World’s Most Delicious King Cake Recipe EVER!!!

King cake has been a dish that has been traditionally made and eaten on different Catholic feast days, including 3 Kings Day (the Epiphany) and also Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). There is a baby Jesus hidden inside the cake, it is shaped like a crown, and now it generally features the New Orleans colors of purple, green, and yellow. These are also the symbolic colors of wealth and royalty! You can read more about Mardi Gras traditions and celebrations here. Now, let’s take a look at how to make this world’s most delicious king cake ever!

The Traditions And Meaning Behind King Cake

Originally, king’s cake was made and eaten by Catholic families for the Epiphany to celebrate the coming of the 3 kings to see baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Given that the “carnival season” runs from the Epiphany until Ash Wednesday, and the day before Lent being your “last chance” to eat sweets, the cake has in more recent years been associated with Mardi Gras.

The King cake is always shaped in a circular or oval shape to represent the crown of a king and generally has some kind of trinket hidden inside. Usually, it’s a small plastic baby that is hidden inside the cake, which represents the baby Jesus. The person who receives this trinket in their slice of cake is “king for the day”, has to bring the cake for next year’s party, or has to host next year’s party. 

I have also seen in Catholic tradition that whoever finds the baby in the cake leads the rosary prayed that evening. 

King’s cake is usually decorated with white icing and purple, green, and yellow sprinkles or sugar.

Baking King Cake

This recipe is super delicious, and also quite involved. It takes 2 1/2 hours to prepare. If you’re not in an intense baking mood, you should check out my lazy girl’s king cake recipe. It will serve you well.

For my adventurous bakers, let’s start gathering our ingredients.

Note: A printable version of this recipe can be found at the end of this post.

Ingredients Needed For The Dough:

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 packet instant rise yeast
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar + 1tbsp separated
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Ingredients Needed For The Filling:

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

For Needed For The Icing:

  • 1.5 cup powdered sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Ingredients Needed For The Topping:

  • green, yellow, and purple sugar

What You Need For Inside:

  • a little plastic baby Jesus!

Instructions For Making Delicious King Cake Dough

Start by preheating your oven to 200°F.

Take the 2 eggs from your refrigerator and place them into a bowl of warm water. Let them warm up for 5 minutes to bring them to room temperature.

In a separate bowl, add your warm milk, 1 tbsp of sugar, and the yeast. Stir this mixture with a fork or a whisk. Allow this to sit for 5-10 minutes, at which point your yeast should be bubbling or growing in size. If it’s not, throw this mixture out and start again.

Next, pour your yeast mixture, eggs, and melted butter into a stand mixer, or if you don’t have one you can whisk it by hand.

Mix this until it’s combined, and then add half of the flour. Next add in the remainder of the sugar and the salt. When this is mixed you can add the remainder of the flour. Keep mixing until this is well incorporated.

Lightly flour a surface to work on with your dough, and use this to knead the dough for 5-7 minutes. You can knead the dough using the “taco method”, meaning fold it over press together, fold it over press together, etc.

When your ball of dough is nice and smooth, put 2 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom of a large bowl and place the ball of dough inside. Cover the top of the bowl and allow it to rise in a warm areal for about an hour, placing the mixture near the your warm to ensure it stays warm.

Come back in an hour when it has risen.



After the dough has risen for an hour, punch it down.

Again, turn it onto your lightly flowered surface and knead for another 1-2 minutes.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a large rectangle. This should be about 20 inches long.

How To Fill The King Cake

Now we are going to add the ingredients in the “filling” category. Brush the softened butter onto the dough, and cover it with the cinnamon sugar. Make sure this covers the entire surface of the dough.

Optionally, you can sprinkle pecans onto the dough at this point as well.

How To Shape The King Cake

Tightly roll the dough long ways, similarly to the way you would a jelly roll.

Roll it onto a piece of parchment paper, which you can slide onto your baking dish. Bring the 2 ends of the long roll together to form the shape of a circle or oval. Either shape is great. Seal the 2 ends together. You can use a bit of water or milk to help with this.

Cover and let it rise again for another hour. After rising for 60 minutes, brush the entire cake with milk. Now it’s ready to bake!

Bake this cake in a 375°F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it is golden brown.

Let the cake cook for 15-20 minutes.

How To Make The King Cake Glaze

Combine your powdered sugar, milk or water, and vanilla in a bowl. Stir the mixture until it’s smooth. The icing should be thick, but also pourable.

This is the time to add your plastic baby Jesus to your cake! Cut a small slit into the inside of the cake circle where it won’t be seen, and slide the plastic baby in.

