Mardi Gras Kings Cake

I am always searching for the ultimate Kings Cake. There aren’t as many recipes out there as you may think. John Besh has his, then there is Emeril, Lottie and Doff  and other well known chefs and blogs. Sandra Lee even has a semi-homemade version. But seriously Sandra- nothing beats the real thing!


Well, my philosophy on recipes is this- the older the better and if it comes from a grandmother or church cookbook then it probably reigns over the others. I found a recipe after searching literally through every cookbook I have and lo and behold the second to last one from a small church in Louisiana had a recipe called Praline Baby Cake. At second glance I saw a small note at the bottom that read also known as Kings Cake. The page was beaming with a white light and the recipe was calling out to me! Kings Cake + Praline Filling= BEST KINGS CAKE EVER!

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An older woman named Betty came up with this recipe and although I am pretty sure she is no longer with us as the cookbook was written forever and ever ago I know she would be proud! The cake is light, the texture is slightly firm on the outside and gooey and chewy on the inside. The dough couldn’t be easier to make and the icing is near perfection. All bets off, I think this is the ONE. I am not going to jinx myself, I will try again next year but I have a feeling this is the one I will keep coming back to time and time again.


If you are not a nut fan (GASP!) then by all means substitute the praline filling for something like brown sugar and cinnamon or cream cheese or just leave it out all together! Note: I left out the nuts in the filling because of my 2 yr old son but it still tastes like praline and by all means include the nuts for your family if everyone likes them!


Mardi Gras Kings Cake
  • ½ cup HOT WATER
  • 1 pkg Active Dry yeast
  • 2 TBSP Sugar
  • 2 TBSP All Purpose Flour
  • 4 TBSP Butter
  • 4 TBSP Cream Cheese
  • ¼ cup Skim Milk
  • 3½ - 4 cup Flour (plus extra for kneading)
  • 2 large Eggs, slightly beaten, room temperature
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • Filling
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Icing
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 4 TBSP heavy cream
  1. Place yeast, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium sized bowl and stir to combine. Be sure that water is between 105 and 110 degrees F and pour it over mixture. Stir to combine and set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix butter, cream cheese and milk in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Stir and mash the cream cheese until all ingredients are smooth and blended together. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Mixture should be cool to room temperature before using. Combine 3 cups of flour, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add eggs, yeast mixture and cooled butter mixture. Stir to combine. Add additional flour until mixture is tacky but not sticky (you may add as much a 1 full cup). Knead dough for about 10 minutes, adding additional flour if necessary, until smooth. Form dough into a ball.
  3. Butter the bottom and sides of a large bowl. Place dough in bowl and roll it in butter on all sides. Cover with a towel and let dough rise for 1½ hours, until doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down and then roll it out on a large work surface to form a 20" x 14" rectangle. Brush the surface with the 3 tablespoons of melted butter. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the ingredients for the Praline Filling until it forms a paste. Press the paste gently all over the rectangle of dough.
  4. Starting on one edge, roll the dough into a 20" long tube. PInch the seams to seal the tube along the length. Twist the dough starting on one end and ending with pinching both ends together and shaping the dough into a circle. Place on baking sheet -cover with a towel and let dough rise for an additional 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Once dough has risen, bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and cake has a hollow sound when you thump it. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  6. To make colored sugars, place ½ cup of granulated sugar in each of three sealable plastic bags (or containers). Add 12 drops of yellow food coloring in one bag. Seal the bag and shake vigorously to evenly color the sugar, being sure to break up any clumps with your fingers. Repeat the process with a second bag using 12 drops of green food coloring. With the last bag, combine 10 drops of red and 6 drops of blue food coloring to create purple. Set sugars aside.
  7. In a medium sized bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and cream. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar.Using a pastry brush, drizzle and liberally brush the icing on all sides of the cake. Use all of the icing, even though some with drip onto the parchment. Immediately sprinkle sugars over icing in alternating rows of green, yellow and purple.


  1. Kay / Pure + Complex

    I wish I could eat this today lol. I have a major sweet tooth today and I don’t know why.. but I’m not complaining about it lol. I just wish I could go to Marid Gras this year. Wonderful recipe

  2. Tricia @ Saving room for dessert

    I love the old recipes too and I’ve always been curious about this cake. Lovely and no doubt as delicious as it looks.

    1. kbelleicious

      Old recipes are most definitely the best!

