Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe & a little history

pancake-amazing-cream-king-cake-decorating-idea-with-orange-green-purple-sprinkles-adorable-king-cake-decorating-ideasThe sweetest tradition of Mardi Gras is the vibrant, multi-colored King Cake. Officially, Mardi Gras isn’t until Tuesday February 9th of this year. However, my intention of posting this recipe early is to prepare y’all to gather up the fixins prior to. Staying true to Mardi Gras culinary tradition one must bake and serve this colorful, nut-filled wonder each year.

Similar to coffee cake, this ring-shaped confection is as rich in tradition and history, as it is in color and taste. Trademark sugars in the royal colors of purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power)–honor the three kings who visited the Christ child on Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas.  Modern tradition also allows for a bean or a small plastic baby to be put in the cake before serving. The person who finds the baby or Christ child has to buy or bake the cake for next year’s celebration.

Also known as King’s Day, Mardi Gras marks the start of merrymaking that continues until the grand finale on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.



1 cup milk

1/4 cup butter

2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast

2/3 cup warm water

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour



1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup melted butter

image (9)
photo source: eatrunread


1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon water

Purple, yellow & green food coloring & course colored sugars.


  1. Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
  4. Preheat oven to 375* Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  5. To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
  6. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10×16”)
  7. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners’ sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Sprinkle same colored sugar over frosting. Or use white frosting with colored sugars.

23 Comments Add yours

    1. Thanks so much for sharing!!!


  1. OldCountryGirl says:

    I`ve seen those traditional cakes before, but I never baked one. The recipe sounds delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! They’re a cross between a nut roll & a holiday cake…just splendid!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Osyth says:

    The recipe sounds delicious. In France we eat Galette des Rois on 6th January. I was here for Epiphany so I think I’d better try one of these next week to make up for it …. for cultural purposes, you understand 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha, Osyth! I adore your comments so much! Yes, for cultural purpose indeed! lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks fun and yummy! I’ve never made one of these before. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kathryn! They’re a lot of fun to make! Just be sure not to eat the baby! lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nadia says:

    That looks incredible and I know my kids would love it! Thanks for sharing !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Nadia! You’re so welcome! I’m sure one of your kids would enjoy being the lucky one to find the baby too 🙂


  5. I make one every year too! My husband just asked last night if King Cake was in works for this year… he was having a moment of panic as he thought today was Fat Tuesday! Phew… crisis averted! I’m planning on posting as well, but my filling is different. Hope you don’t mind!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jean! I’m so looking forward to seeing yours too! They’re wonderful, aren’t they??

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved knowing about the history of this cake! Just had it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and liked it! Thanks for the recipe Lana 🙂


    1. You’re so welcome, Freda! Thanks so much! It’s very tasty!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sheryl says:

    This cake is attractive, and sounds like it is a lot of fun to make. I also enjoyed reading about its history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Sheryl! It really was a lot of fun to make. The most difficult part was finding the little plastic baby 🙂


  8. Wow interesting traditions and lovely cake!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lynn! The colors are so inviting! This cake has you with the first slice 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yum, this sounds so delicious, and so interesting to make 🙂 Love the history behind it as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Lynne! The complete Mardi Gras treat!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. mkcasey80 says:

    This looks wonderful! Do you think you could make half a recipe?



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes! Easily, Marcey!


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