Mardi Gras King Cake

Helen Reporting,

This year I made my own King Cakes from scratch. Between January 6 and Mardi Gras, New Orleanians eat King Cake. As Rouses Grocery says, “a tiny, plastic baby representing the infant Jesus is inserted into the cake. Tradition holds that the person who gets the piece with the baby in it is obligated to bring a king cake to the next party.”

This is essentially a jelly roll. As such, there’s no reason not to have fun with the fillings. Nothing is too crazy. This year, Cake Café in New Orleans is offering Apple-Goat Cheese, Raspberry Cream-Cheese, and Pecan Cream-Cheese. Happy Mardi Gras!

Finished King Cake with cinnamon filling.

Finished King Cake with cinnamon filling.


1 container of sour cream (16 ounces)

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon salt

2 envelopes active dry yeast (1/4 ounce each)

1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour

2 pecan halves or 2 red beans or 2 plastic babies


1/3 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


3/4 cup sugar

2 packages cream cheese (8 ounce)

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


3 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon juice



  1. Combine first four ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside and let mixture cool to about 100°.
  2. In a measuring cup or other glass container, mix together the yeast, 1/2 warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let sit for about five minutes.
  3. With a stand mixer, beat sour cream mixture (step 1), yeast mixture (step 2), eggs, and 2 cups of flour until smooth. Reduce to low speed and add remaining flour until soft dough forms.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot, free from drafts until doubled in size, about an hour.
  5. Punch down dough and divide in half. With a rolling pin, roll each half into a 22- inch by 12- inch rectangle. Cover with chosen topping, allowing for 1-inch margin around the rectangle.
Spread Filling on Rectangle of Dough

Spread filling on rectangle of dough

Cinnamon Filling

For the cinnamon filling,

  1. Blend 1/3 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 ground cinnamon.
  2. Spread over cake.

Cream Cheese Filling

For the cream-cheese filling,

  1. Use an electric mixer to beat 3/4 cup sugar, 2 packages of softened cream cheese, egg, and two teaspoons vanilla extract.


Step By Step (Continued)

  1. After the filling has been spread on the rectangle, roll up like a jelly roll, starting at one long side, until a roll forms. Place the roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Roll dough into a circle.

Roll dough into a circle.

7. Cover and let rise again for 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled.

8.Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Let cool slightly.

Bake at 375 degrees

Bake at 375 degrees

9. Insert a pecan half or red bean or plastic baby inside the cake from underneath.

10.Any basic icing recipe will suffice here. Make sure to have either purple, green, and gold sugar sprinkles or food coloring. (Red and blue make purple.)

11.Gradually beat in 3 cups of powdered sugar into three table spoons of softened butter

12.Add vanilla extract, lemon juice, and water at intervals until the desired consistency is reached

13.Spread over warm cake.

Finished product ready for a party

Finished product ready for a party