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King Cake is an easy and tasty traditional Mardi Gras treat that the whole family will love!

King Cake braided into a ring, glazed and sprinkled with purple, green and gold sugar

We love making bread in our household. Can you believe up until New Years I didn’t own a stand mixer? Yes, it’s true! I make a lot of bread and a lot of that bread had been made by hand. But boy, I have to tell you that now that I have a stand mixer it really makes things so much easier!

Have you ever had King Cake before? This is a delicious sweet bread and filled with a cinnamon sugar and butter mixture that is then braided and formed into a ring and baked. It is then glazed and sprinkled with yellow/gold, green and purple sprinkles. A beautiful vibrant cake that is PERFECT for any party! With mixtures of lemon and vanilla in the dough alone, the aroma from that will make you go crazy. But that actual flavor of that bread mixed with the filling and glaze is something else.

Detail of King Cake with purple, green and gold sugar

Can I add a baby to my King Cake?

Yes, you certainly can! It’s a Mardi Gras tradition! Use a small plastic baby and add it into your King Cake during the braiding portion. The dough will rise around the baby and secure it into the cake. You can buy King Cake specific babies on Amazon.

Why is the baby in King Cake?

The baby in King Cake is a long standing Mardi Gras tradition. It symbolizes luck and prosperity to whoever finds it in their slice. The lucky person is crowned king or queen for the day and is supposedly responsible for providing next year’s cake.

What day do you eat King Cake?

Any day between January 6 and Ash Wednesday!

Mardi Gras refers to a series of festival celebrations that occur between the Christian 3 Kings Day (feasts of the Epiphany) which occurs every year on January 6 and Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday occurs on the first day of lent, 46 days before Easter which changes dates every year. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon that occurs on or after the vernal equinox.

This is a soft and delicious dough recipe that takes minimal ingredients and time to put together. If you’re wanting something festive this Mardi Gras season, or really any time of the year then you need to whip up this Traditional King Cake and sit back and enjoy because this is one recipe that you’ll want to make over and over again!

King Cake braided into a ring, glazed and sprinkled with purple, green and gold sugar
King Cake is an easy and tasty traditional Mardi Gras treat that the whole family will love!
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup salted butter melted
  • 5 egg yolks beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


  • 4 tablespoons salted butter softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • Gold/Yellow green and purple sprinkles
  • Warm your milk in saucepan or microwave until it reaches 105-110 then pour into stand mixer. Whisk in your sugar and yeast and let sit 10 minutes to proof. Whisk in your butter, egg yolks, vanilla and lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add your dough hook and add in your flour and mix until dough pulls away from sides of mixer.
  • Cover and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
  • Once dough has risen punch down and dump out onto a lightly floured surface and roll with rolling pin into a 10"x20" rectangle.
  • For your filling, mix together your sugar and cinnamon. Spread your butter over the dough and sprinkle with your cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Cut dough into 3 long separate strips and roll each strip up the long way and seal the edges.Braid your strips together and bring ends together to create a circle.Place on large baking sheet and cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Once dough has risen bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is slightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Make your icing mix together your icing ingredients and once your cake has cooled pour the icing over the top and immediately alternate your sprinkles over the top. Cut and serve.


Calories: 5501kcal | Carbohydrates: 718g | Protein: 68g | Fat: 267g | Saturated Fat: 160g | Cholesterol: 1613mg | Sodium: 2207mg | Potassium: 1011mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 418g | Vitamin A: 8840IU | Vitamin C: 3.9mg | Calcium: 617mg | Iron: 20.1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: King Cake

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