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Mardi Gras King’s Cake

Entree Dessert
Rated 5/5:
Mardi Gras King’s Cake
  1. Prep Time:
  2. Cook Time:
  3. Total Time:
  4. Yield: Serves 8-12
Recipe by

Mardi Gras King Cake

Praline. Salt-caramel. Strawberry cheesecake. Lemon. There are about as many different kinds of king cakes in New Orleans as there are types of bread pudding (that means a lot). This is a classic recipe the traditionists among you will love. Recycle a baby from your last store-bought king cake and you’re good to go! This recipe is sure to impress.

Ingredients for Dough:

  • 1/2 cup water, (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup water, lukewarm
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of milk, for glaze
  • 1 small doll, coin, or bean

Ingredients for Icing:

  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, strained
  • 3 teaspoons water or more
  • Green, purple, and yellow sugars


  1. Dissolve yeast in water; let stand for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Combine flour, granulated sugar, nutmeg, salt and lemon zest in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in center. Add yeast mixture, milk, 3 eggs, and 4 egg yolks; combine thoroughly.
  4. Beat in butter until dough holds together and forms a ball. Place on floured board; incorporate more flour if necessary.
  5. Knead until smooth and elastic. Stir dough in well buttered bowl and turn so all surfaces are buttered.
  6. Cover with a towel and let rise 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
  7. Brush baking sheet in butter. Punch down on lightly floured board. Knead, then pat into a 14" cylinder.
  8. Place on baking sheet and form into a large ring. Press doll or coin into dough so that it is well hidden.
  9. Set aside, covered with a towel, to rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  10. Before baking, brush top with the egg and milk mixture.
  11. Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  12. Cool on wire rack. Beat icing ingredients until smooth. Spread over top of cake, letting drip down sides.
  13. Immediately sprinkle the colored sugars over icing in 2" wide strips of purple, green and yellow stripes. *Colored sugar is sold in baking supply houses. If you can't find it, tint granulated sugar or icing with paste food coloring. Be sure to tell people about the hidden doll or bean if they aren't familiar with the tradition.
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