My Favorite King Cake Recipe

Joanna Gotwald


I started making King Cake about 10 years ago and every year my husband's office requests one. It is a very easy recipe and will gather many compliments. The use of nutmeg in the dough gives it the traditional flavor and the filling of raisins, brown sugar and pecans melts into the dough. You press a plastic baby into the bottom of the cake after it is baked. The person who gets the baby will have good luck and has the honor of hosting the next year's Mardi Gras and providing the King Cake. You can find the plastic baby at most cake supply stores.

Blue Ribbon Recipe

King Cake is a must-make during Mardi Gras. This cake has a tender bread texture with a hint of nutmeg. It's filling full of flavor with cinnamon, pecans, and a raisin swirl. The dough recipe takes a few steps but is simple to make. Sprinkled with colored sugar - gold (representing power), green (faith), and purple (justice) - this cake is fun and festive. Laissez les bons temps rouler friends! Test Kitchen Avatar The Test Kitchen


★★★★★ 2 votes

5 Hr 30 Min
30 Min



  • 1 c
  • 1/4 c
  • 1/2 oz
    active dry yeast (2 - .25 oz pkgs)
  • 2/3 c
    water, warm (110 degrees)
  • 1/2 c
    white sugar
  • 2 c
  • 1 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 5 1/2 c
    all-purpose flour

  • 1 c
    brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 Tbsp
    cinnamon, ground
  • 2/3 c
    pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 c
    all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c
    raisins, light or dark or a mix of both
  • 1/2 c
    butter, melted

  • 1 c
    confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 Tbsp

  • 1 pkg
    green colored decorating sugar
  • 1 pkg
    gold/yellow colored decorating sugar
  • 1 pkg
    purple colored decorating sugar
  • 1
    small plastic baby (available at cake supply stores)

How to Make My Favorite King Cake Recipe


  1. Scald milk.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temp.
  3. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  4. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture.
  5. Whisk in the eggs.
  6. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt, and nutmeg.
  7. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time.
  8. When the dough has pulled together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface.
  9. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  10. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.
  11. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap (I prefer plastic wrap).
  12. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  13. When risen, punch down and divide the dough in half.
  14. Separate dough into two balls.
  15. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.
  16. TO MAKE THE FILLING: Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 cup raisins.
  17. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture.
  18. Mix until crumbly.
  19. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approx. 10x16 inches or so).
  20. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the two halves of dough leaving about 1/2 inch border all around. Roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll starting at the wide side.
  21. Bring the ends of each roll together to form two oval-shaped rings.
  22. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With a clean pair of scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings and 1-inch intervals.
  23. Let the rings rest and allow them to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  24. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  25. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake.
  26. Allow to cool a bit and frost the cake while still warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with 1 or 2 tablespoons of water.
  27. Sprinkle the colored sugars on the cake in sections of green, gold, and purple around the rings.

Printable Recipe Card

About My Favorite King Cake Recipe

Main Ingredient: Flour
Regional Style: French
Collection: Mardi Gras!
Other Tag: Quick & Easy

Show 18 Comments & Reviews

What To Make With a Brick of Cream Cheese

What To Make With a Brick of Cream Cheese

Cream cheese can be used for so much more than just adding a schmear to a toasted bagel. You can’t make a New York-style cheesecake without it. Cream cheese makes macaroni and cheese even creamier. When sweetened, it’s the best frosting. But those aren’t the only ways to cook or bake with cream cheese. Breakfast, […]

20 Southern Staple Cornbread Recipes

20 Southern Staple Cornbread Recipes

There’s just something we love about homemade cornbread in the fall. Paired with a bowl of chili, topped with pinto beans or just cooked to golden brown perfection in a cast iron skillet, cornbread is one of our favorite delicious comfort foods. From mom’s classic recipe to something a little spicier, we have a cornbread […]

29 Cozy & Comforting Fall Dinners

29 Cozy & Comforting Fall Dinners

When the weather starts to get cooler, cozy, and comforting fall dinners rule the menu. From stews to casseroles, roasted chicken to pan-seared pork, meals get a little heartier but they still need to be family-friendly. So good, any of these 29 dinner recipes could be on permanent rotation this fall; we guarantee your family […]