Have Your King Cake & Eat It Too: An Ode To Mardi Gras

Jessica Rubin
Have Your King Cake & Eat It Too: An Ode To Mardi Gras
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For those of you lucky enough to be in New Orleans or another location where Mardi Gras is celebrated in its proper and glorious form, then you’re well aware that today is Fat Tuesday … and tomorrow is the start of Lent. So for those of you observing, it’s time to sneak in your last treats before you try and behave for the next 40 days.

Cue the King Cake. This traditional Mardi Gras dessert features a little baby (who symbolizes Jesus, obviously) baked somewhere in the middle. The person who finds the prize gets all sorts of privileges, but being the sweet addicts that we are, we’re more concerned with getting our hands on a piece of this famed cake.

So we went hunting and came up with pretty awesome interpretations of the King Cake. Click through the slideshow above for some mother-watering good versions of the dessert and check out the recipe below for step-by-step instructions on how you can make your very own King Cake. And please feel free to send us a piece!


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup melted butter


  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  5. To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
  6. Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10×16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners’ sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.

[Recipe: All Recipes]

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