Mardi Gras King Cake

OH MY GOODNESS! How could I do all these Mardi Gras posts with a Mardi Gras King Cake recipe?!

Mardi Gras King Cake

King Cake– the preferred dessert/snack of Mardi Gras.  It wouldn’t be Carnival without one.  From the Twelfth Night (January 6) to Fat Tuesday (date varies) King Cakes are baked and gobbled up all over New Orleans. Although the name implies cake, it is essentially a sweetened, enriched bread dough similar to a brioche.  Think coffee cake (yes, you can eat it for breakfast, too, MMMM). They are glazed with a simple confectioners’ sugar mixture, then colored sugar or crystals in Mardi Gras colors crown the top; purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. Nowadays there are other versions filled with cream cheese, praline, and even one with a coconut filling and chocolate icing–yum!


makes one 12-inch oval cake
For the Dough
  • 1/2 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 extra large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose gluten free flour
For the Filling
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose gluten free flour
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted vegan butter, melted (Earth Balance)
For the Icing and Decoration
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Colored sugar crystals (Mardi Gras colors of course!)
  1. For the Dough: In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk until bubbles appear around the edges.  Add the butter and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the sugar.  Let stand until bubbled and frothy, about 10 minutes.  Add the cooled milk mixture, the eggs, remaining sugar, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg.  With the mixer on low, knead in the flour one cup at a time.  Increase the speed to medium-high and knead until smooth, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball.  Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft free place until doubled in volume, about 60-90 minutes.
  4. For the Filling: In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour.  Pour in the melted butter and mix until a paste forms; set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  5. When the dough has risen, transfer it to a lightly floured surface.  Roll the dough into a 10×24-inch rectangle.  Spread the filling (it won’t be smooth and even) over the dough.  Starting with the widest end, roll up the dough into a jelly roll, pinching the seems well.  Bring the ends together to form an oval, pinching the end seams, as well.  Place the oval onto the prepared baking sheet.  Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm draft free place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F.  Bake the cake for 30 minutes, tenting with a sheet of foil the last 10 minutes if it appears to be browning too quickly.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. For the Icing and Decoration: In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla until smooth.  Place the cake (still on the rack) over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the icing over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.  Sprinkle with the sugar crystals, alternating colors as you go.  Allow the icing to set before slicing.


Kwegyirba Croffie is a freelance Associate Producer at News 12 Connecticut and a Special Events/Event Planning and Social Media Intern at College Lifestyles (TM). She is a Quinnipiac University alumni and a sister of Alpha Delta Pi. She enjoy cupcakes,Broadway musicals, Forever 21 ,giraffes, peacock feathers, orchids, lillies and anything Disney.

One thought on “Mardi Gras King Cake

  1. Pingback: Mardi Gras – Kings Cake Recipes

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