesomely done!

    1. Thanks so much! I was so happy that it came out the way it did. I really recommend this recipe, even for a delicious coffee cake in the morning.