Traditional New Orleans King Cake | Love Bakes Good Cakes
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Monday, February 24, 2014

Traditional New Orleans King Cake

I love a good party .... and I especially love a good cake! :) With Mardi Gras coming up soon, I thought it would be fun to share a Traditional New Orleans King Cake. Although it may sound intimidating, it's a really simple cake to make! 

King Cake #MardiGras #NOLA #dessert

Mardi Gras takes place 46 days before Easter - which is the day before Lent (this year it is Tuesday, March 4th, 2014). As you may know, Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent. Although, the most famous Mardi Gras celebration is in New Orleans, there are many celebrations throughout the world. 

The King Cake came to New Orleans from France in the 1870's, and it honors the three kings who visited the baby Jesus. Traditionally,  a dried pea, coin or plastic baby is hidden in the cake to represent the Christ child. Whoever finds the token in their piece of cake is said to have a year of good luck. The King Cake is shaped like a crown and is decorated in the "royal" colors - violet (justice), gold (power) and green (faith).  These three colors are also the official colors of Mardi Gras.

King Cake #MardiGras #NOLA #dessert

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Traditional New Orleans King Cake
Printable recipe
Yield: 12 servings

For the cake:
2 pkg. (¼ oz. each) active dry yeast
½ cup warm water (110°F - 115°F)
½ cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup warm milk (110°F - 115°F)
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
3-4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
1 egg, beaten

For the glaze:
1½ cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
2-3 tbsp. water
Green, purple and yellow sugars

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add the ½ cup sugar, butter, milk, yolks, salt, lemon peel, nutmeg and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. The dough will be sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth or elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.

Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 16x10-in. rectangle. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon with the ¼ cup sugar. Sprinkle over the dough to within ½-in. of the edge. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting on the long side. Pinch seam to seal. Place seam-side down on a greased baking sheet - pinch ends together to form a ring. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush the cake with the beaten egg. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. 

For the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice and enough water to achieve the desired consistency. Spread or pour over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with the colored sugars.

King Cake #MardiGras #NOLA #dessert

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I hope you enjoy! Shared at these fun parties!

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  1. I am totally loving this!! Love Mardi Gras!! Gotta make this baby!!


  2. mmm looks gret!Thanks for a recipe!

  3. I have never heard of such a thing before. It looks great. Thanks for posting this. #DBB

  4. King Cake is such a fun {and yummy} tradition!

  5. wow ! Your King Cakes looks wonderful !

  6. I've been wanting to make king cake for years and years, but never take the time. Yours looks awesome, Jamie! Thanks for sharing at Simple Supper Tuesday.

  7. Looks yummy! I remember seeing these pop up in grocery stores and at school when I was growing up in Texas.

  8. Such a pretty cake! I am hosting a giveaway on my page this week (posted Monday) and I would love if you would stop by and check it out!

  9. I've never heard of a king cake, love this! Thanks for sharing Jamie.

  10. Allez les bon temps et les bonnes nourritures! This looks, how you say, deeeelicious! I'm partial for a gallette made of marzipan but the brioche ones are usually sweet and delish for a yummy breakfast treat:) Also, did you make your own sugar?

    1. I bought my sugar already colored .... I wish I could have found a darker green!

  11. Jamie, this looks fantastic, and your photo really shows it off! Thanks for bring it to Treasure Box Tuesday- I'm sharing on FB this afternoon! :)

  12. Thanks for posting this with Thrifty Thursday. I am hosting a reception at our church after a Lenten organ concert this Sunday and having a Mardi Gras theme. Perhaps I will use this cake as part of the dessert buffet.

  13. Stopping by from Thrifty Thurs Party. I have never seen a cake like this and it's so yummy looking! Carrie, A Mother's Shadow

  14. I made a King Cake years and years ago for a Mardi Gras party, but mine didn't have a cinnamon swirl! It made for a very blah "bread". I can't wait to try this one, it looks delicious! :)

  15. We just love King Cake and its always fun to see who gets the baby. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  16. Happy Mardi Gras! You know I love this!
    Thank you for linking, Jamie.

  17. Thank you for linking up at Tasty Tuesdays! Your post has been pinned to my Recipes from Tasty Tuesday board. I can't wait to see what you link up this week!
    Have a terrific week!

  18. Oh my! This is just gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I'm stopping by from the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop at Katherine's Corner. I hope to catch up with you again this week at the hop. Stop by and visit me when you get a chance at Nina aka Vintage Mama

  19. Thanks for sharing this cake and for explaining it's origin. I've seen these before but never know what was behind them. Thanks for sharing on Sweet and Savoury Sundays, stop by and share with us again this weekend!


I love reading your comments. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond. :)