Now you can drizzle the glaze over the king cake. Promptly sprinkle it with green, yellow, and purple sanding sugar. You can find my directions for making your own colored sugar here, which is a lot cheaper, but the stuff they sell in those little bottles really is a lot more sparkly!

Your king cake is now ready to serve! It was a lot of work, but it’s also a work of art! It’s as delicious as it is beautiful, so make sure to display it as such. 

The little baby Jesus is inside, waiting to be discovered by an unsuspecting guest, so I would suggest gentle slicing.

More Mardi Gras Resources

Be sure to check out my other Mardi Gras recipes and traditions here. Is it even Fat Tuesday with out pancakes?!

World’s Most Delicious King Cake Printable Recipe

World’s Most Delicious King Cake Recipe EVER

King cake has been a dish that has been traditionally made and eaten on different Catholic feast days, including 3 Kings Day (the Epiphany) and also Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). There is a baby Jesus hidden inside the cake, it is shaped like a crown, and now it generally features the New Orleans colors of purple, green, and yellow.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake
Author: Lacy

Ingredients

Ingredients Needed For The Dough:

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 packet instant rise yeast
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar + 1tbsp separated
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Ingredients Needed For The Filling:

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Ingredients Needed For The Icing:

  • 1.5 cup powdered sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Ingredients Needed For The Topping:

  • green, yellow, and purple sugar

What You Need For Inside:

  • a little plastic baby Jesus

Instructions

Instructions For Making Delicious King Cake Dough

  • Start by preheating your oven to 200°F.
  • Take the 2 eggs from your refrigerator and place them into a bowl of warm water. Let them warm up for 5 minutes to bring them to room temperature.
  • In a separate bowl, add your warm milk, 1 tbsp of sugar, and yeast. Stir this mixture with a fork or a whisk. Allow this to sit for 5-10 minutes, at which point your yeast should be bubbling or growing in size. If it’s not, throw this mixture out and start again.
  • Next, pour your yeast mixture, eggs, and melted butter into a stand mixer, or if you don’t have one you can whisk it by hand.
  • Mix this until it’s combined, and then add half of the flour.
  • Next, add in the remainder of the sugar and the salt. When this is mixed you can add the remainder of the flour. Keep mixing until this is well incorporated.
  • Lightly flour a surface to work on with your dough, and use this to knead the dough for 5-7 minutes. You can knead the dough using the “taco method”, meaning fold it over, press together, fold it over, press together, etc.
  • When your ball of dough is nice and smooth, put 2 tbsp of olive oil in the bottom of a large bowl and place the ball of dough inside. Cover the top of the bowl and allow it to rise in a warm area for about an hour.
  • Come back in an hour when it has risen.
  • After the dough has risen for an hour, punch it down.
  • Again, turn it onto your lightly flowered surface and knead for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a large rectangle. This should be about 20 inches long.

How To Fill The King Cake

  • Now we are going to add the ingredients in the “filling” category. Brush the softened butter onto the dough, and cover it with the cinnamon sugar. Make sure this covers the entire surface of the dough.
  • Optionally, you can sprinkle pecans onto the dough at this point as well.

How To Shape The King Cake

  • Tightly roll the dough long ways, similarly to the way you would a jelly roll.
  • Roll it onto a piece of parchment paper, which you can slide onto your baking dish. Bring the 2 ends of the long roll together to form the shape of a circle or oval. Either shape is great. Seal the 2 ends together. You can use a bit of water or milk to help with this.
  • Cover and let it rise again for another hour.
  • After rising for 60 minutes, brush the entire cake with milk. Now it’s ready to bake!
  • Bake this cake in a 375°F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it is golden brown.
  • Let the cake sit for 15-20 minutes.

How To Make The King Cake Glaze

  • Combine your powdered sugar, milk or water, and vanilla in a bowl. Stir the mixture until it’s smooth. The icing should be thick, but also pourable.
  • This is the time to add your plastic baby Jesus to your cake! Cut a small slit into the inside of the cake circle where it won’t be seen, and slide the plastic baby in.
  • Now you can drizzle the glaze over the king cake. Promptly sprinkle it with green, yellow, and purple sanding sugar.
  • Your king cake is now ready to serve!

Comments

  1. Your post caught me off-guard! I completely didn’t even THINK of making this on Mardi Gras and yet I used to all the time. Once the kiddos are all gone, things just really change! I’ll have to make a mental note for next year I guess. Maybe I can surprise the ones that live locally…

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