King Cake

King Cake is a popular dessert, eaten at Epiphany celebrations, and also associated with Mardi Gras celebrations. A tiny toy trinket (often a “baby”) is baked inside. The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various “privileges and obligations.”



  • 2 (¼ oz. Each) Packages of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 C. Sugar
  • 1 C. Warm Milk (about 110 Degrees °F)
  • ½ C. Melted Butter
  • 5 Egg Yolks
  • 4 C. Flour
  • 2 tsp. Sea Salt, Fine
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg, Ground
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Zest
  • 1 Package Cream Cheese
  • ½ C. Powdered Sugar


  • 2 C. Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ C. Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Milk
  • 1 Tbsp. Colored Sprinkles


  1. Gently combine yeast, sugar and warm milk together in a large bowl. Allow mixture to stand for about 10 minutes. Mixture should look creamy, and slightly foamy.
  2. Add egg yolks and melted butter to yeast mixture. In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest. Beat the dry flour mix into the yeast-milk mixture in 1 cup additions.
  3. When the dough is mixed and coming together, turn the sticky mixture out onto a dry, floured surface and knead till smooth – this step should take about 8 minutes. Place kneaded dough in a large, lightly-oiled bowl and cover (with a slightly damp cloth works best). Allow the kneaded dough in its bowl to “rest” in a warm spot for about 2 hours. Expect the dough to double in size.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and a half cup of the powdered sugar. Mix well. In another small bowl, mix the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of milk. Set both bowls aside.
  5. Turn the dough onto the floured surface. Using a rolling in, roll the dough into a 6″x30″ rectangle. Spread cream cheese-powdered sugar mixture across the center of the rectangle. “Fold” the longer two edges of the dough together and seal.
  6. Using your hands, shape the dough into a long cylinder, and place on a greased baking sheet, seam down. Shape the dough into a “wreath” ring, and press the baby (if using) into the bottom, so that it is completely hidden by the dough.
  7. Preheat oven to 300°F. Place a well-greased 2 pound cylindrical metal coffee can in the center of the ring, so the round wreath shape will hold up during baking. Cover the dough ring with a towel, and place in a warm place to let rise again until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  8. Bake cake for about 30 minutes. Remove coffee can from the middle of the cake, and allow cake to cool thoroughly. Drizzle top of cake with lemon juice/sugar mixture and festoon with sprinkles.
  9. We adapted this recipe from



Have you made this recipe? Share your experience with us in the comments below.