King Cake

Serves: 5
Total Calories: 1,285
Yield: 2 ( 9x12-inch) cakes
Prep time:
Total time:


1 stick plus 1 tablespoon butter, divided
2/3 cup 99% fat-free skim evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
4 eggs
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons grated orange rinds
6 cups flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 stick butter melted, divided
1 cup sugar, colored (1/3 cup each of yellow, purple, and green)
1 egg, beaten
2 (3/4-inch) plastic babies or 2 beans


In a saucepan, melt 1 stick butter, milk, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt. Cool to lukewarm. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons sugar, yeast, and water. Let stand until foaming, about 5–10 minutes. Beat eggs into yeast, then add milk mixture and rinds. Stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, reserving 1 cup to flour kneading surface. Knead dough until smooth, about 5–10 minutes. Place in large mixing bowl greased with 1 tablespoon butter, turning dough once to grease top; cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

For Filling, mix sugars and cinnamon. Set aside.

For topping, tint sugar by mixing food coloring until desired color is reached. For purple, use equal amounts of blue and red. A food processor aids in mixing, and keeps the sugar from being too moist!

When dough has doubled, punch down and divide in half. On a floured surface, roll half into a 15x30-inch rectangle. Brush with half of melted butter and cut into 3 lengthwise strips. Sprinkle half of sugar mixture on strips, leaving a 1-inch lengthwise strip free for sealing. Fold each strip lengthwise toward the center, sealing the seam. You will now have 3 (30-inch) strips with sugar mixture enclosed in each. Braid the 3 strips and make a circle by joining ends. Repeat with other half of dough. Place each cake on a (10x15-inch) baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Brush each with egg and sprinkle top with colored sugars, alternating colors. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from pan immediately so sugar will not harden. While still warm, place 1 plastic baby* in each from underneath. Freezes well.

To freeze: Wrap cooled cake tightly in plastic. Before serving, remove plastic and thaw.

Nutritional Facts:

Serves: 5
Total Calories: 1,285
Calories from Fat: 368

This King Cake recipe is from the Best of the Best from the Deep South Cookbook Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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