King cake is a type of pastry that is traditionally associated with the celebration of Carnival, particularly in areas with a strong French influence, such as New Orleans, Louisiana. The cake is typically a sweet, cinnamon-flavored dough, often braided or twisted into an oval shape. It is decorated with colorful icing or sugar in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold, which symbolize justice, faith, and power, respectively.

One distinctive feature of a king cake is the inclusion of a small, hidden plastic or porcelain baby figurine inside the cake. The person who finds the baby in their slice is said to have good luck and is often designated as the “king” or “queen” of the celebration. This tradition is tied to the Christian celebration of Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night or Three Kings’ Day, which marks the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus.

King Cake

Recipe by Nitdb


Prep time


Cooking time



King cakes are commonly enjoyed during the Carnival season, which begins on January 6th (Twelfth Night) and culminates on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of the Lenten season. They are a festive and delicious part of Mardi Gras celebrations in many communities.


  • For the Dough:
  • 1 cup warm milk (about 110°F or 43°C)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 large eggs

  • For the Filling:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

  • For the Icing:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Purple, green, and gold colored sugars (for decoration)


  • In a small bowl, combine warm milk and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture, and let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until it becomes foamy.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture, melted butter, and eggs. Mix until the dough comes together.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours or until it doubles in size.
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • For the filling, mix together the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until well combined.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle, about 22×14 inches.
  • Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving about an inch border around the edges. Roll the dough tightly from the long side to form a log.
  • Place the log on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, seam side down, and shape it into an oval.
  • Pinch the ends together to seal the ring. Let it rise for another 30 minutes.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • While the cake is cooling, prepare the icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Once the cake has cooled, drizzle the icing over the top and sprinkle with purple, green, and gold colored sugars in alternating sections.
  • Optional: Hide a small plastic baby or a dried bean in the cake after baking.

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