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Mardi Gras King Cake

This frosted king cake is the highlight of our annual Mardi Gras party. If you want to hide a token inside, do so by cutting a small slit in the bottom of the baked cake…and remember to warn your guests! —Lisa Mouton, Orlando, Florida
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. + rising Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    2 cakes (12 servings each)


  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/2 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cans (12-1/2 ounces each) almond cake and pastry filling
  • GLAZE:
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water
  • Purple, green and gold colored sugar


  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, shortening, sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups flour. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll one portion into a 16-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Spread almond filling to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet; pinch ends together to form a ring. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 375°. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. For glaze, combine confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough water to achieve desired consistency. Spread over cooled cakes. Sprinkle with colored sugars.
Editor's Note
This recipe was tested with Solo brand cake and pastry filling. Look for it in the baking aisle.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 277 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 8mg cholesterol, 143mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate (29g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.

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Average Rating:
  • Darlene
    Feb 21, 2020

    This has become my standby! I used an apricot/raisin/pecan filling last time. It hardly cools off before it's gone! Easy and for a yeast dough, very quick. ENJOY!

  • peanutsnona76
    Feb 13, 2015

    This King Cake is NOT Slovenian POVETICA or Croation PROSTA POTICA !In the region I grew up in, our Slovenian and Croat great-aunts and many local women made POVETICA. It is rolled out on a sheet or cloth until it is almost paper-thin and stretched to the size of the table. Then it's filled and carefully rolled up like a jellyroll. It is quite large and MUCH more time consuming than this King Cake. Although both bear strudel-like layers, they are nothing alike.

  • mbsheeron
    Mar 3, 2014

    Made this a few times and it's been devoured each time. It works with different fillings as well- apple and cherry seem to be the favorites

  • Gailsings
    Mar 2, 2014

    The best King Cake by far. The only change I would make is use 1 can of the almond cake filling. It is just too much with 2 cans. I would make it again!

  • Ladybug42195
    Jan 30, 2013

    No comment left

  • DaphneRhyneCousineau
    Mar 8, 2012

    This was wonderful. We normally get our king cakes from Gambino's bakery in New Orleans but this year I made them. I modified the recipe a bit by only using one can of almond paste split between the two cakes. I also added cream cheese spread over the almond paste. Excellent!

    Feb 22, 2012

    My granddaughter and I had fun making one very similar to this. I'll let you know how this one turns out.

  • sabrinann
    Mar 3, 2011

    This is also called Potica.....Slavic bread that is sweet enough to be called a cake. My aunt was always making this treat for us.

  • trishhicks
    Feb 26, 2011

    This recipe, though not anything like a "cake" (more like a pastry) was very good! I made one cake for a Mardi Gras themed birthday party and the other I took took work where it promptly disappeared! I was a little time consuming, but well worth it.I would suggest letting the icing cool a bit to thicken up some before pouring (or just make it thicker). Otherwise most of it will run off the cake. The sugar coating needs to be added quickly as well so it can adhere to the icing before the icing dries.To get the coloring in the picture, you will need a LOT of sugar.

  • xicota
    Feb 18, 2010

    This recipe was fun to prepare, and everyone enjoyed the bread. Very rich with the almond pastry filling! I'm not sure why this is called a "cake"--it is definitely a sweet bread, but no matter the name, it is a treat!