my favorite king cake recipe

★★★★★ 2
a recipe by
Joanna Gotwald
Ravenna, OH

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. Its filling is 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!

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
★★★★★ 2
serves 6-8
prep time 5 Hr 30 Min
cook time 30 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For my favorite king cake recipe

  • 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

  • Scalding the milk.
    Scald milk.
  • Stirring butter into the scalded milk.
    Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temp.
  • Blooming the yeast.
    In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Cooled milk and butter added to the yeast.
    When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture.
  • Whisking in the eggs.
    Whisk in the eggs.
  • White sugar, salt, and nutmeg mixed into the mixture.
    Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt, and nutmeg.
  • Slowly adding the flour.
    Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time.
  • Dough formed in a bowl.
    When the dough has pulled together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Kneading the dough.
    Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Dough in an oiled bowl.
    Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.
  • Bowl with dough covered in plastic wrap.
    Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap (I prefer plastic wrap).
  • Dough doubled in size.
    Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  • Punching down the dough.
    When risen, punch down and divide the dough in half.
  • Separating dough into two balls.
    Separate dough into two balls.
  • Baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.
  • Brown sugar, cinnamon, chopped pecans, flour, and raisins in a bowl.
    TO MAKE THE FILLING: Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 cup raisins.
  • Melted butter added to the bowl.
    Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture.
  • Combined until mixture crumbly.
    Mix until crumbly.
  • Rolling out the dough.
    Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approx. 10x16 inches or so).
  • Filling sprinkled over dough and rolling the dough into a log.
    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.
  • Dough formed into an oval.
    Bring the ends of each roll together to form two oval-shaped rings.
  • Cutting slits into the rings.
    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.
  • Dough rings rising.
    Let the rings rest and allow them to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  • King Cake after it's done baking.
    Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Placing the baby in the king cake.
    Push the doll into the bottom of the cake.
  • Spooning glaze over the cake.
    Allow to cool a bit and frost the cake while still warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with 1 or 2 tablespoons of water.
  • Sprinkling colored sugar onto the cake.
    Sprinkle the colored sugars on the cake in sections of green, gold, and purple around the rings.