Louisiana King Cake

King's Cake
Emily Carlin via Flickr
  • Total: 80 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 55 mins
  • Yield: 1 cake (16 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
384 Calories
11g Fat
69g Carbs
5g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 cake (16 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 384
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 124mg 41%
Sodium 436mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 69g 25%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 5g
Calcium 43mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This New Orleans-style King's cake is a brioche style cake that is traditionally baked with a small doll or coin baked into the dough.


  • For the Brioche:
  • 1/2 cup water (warm, about 105 to 115 F)
  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (grated)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. milk (lukewarm)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • For the Icing:
  • 3 cups sugar (confectioner's sugar)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (strained)
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons water
  • 2 candied cherries (halved)
  • For the Sugar Topping:
  • Paste food coloring: purple, green, and yellow
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Steps to Make It

Brioche Dough

  1. Combine yeast and the warm water. Combine flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in lemon peel. Make a well in center and add yeast and water mixture, along with milk.

  2. Lightly beat the 3 eggs and 4 egg yolks; add to liquid mixture.

  3. With a large wooden spoon, gradually incorporate dry ingredients into liquids in the center well.

  4. Beat in 1/2 cup of the butter and continue beating until dough forms ball. I recommend a dough hook for beating at this point.

  5. Place the ball of dough on floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, incorporating more flour as necessary, a little at a time.

  6. Butter the inside of a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Place dough in bowl and turn so the entire surface will be buttered. Cover bowl and set aside for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.

  7. Brush a large baking sheet with remaining butter.

  8. Punch dough down on lightly floured surface. Knead, then pat and shape dough into a cylinder about 14 inches long. Place on baking sheet and form into a ring.

  9. Press bean or doll well into dough so that it doesn't show.

  10. Set the dough aside again to rise for about 45 to 60 minutes.

  11. When ready to bake, beat remaining egg with 1 tbsp. milk and brush the top and sides of the ring with the egg-milk mixture.

  12. Bake the King's cake in middle of oven at 375 F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Slide cake onto wire rack to cool.


  1. Combine the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water in a deep bowl; stir until the icing smooth. If too stiff to spread, beat in 1 teaspoon water at a time, until desired consistency is reached. It should be thin enough to run slowly down the sides of the cake. Spread the icing over the top of the cake, letting it to run down the sides.

Prepare the Colored Sugars

  1. Squeeze a dab of green paste into the palm of one hand. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the paste and rub hands together to color the sugars evenly. Put colored sugar in a cup and repeat process with green, then twice with purple and yellow, putting each color in a separate cup.

  2. Sprinkle the colored sugars over the icing immediately, forming a row of purple, yellow, and green strips, each about 2 inches wide, on both sides of the ring. Arrange cherry halves evenly on top of the cake, pressing them gently into the icing.

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