Southern Living Magazine's King Cake Recipe -
Southern Living Magazine's King Cake Recipe

Southern Living Magazine's King Cake

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"This highly recommended recipe originally appeared in Southern Living in January 1990. 12-years later, it is still a fitting end to any traditional Mardi Gras celebration."

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Original recipe makes 2 cakes Change Servings


  1. COOK first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Cool mixture to 100 degrees to 110 degrees.
  2. DISSOLVE yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  3. TURN dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
  4. STIR together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
  5. PUNCH dough down; divide in half. Turn 1 portion out onto a lightly floured surface; roll to a 28- x 10-inch rectangle. Spread half each of cinnamon mixture and softened butter on dough. Roll dough, jellyroll fashion, starting at long side. Place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough, cinnamon mixture, and butter.
  6. COVER and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  7. BAKE at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden. Decorate with bands of Colored Frostings, and sprinkle with Colored Sugars.
  8. COLORED FROSTINGS: Stir together powdered sugar and melted butter. Add milk to reach desired consistency for drizzling; stir in vanilla. Divide frosting into 3 batches, tinting 1 green, 1 yellow, and combining red and blue food coloring for purple frosting.
  9. COLORED SUGARS: Place 1/2 cup sugar and drop of green food coloring in a jar or zip-top plastic bag; seal. Shake vigorously to evenly mix color with sugar. Repeat procedure with 1/2 cup sugar and yellow food coloring. For purple, combine 1 drop red and 1 drop blue food coloring before adding to remaining 1/2 cup sugar.
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  • Reprinted with permission of Southern Living® magazine. All rights reserved.

Reviews More Reviews

Feb 11, 2004

The BEST KING CAKE! This was the best K.C. I've made.(teens agreed!) I make one every year. Best if eaten in 2 days. I paid special attention to the room temp. and the temp. of 1st four ingredients matched the water temp. on the yeast package (115-120 deg), not the recipe temp. Filling: Substitute half of the gran. sugar with lt. brown sugar and I added pecans. Can be sub. fruit filling. Also, I filled it differently. I rolled it out as suggested, and put filling across the center covering 50% of the dough then I folded the sides to the center and lightly pressed ends together and twisted the dough in the traditional method. To twist: grab the short edge(end) of the dough and turn(wind) about 3 times then wind the other end abt. 3 times in the reverse direction. Lift the dough near the center and lightly shake to move the twisted rings into position, trying to keep the center filling seam on the inside of twist. Bake on a pizza pan. Also, I use a butter cream or cream cheese frosting. Suggested frosting is very sweet and on top of that, you are pouring on sugar! Woo! I never cook the cake with the baby in it. I push it into the bottom of the cooked cake. Half recipe to make just one cake.

Aug 13, 2003

This is the best & easiest king cake I've ever made. Even better than the ones shipped in from Louisiana! I tried Emeril's recipe last year and this recipie was better! Highly recommended!

Feb 13, 2005

having lived in louisiana for 13 years, i was excited to finally make my own since i live in cincy and haven't found any i really like here. at first, i wasn't sure if i did a good job, but the more i ate it, the more delicious i realized it was. i made a few mistakes as a rookie - i took the advice of folding it together, then twisting it instead of jelly-rolling it and i didn't do it tight enough. so some parts were too fat and where it came together, too skinny. but otherwise, it looked authntic. i also split the sugar b/w white and brown and added some pecans as suggested. yummy. i will try the cream cheese filling next time. i also bought the icing but colored my own sugar. it was so easy, i just couldn't justify the expense of buying the colors premade. now if i can just figure out how to fill it with bavarian cream - my favorite king cake filling ever.

Jan 20, 2004

This recipe produces a king cake that compares very favorably with the many bakery versions I tasted while living in New Orleans. The icing/decorating instructions, however, are far fussier than what they do in the Big Easy. Usually, they put a thin layer of white icing just on the top, then sprinkle it with a little bit of colored sugar. I did this and ended up using less than half of the suggested icing and maybe 2 tsp. of each colored sugar.

Jan 20, 2009

I twist both of the cakes together to make a larger one and bake for 25-30 minutes. To decorate I make 2/3 of the frosting (still a lot!) leave it uncolored and use store bought sugars because they are brighter than my homemade attempts.

Feb 13, 2006

People. This is good king cake. This recipe is a WINNER. As a antive Louisianian, I've eaten king cake all my life, and like the others here have said, this recipe is top-notch. This is as good, if not better than anything you can buy down here, or for that matter, anywhere. And it's also fun to make. Most certainly a 5 star recipe.

Jul 22, 2003

I made this in mass for a party and everyone there loved it! I WILL be making this again...and not just during Mardi Gras.

Apr 13, 2003

This turned out suprisingly well, considering I'd never baked with yeast before. For a filling, I used cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar - very good!! Next time I'll use cream cheese frosting too.


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