King Cake for Mardi Gras

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I almost forgot about Mardi Gras this year.  It totally slipped my mind as I prepared to start the Maryland School Assessments this week with my students.  I saw a post about King Cake this weekend and as I am newly a King this year, I thought it would be neat to make this treat for Mardi Gras.

I didn’t know much about the King Cake, so I looked up some information on it.  The concept of the King Cake is to make a cinnamon raisin roll cake with a hidden plastic baby inside of it.  The person who gets the piece with the baby wins a prize.  The cake is usually decorated with a sweet icing and colored sugar in the colors of Mardi Gras.

This cake smelled wonderful as it was rising.  The spices really scented the air.  The filling was sweet and sticky almost like the filling in a cinnamon roll.  The cake didn’t rise as much as I would have liked, but it still came out golden brown looked great.  The dough was slightly sweet but the filling is the star of the show.  It’s sweet and spicy with hints of bourbon-perfect for Mardi Gras!  The cake is finished off with a light sugar icing and sprinkled with green, purple, and yellow colored sugars.

King Cake (adapted from Homemade by Holman)

1/2 c. low fat milk
3 T. butter
1 package dry active yeast

1/3 c. warm water (110 degrees)

1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 t. salt
1/2 t. nutmeg

1/2 t. cinnamon

2 3/4c. flour

2/3 c. brown sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1/3 c. flour
1/4 c. raisins and dried cranberries mixed
2 T. bourbon
1/4c. melted butter

1 c. powdered sugar
1 T. low fat milk
1 T.lemon juice

Yellow, green, and purple decorating sugars

1.  Bring the milk just to a boil in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat and add in the butter.  Mix until butter is melted then set aside to cool.

2.  In a large mixing bowl combine warm water, 1 T. sugar, and yeast.  Let sit for 10 minutes or until creamy and starting to bubble.

3. Add the room temperature milk mixture to the yeast mixture.  Whisk in the egg.  Mix in the remaining sugar, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Slowly beat in the flour until the dough comes together in a ball.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes,until smooth.

4.  Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it.  Turn over to coat with oil.  Cover with a clean dish cloth and let sit in a warm spot for 2 hours or until dough has doubled.

5.  Place the raisin/cranberry mixture into a small bowl and cover with bourbon.  Let sit until ready to make the filling.

6.  To make the filling combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour.  Dump any bourbon not absorbed by the raisin mixture then add the raisin mixture to the brown sugar.  Pour melted butter over top and mix until crumbly.
7. Punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll into a 10 x 16 rectangle.  Sprinkle evenly with the filling.  Start from the long end and roll up like a jellyroll. Bring the ends together and pinch closed, forming an oval.  Place on a greased cookie sheet.
8. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals.  Let the dough rise again for 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size.

9. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake the dough for 30 minutes.  Frost with the powdered sugar icing while still warm.  Sprinkle with the colored sugar and serve.


  1. I read about a King cake for Mardi Gras yesterday too. Never tried a King cake before and this seems like a great cake to me. Yum!

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