King Cake


Learn how to make a King Cake for Mardis Gras at home this year. Our King Cake recipe features the classic ring shape and uses a pecan as the hidden baby (though you can purchase a plastic one to use, if you wish). Traditionally, whoever is served the hidden pecan becomes the king or queen for the week and bakes another king Cake. This festive ritual continues each week until Mardi Gras, the day before Lent.

Prep Time:
40 mins
Rise Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
Bake Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 35 mins


  • 3 ½ - 4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 package active dry yeast

  • ½ cup milk

  • cup sugar

  • ¼ cup butter or margarine

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 3 eggs

  • ½ cup diced candied citron

  • 1 pecan half

  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

  • Milk

  • Green-and yellow-colored sugar


  1. In a large mixer bowl combine 1-1/2 cups of the flour and yeast. In a saucepan heat milk, sugar, butter or margarine, and salt until warm (115 degree F to 120 degree F) and butter or margarine is almost melted, stirring constantly.

  2. Add heated mixture to flour mixture. Add eggs, Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1/2 minute, scraping bowl. Beat 3 minutes on high speed. Stir in citron. Using a spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total).

  4. Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl. Turn once to grease surface. Cover. Let rise in a warm place until double (1-1/2 to 2 hours). Punch dough down. Cover. Let rest 10 minutes.

  5. Press the pecan into the dough. Shape dough into a 30-inch-long roll. Join ends to form a ring about 10 inches in diameter. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until almost double (about 1 hour).

  6. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. If necessary, cover loosely with foil after 20 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Cool on a rack.

  7. In a small bowl beat together powdered sugar, vanilla, and enough milk (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make a thin frosting. Spoon the frosting over cooled cake. Sprinkle the colored sugar in 2-inch rows, spoke fashion, alternating colors around the top of the cake. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

    King Cake
    Matthew Clark/Hannah Bigot

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

137 Calories
3g Fat
24g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 137
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 32mg 11%
Sodium 83mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Protein 3g
Calcium 10.1mg 1%
Iron 1.1mg 6%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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