King Cake Surrounded By Beads
New Orleans Style King Cake
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Prep: 110 min
Bake: 25 min
Yield: 1 (10-inch) King Cake
King Cake, a round, brioche-like treat topped with purple, green and gold sugar, is a Mardi Gras season tradition in New Orleans. Each January they appear in stores all over the city, but they’re fun and easy to make at home, too.


  • 8 fluid ounces milk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 4 cups Swans Down® Cake Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 ounces (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, well beaten, for egg wash


  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Swans Down® Cake Flour


  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons water
  • Purple, green and gold sugar for sprinkling
  1. MAKE DOUGH: Mix milk, sugar, yolks and yeast together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with dough hook. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture. Mix on medium speed until incorporated. Add butter.
  2. Continue mixing until the butter is fully incorporated. Raise the mixer speed to high and continue to mix until the dough is smooth and elastic and pulls away from the bowl, about 5 to 10 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic. Let rest in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in volume.
  3. MAKE FILLING: Mix cinnamon, brown sugar, and cake flour together in small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to to 375℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Roll out into an 18×8-inch rectangle.
  6. Brush with egg wash and spread evenly with cinnamon sugar filling. Roll dough up like a jelly roll, starting at the long edge. Place on prepared baking sheet and bring ends together, forming a circle. Cover with plastic wrap and let proof until doubled in size, about half an hour.
  7. MAKE GLAZE: Whisk together confectioners’ sugar, almond extract, and 2 tablespoons water in medium bowl until smooth. (It should resemble the thickness of honey. Add the remaining water if it’s too thick.) Set aside.
  8. MAKE CAKE: Uncover proofed dough and brush with remaining egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Pour glaze over cooled cake and sprinkle with colored sugars.


  • Check your yeast package to make sure it’s not very old or expired. The fresher the better.
  • For the yeast, use water or milk that is ideally at 110-115°F (use a thermometer). Too cold or too hot can inactivate or even kill the yeast.
  • Eggs (or whites or yolks) should always be room temperature, never cold. If eggs are cold and straight from the fridge, soak them in warm (not hot) water.
  • Greasing the plastic wrap for the dough can be considered optional; you can also just throw a clean kitchen towel over the dough.
  • Make homemade colored sugars by mixing 1 drop food coloring into 1/2 cup sugar. Shake or rub with fingers until sugar is uniformly colored. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
  • Fillings: Add any of the following fillings in a piping bag and pipe along the long side of the dough after you sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar. Then proceed with the remaining steps. Cream cheese (mix 4 ounces room-temperature cream cheese, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth), jam or jelly, lemon curd, Nutella®, or any pie filling.
  • Marshawn says:

    Why did my dough not rise ? I did everything correctly.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Marshawn, We’re sorry to hear that you had trouble with the dough not rising. There are several factors that could cause this to happen, cold weather, out of date yeast to name a few. Your information was forwarded to our Consumer Affairs department. Someone will be reaching out to help. Happy baking.

  • Catherine Cooley says:

    Made it for our Fellowship after Mass and in honor of Fat Tuesday.The kitchen Cree cut it into bite size pieces.It was completely gone before any of the doughnuts were touched.

  • Catherine Cooley says:

    The recipe for the King Cake states for the rising on the made King Cake cover with plastic wrap.Does the wrap need to be lightly oiled to keep the dough from sticking to the plastic?

  • Laverne Tanner says:

    The Whipping Cream pound cake is the best pound cake I have ever eaten and made. My family loves this cake, I bake it every other week, if not weekly with fresh yard eggs.

  • Sherry Patterson says:

    I am so excited about baking my first Mardi Gras King Cake. All comments have been very informative….thank you.

  • Linda Hall says:

    My mother always used Swansdown, unfortunately, I need to be gluten and dairy free! Do your recipes work with gluten free flour blend?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Linda, Unfortunately we haven’t tested our recipes using a gluten free flour. We have shared with our R & D department requests for a gluten free cake flour for consideration. Thank you for inquiring. Happy baking!

  • Kathleen Swindle says:

    Love the whipping cream pound cake recipe on your box!

  • Cindy says:

    All I have is a hand mixer-no dough hook. Can I use my mixer, or do I have to mix by hand?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Cindy,
      This dough will be too dense for a standard hand mixer. You can mix the milk, sugar, yolks and yeast together with an electric mixer then incorporate the flour into the milk using a large rubber spatula. At this point you may need to begin to mix by hand. Add butter and continue to Step 2. Happy baking!

  • Lynn Soltys says:

    Can this be frozen?
    Or how long if kept refrigerated?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Lynn, Tips from the Swans Down Kitchen on refrigeration or freezing this dough:

      For the king cake you can make up to and through Step 6. At this point you can freeze it. You would then need to remove from the freezer, allow it to proof in a warm spot in the kitchen (so it will need to defrost and then proof) and then continue on with the recipe as written.
      It can be frozen for at least one month but we don’t recommend any longer for fear of freezer burn.
      Alternatively, you can make dough one day ahead and let it proof in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Let dough come to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before proceeding with recipe.

      Please come back and let us know how it turns out. Happy baking and Laissez les bons temps rouler!

  • Becky says:

    Where is the plastic baby?

  • Sue says:

    Do you have any adjustments for high altitude?

  • Eileen Slater says:

    Yeast is a live organism that needs a temperature between 105-115 degrees Fahrenheit to activate or bring it to life. Sugar is needed to “feed” the yeast along with warm water or milk. Let sit for about 5 minutes. The yeast, water and sugar should be foamy by then. Use yeast that has not expired. If you don’t have a thermometer the liquid’s temperature should be similar to the temperature for a baby’s milk formula. Turn your faucet water to hot and when it’s the hottest without burning your wrist, it should be a good temperature to activate the yeast. Salt stops the action of the rise of the yeast so it’s added with the flour.

  • Anastassia says:

    Yeast will proof with room temperature milk. It will just take longer. The longer the rise the more flavor will develop. It is a marathon, not a sprint when baking with yeast.

  • Dyann Berndt says:

    This recipe is terrible. The milk needs to be much warmer than room temp to proof the yeast. The method described here DOES NOT WORK. Don’t make this!

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Dyann, We’re so sorry that you were disappointed with the recipe. We do appreciate all consumer feedback. I’ve forwarded your information on to our Consumer Relations department. Someone will be reaching out. Happy baking!

  • Jay Connaughton says:

    Red, green and gold? Red???

    • Swans Down says:

      LOL! Hi Jay, Great catch. Ironic, Swans Down’s home base is located in New Orleans! It’s been that kind of Mardi Gras. We already have St. Patty’s day on the brain. Thanks. Happy baking!

  • Delores J. Wilson says:

    Thanks for the King Cake Recipe !

  • Rita Root says:

    love your flour and recipes. Thank you

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