Fat Tuesday is different this year, but you can make the best of it with good food–like this quick and easy King Cake recipe for Mardi Gras! This King cake is one of the easiest ways to make the Mardi Gras treat and is filled with the goodness of cinnamon, butter and frosting with a soft chewy bite.
WHAT IS KING CAKE?
King Cake is the first Mardi Gras dessert that I think of each year. It’s basically a circular coffee cake. The King Cake tradition states that it was originally created as a gift for the Three Kings, at the end of Epiphany.
Related: More King cake recipes we love
King cakes often hide a baby inside. The plastic baby symbolizes Baby Jesus, and it is said that whoever finds the King Cake baby in their slice will have good luck!
HOW TO MAKE A KING CAKE FOR MARDI GRAS
It isn’t Mardi Gras without King Cake! This festive, sweet treat is so much fun for the whole family to make and enjoy together!
Deliciously Festive King Cake Recipe
- Serves: 14-16
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
Ingredients Needed For A Festively Tasty King Cake
Ingredients for the Cake:
- 1 packet (.25 ounce) active dry yeast
- ¼ cup warm water, 110-115 degrees F
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 ½-4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup milk, warm 110-115 degrees F
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Ingredients for the Filling:
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Ingredients for the Glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk, depending on consistency
- ½ teaspoon clear vanilla
Ingredients for the Decoration:
- mini plastic baby
- Colored sugar – purple, yellow and green
How To Make A Delicious King Cake
Heat ¼ cup water to 100-110 degrees F.
Add yeast and sugar.
Stir gently just to coat yeast.
Let set to proof for 5-10 minutes or until bubbly.
Add ¼ cup sugar, butter, milk, eggs, salt and 2 cups flour.
Beat until smooth.
Gradually add more flour until dough forms soft ball, it will be sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic.
Form into ball and place in greased bowl, turn dough over to coat other side.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 45-60 minutes until dough is doubled in size.
Punch dough down and turn onto lightly floured surface.
Roll into rectangle 10×20 inches.
Making The King Cake Filling
In a small bowl combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans.
Melt butter and add to mixture.
Stir until well combined.
Sprinkle evenly over dough leaving ½ inch around the edges.
Prepare baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper.
Roll dough beginning on the long side, jelly-roll style, pinch seam to seal.
Place on baking sheet and form a circle, pinching the edges together tightly.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 45-60 minutes or until almost double in size.
About 20 minutes before rise is done, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake 25-35 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.
King Cake Glaze Instructions
In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth and desired consistency.
Spoon glaze onto cooled cake and add colored sugar for decoration.
Don’t forget to add the baby inside!
HOW TO MAKE A GLUTEN FREE KING CAKE
Gluten allergies and sensitivities don’t have to keep you from enjoying a yummy slice (0r two!) of King Cake.
To Make Gluten Free King Cake:
- Use gluten free all-purpose flour instead of regular all-purpose flour.
- Double check all of your other ingredients to make sure they are gluten free, to be safe!
VEGAN KING CAKE
Vegan King Cake will take a little bit more work, as far as finding substitutions, but it’s totally doable!
To Make Vegan King Cake:
- Replace cow’s milk with a plant-based milk of your choice.
- Swap out traditional butter for a vegan butter.
- Use a plant-based egg replacer from the store instead of eggs.
SUPER EASY KING CAKE RECIPE
This Mardi Gras King Cake always make me think of cinnamon rolls with all the cinnamon sugar, but they’re much different.
But if you don’t feel like dragging out the bowl of a stand mixer, paddle attachment, or purchasing gold sugar, most grocery stores have a traditional King Cake available if they have a bakery.
But there is something so special about making your own King Cake for your Mardi Gras celebration with delicious cream cheese filling.
MARDI GRAS CRAFTS, RECIPES, & ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
- Make your own decorations and fun things to wear with these 20+ super fun Mardi Gras crafts for kids and adults!
- Decorate your own printable Mardi Gras mask or check out one of these other DIY mask making ideas for kids
- Let your kids in on the fun with 25+ fun Mardi Gras activities for kids!
- Celebrate and unwind with festive Mardi Gras coloring pages.