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Festive King’s Cake

In New Orleans, after the cake is baked a tiny toy baby is often inserted into it. Whoever gets the piece with the baby is supposed to have a year of good luck. The catch is they must also throw a Mardi Gras party next year. — Stacey West-Feather, Jay, Oklahoma
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. + rising Bake: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    1 cake (16 slices)


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons 2% milk
  • Purple, yellow and green colored sugars


  • In a large bowl, mix the sugar, yeast, salt and 2 cups flour. In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg yolks; beat 2 minutes longer. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
  • For filling, mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 24x6-in. rectangle. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar lengthwise down one half of the dough. Fold dough lengthwise over filling; pinch seam to seal. Transfer to a greased baking sheet, seam side down. Shape into a ring, pinching ends together to seal. Cover with a kitchen towel; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. For topping, mix the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Spread over cake; sprinkle with colored sugars.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 332 calories, 11g fat (6g saturated fat), 88mg cholesterol, 368mg sodium, 54g carbohydrate (29g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.
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Average Rating:
  • ms11145
    Jan 29, 2016

    This was a fun recioe to make. I WISH I had read about spreading butter down on the dough as my filling harden l also. I also did the standard way of yeast rising. And it worked well.

  • erindumont59
    Jun 5, 2015

    To the reviewer who had trouble with the filling being very hard, I would spread the dough with about 2 tablespoons of softened butter before sprinkling the filling on top.I made this version and also made another recipe which used cream cheese filling. This version took rather a long time to rise, but I usually use this method only with yeast doughs that will rise in the refrigerator. Next time I will proof the yeast in liquid. That said, everyone enjoyed this very much. My family preferred the cream cheese version, but begged me to keep this recipe, too. Thanks for a great recipe. I would ignore ratings that do not consider the recipe, and only remark on whether it is "traditional" or not. Everyone has different versions of their traditions, and this recipe makes a lovely dessert.

  • cskrn
    Nov 18, 2014

    I made this cake for our Mardi Gras potluck at work. Everyone loved it. Some of the people didn't know about the baby hidden in the cake, so they thought that was fun.

  • KimNewcomb
    Feb 28, 2014

    The top statement is incorrect. You get the baby and the next Friday you throw a Mardi Gras party, and whoever gets the baby each friday throws the party till Fat Tuesday. I am from New Orleans born and raised 47's our French Tradition.Also King Cakes are made with brioche bread and do not taste like cinnoman rolls.

  • stephsma
    Feb 6, 2013

    I made this cake the cake part was very good, but the filling was hard as a rock. What went wrong?

  • stephsma
    Feb 2, 2013

    Easy & Delicious

  • kredhead
    Jan 24, 2013

    Never mind...I checked the other king cake recipes on this site & finally found the answer. Place a small slit in the bottom of the cake after it is baked and insert the plastic baby.

  • kredhead
    Jan 24, 2013

    Where does the plastic baby come in? Add after it is baked?

  • Stacey4gop
    Jan 21, 2013

    Love it!