  3. Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen

    You’ve done a splendid job and I am most impressed. I have never attempted a King cake.
    Laisser les bons temps rouler.

    1. kbelleicious

      Thanks Sam! that means alot coming from you!

  4. Tanya

    Love how colorful it is. My son would love to help put the sprinkles on 🙂

  5. lena

    hi jessica, i remember you did a mardi gras king sometime ago and that looks fantastic , so is this! it is just so fascinating looking at the alternate bright colours on the cake, impressive!

  6. nancy at good food matters

    Wow, what beautiful looking dough—impressive King Cake! It’s got its MG colors goin’ on, too. It’s been years and years since I’ve made one—and mine didn’t look this good. Looks like your research paid off!

    1. kbelleicious

      Oh nancy! I am sure yours look this good if not better! You are awesome at baking and no doubt it was delicious

  7. Asmita

    This is beautiful! I would love to make this!

    1. kbelleicious

      Thanks Asmita!

  8. Eva

    I was sure you had posted a similarly beautiful recipe last year, I recall the lovely sparkly colours. I can see why it’s a favourite for Mardi Gras, it’s so festive.

    1. kbelleicious

      LOL! I did Eva! I reposted it! Life has been soo crazy this past few weeks!

  9. Balvinder

    You are great in making mardi gras cakes. I think I have only seen it on your blog.

  10. Daphne

    The colour looks awesome! I have never have this before but it’s tempting with the colours and pastry!

  11. Joanne

    THIS is going to be the year I make a Kings Cake!! You’ve SO inspired me.

  12. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    I think I could eat one of these gorgeous cakes every single day. It wouldn’t be pretty but it might be worth it. 🙂

    1. kbelleicious

      LOL! Worth it for sure Maureen! Isn’t eating cake every day worth it:) I say yes!

  13. Liz

    I’m so glad you found such a fabulous recipe! And good to know I can leave out the nuts…my picky family doesn’t enjoy them like I do. And I want them to inhale this king’s cake (and they will!!!).

    1. kbelleicious

      Go for it Liz! They will inhale it nuts or no nuts!

  14. Karen (Back Road Journal)

    This really looks and sounds like a winning recipe. I especially like the idea of a praline filling. 🙂

  15. kitchen flavours

    Such a lovely cake! I have heard and seen this lovely cake, but have not tried it before.
    My daughter does not like nuts (gasp! yes!)

    1. kbelleicious

      No worries! My son doesn’t either so feel free to leave them out or replace it with a nice strawberry mouse or something

  16. Ayesha

    This looks so amazing…and love the glitter <3

  17. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking

    This cake looks delicious and oh so pretty!!

  18. Ruth

    I love King Cake but no one in my area makes a good one. I have started craving some and am tempted to order one from NOLA. I am not sure I am up for making my own yet.

    1. kbelleicious

      I know ruth! Patrick got spoiled growing up in N.O. and now everytime around this year he wants a kings cake and i have to make one bc there are no good ones around where i live

  19. Roz

    Personally, I think that if you have selected this recipe for King Cake, then it has to be the best!! Like you, I’ve always looked for a good recipe for this cake too, but this must certainly be the best! I’ve made one with filling before, sort of a twist of something new, but I MUST bake yours!

  20. Gintare @Gourmantine

    What a lovely cake, I’d be so happy eating it anytime of the day!

    1. kbelleicious

      Thanks Gintare and thank you for visiting!

  21. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    I remember your old recipe (was it from last year?) too. You made another version! Looks so festive and beautiful!

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  23. alisha

    Just finished making this!!! Thank you so much for sharing!! My first attempt at making a king cake and since my kiddos have already eaten half, I would say it is a success!!! They are not fans of nuts so I substituted a cinnamon cream cheese filling. So yummy! Thanks again!

  24. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes

    So fun! I haven’t tried a praline filling. Sounds fantastic.

  25. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    I am definitely trying this one. The praline filling makes my heart sing.

  26. Linda

    wow, I stopped making different versions after I fell in love with my last one, but…I have to try this! I can see by the ingredients the dough will be lighter in texture and the simple…sweet…filling sounds perfect. So, you’ve twisted my arm! I’ll be making this Wednesday as I can share it with my volunteer group and get it out of my home quickly!!

  27. Kiran @

    This cake definitely fits for a king! Or queen for all the colors 😉

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  29. the Squishy Monster

    You most definitely did her proud–it looks amazing!

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