5 from 1 vote
king cake
King Cake
Prep Time
1 hr 10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
King cake, one of the most popular Mardi Gras traditions in New Orleans, is a delicious cinnamon-filled glazed cake that is sprinkled with colored sugar.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings: 12 people
Author: Vera Abitbol
For the dough
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice , freshly squeezed
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large eggs , slightly beaten
  • 6 cups flour (more or less)
For filling
  • 6 tablespoons butter , soft
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the icing
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter , melted
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice , freshly squeezed
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk
For the topping
  • 3 tablespoons yellow-colored sugar
  • 3 tablespoons green-colored sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of purple-colored sugar
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat sour cream, sugar, butter and salt, stirring constantly until butter melts. Add the lemon and set aside until the mixture reaches a temperature of about 100 F.

  2. In a bowl, mix the yeast, warm water, and 1 tablespoon of sugar and let stand 5 minutes.
  3. In a stand-in mixer, whisk the cream mixture, the yeast mixture, the eggs and 2 cups of flour at medium speed until a smooth mixture is obtained.
  4. Reduce to low speed and, using the dough hook, gradually add the remaining flour (about 4 cups) until a homogeneous and soft dough is obtained.
  5. Place the dough on a slightly floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.
  6. Place the dough in a large greased bowl and grease the dough on the surface as well.
  7. Cover and let rise in a warm place, protected from air flow for 1 hour, until dough doubles in volume.
  8. Punch the dough and divide it into two equal pieces.
  9. Roll each piece of dough with a rolling pin into a rectangle about 20x12 in. Spread the butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border.
  10. Mix the sugar and the cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly on each rectangle of dough.
  11. Roll both rectangles on the long side.
  12. Place them on a baking sheet, with the opening facing down, lined with parchment paper and attach the ends of each roll to form a crown. Moisten and pinch the edges together to seal.
  13. Cover and let rise in a warm place, for another 20 to 30 minutes.
  14. Preheat the convection oven to 375 F.
  15. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes.
  16. Place the crowns on a rack for about 10 minutes.
  1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, the icing sugar, the melted butter, the lemon juice, and the vanilla.

  2. Incorporate first 2 tablespoons of milk, and add extra milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the consistency is silky and not runny.
  1. Spread the icing evenly over the cakes. Sprinkle colored sugars by distinctly alternating strips of colors.
  2. Allow to cool before eating.