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Traditional King Cake Recipe

King Cake is a traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras dessert. Nothing compares to your own delicious homemade King Cake. It does take a little time to get the dough together, but so worth the wait! Sure to be loved by all at every Mardi Gras Party!
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: King cake, Mardi Gras, yeast dough


  • 1 package 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water no more than 110°F [43°C]
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups bread flour or 5 1/2 to 6 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup peanut corn, or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup  raisins
  • 1/4 cup rum or whatever booze you prefer or even orange juice
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup walnuts or pecans chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • confectioner’s sugar
  • yellow green and purple food coloring (or colored sprinkles)


  • In a small bowl, add the filling ingredients. Mix together and set aside.
  • DOUGH In a mixer, with a dough hook attachment, add the warm water and yeast. Mix until blended.  Add the sugar and mix about a minute. Slowly mix in 1 cup of the flour until combined. Mix in the eggs one at a time until they are combined.  Add another 2 cups of the flour, the honey, oil, and salt.  Mix together on medium-low speed stopping the machine to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Slowly add the rest of the flour (the remaining 4 cups) and mix until combined. Stop the machine as you add each cup of the flour to scrape the sides of the bowl and incorporate the flour. Mix on low speed for 12 minutes until dough is incorporated. Be sure to give your mixer a break and as you don’t want to burn it out. Add flour if needed 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough will be a little sticky but also firm.
  • Take dough out of mixer bowl, form into a ball and coat with a light film of canola oil.
  • Form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl (when I put the dough in the bowl I swish the dough around the bottom of the bowl and then flip it over so all of the dough is covered in a light film of oil). Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size (about 1-1 1/2 hours).
  • On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 20-by-7-inch rectangle, with the long edge facing you.
  • Spoon the filling in an even layer over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the top and bottom.
  • Fold the bottom and then the top edge over the filling to make a tight roll; pinch to seal. Transfer the roll seam-side down to a parchment-lined baking sheet; tuck one end into the other to form a ring. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the ring doubles in size, about 1-2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cake until firm and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack.