Apple Filled King Cake

Donna Graffagnino


This Apple Filled King Cake is very popular and so easy to make at home. Of course, it can be made without the filling for a delicious cinnamon roll flavored cake. The tradition of having King Cake Parties has evolved over time, and the one who "gets the baby" hosts the next King Cake party. Today's King Cakes are have evolved into a festive rich danish dough, some with fillings, and a plastic baby hidden inside. The top of the ring or oval cake is then covered with a sugar glaze and granulated sugar toppings in the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold.


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1 Hr
30 Min


  • 1
    loaf frozen bread dough (or your own homemade bread dough)
  • 1 stick
    butter, melted or very soft
  • 1/2 c
  • 1/4 c
  • 1 can(s)
    apple pie filling
  • 1 c
    powdered sugar
  • ·
    few drops milk or water
  • ·
    colored sugars; purple, green, yellow
  • ·
    plastic baby

How to Make Apple Filled King Cake


  1. Place frozen bread doughs into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap until thawed out.
  2. Roll out on a floured surface into a large rectangle, at least 10 x 18 or as large as you can without tearing the dough. Gently brush with melted or very soft butter leaving a 1-inch border around edges.
  3. Combine cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle evenly over dough, avoiding edges so that ends will seal.
  4. Spread most of the apple pie filling along the center of the dough, longways, stopping at least an inch from then ends.
  5. *(See Note) Take one end of the dough and fold it all the way over to the other side of the dough. Seal edges with wet fingers. Gently roll the dough from the center where the filling is, rolling towards the sealed edge, making a long tube and keeping the filling from coming out of the ends.
  6. Place on a parchment-lined pan, seam down with ends of roll meeting to form a circle or oval. Pinch the ends together. Use water if necessary to make the ends stick together.
  7. Spray the top of bread lightly with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap for about 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size. I put a butter or Cool Whip tub to keep the hole open while it rises, otherwise, it will completely close up while it's baking. (You can skip the rising step if you're in a hurry, but the King Cake won't get as light and fluffy.)
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Hide the baby from underneath after baking.
  9. Combine powdered sugar with just enough milk or water to make a thick icing that's just thin enough to spread.
  10. Quickly pour or spread icing over hot King Cake then sprinkle sections with purple, green, and yellow sugar before the icing dries.

    You can buy pre-colored decorating sugar or make your own by shaking granulated sugar with a few of drops of liquid food color in a mason jar.
  11. *NOTES: For unfilled King Cakes, some bakeries braid their bread dough or make two long ropes and twist the two together then form a circle or oval before baking. You can cut the bread dough into two or three long strips, then spread with cinnamon sugar before rolling, twisting, or braiding if desired.
  12. FILLED KING CAKES: Instead of, or in addition to, the cinnamon sugar, spread one of these fillings over the plain bread dough and roll-up. Bake as shown above.

    Cream Cheese Filled:
    2 (8 oz) blocks cream cheese, softened
    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 tsp vanilla
    Combine with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Spread down the long edge of plain bread dough and roll-up. Bake as directed above. Decorate as directed above.

    Chocolate Filled:
    1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
    8 oz. unsalted butter (softened)
    1 cup cocoa powder
    4 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
    7 Tbsp heavy cream
    Cream all ingredients together and spread along the long edge and roll up from the filled edge. Bake as directed above. Decorate as directed above.

    Fruit Filled:
    1 (16 oz) can of Apple, Cherry, Peach, Lemon, Strawberry, Raspberry, or Blueberry Pie Filling
    1 tsp vanilla (Apple, Cherry, Peach)
    1 tsp cinnamon (Apple, Cherry, Peach)
    1/2 cup sugar (Cherry)
    1 Tablespoons cornstarch (Cherry)
    Spread filling down the long edge of bread dough and roll up from fruit filling side. Bake as directed above. Decorate as directed above.

Printable Recipe Card

About Apple Filled King Cake

Course/Dish: Sweet Breads
Main Ingredient: Bread
Regional Style: American
Collection: Mardi Gras!

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