Vegan King Cake for Mardi Gras Recipe

New Orleans Mardi Gras King Cake with Baby Doll
Envision / Getty Images
  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings

A Mardi Gras tradition, the king cake is served on Fat Tuesday as part of the feast, and a figurine of a baby or, alternatively, a dried bean is hidden within the cake. The person who receives this slice is, according to tradition, to have good luck throughout the coming year.

Most King Cake recipes contain a lot of butter and eggs, but this version uses coconut milk and dairy-free soy margarine, so everyone has a chance at good fortune!

This recipe does take several steps, so feel free to prepare the filling and "sprinkles" a day in advance to ease party preparations.


  • For the Cake:
  • 1 package dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup water (warm)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (organic)
  • 6 tablespoons soy margarine (cut into pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons egg replacer powder (mixed with 1/4 cup hot water)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (not “lite” variety, plus more for brushing)
  • For the Filling:
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup margarine (soy, softened)
  • 1/2 cup pecans (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the Sprinkles:
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (unrefined cane, divided)
  • 4 drops yellow food coloring (as needed for desired color)
  • 4 drops green food coloring (as needed for desired color)
  • 4 drops purple food coloring (as needed for desired color)
  • For the Icing:
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons water (warm)

Steps to Make It

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and maple syrup, mixing gently until the yeast dissolves and bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Set aside until frothy, about 5 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, nutmeg, and sugar. Add the soy margarine and process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

  3. Add this mixture to the yeast, along with the egg replacer mixture and coconut milk. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until soft dough forms.

  4. Place in an oiled bowl, covered, for 1 hour, or until the dough is doubled in size.

  5. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, soy margarine, chopped pecans and cinnamon until combined.

  6. Make the Sprinkles. In three small bowls, mix about 1/2 cup of sugar in each with just a few drops of desired food coloring. Mix well until the desired color is achieved. Set aside.

  7. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a large baking sheet or round pizza pan.

  8. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle about 1/8” thick.

  9. Using a floured bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise. Cut each of the strips into triangles, each about 3 inches at their base. (Think of a zipper or zigzag pattern when you cut, alternating the tops of triangles with the bases.)

  10. With the tips of the triangles pointed inward, place the triangles in a circle on the prepared sheet, overlapping one over the other and pressing the edges to seal.

  11. Place an even amount of the filling on the centers of the triangles, and place the baby or dried bean somewhere on the filling.

  12. Fold the outsides of the triangles over the filling, so that the reach just over the filling. Fold the tips over, pressing slightly to adhere the tips to the outside of the ring.

  13. Cover the ring lightly with a paper towel or clean dish towel, and let rise for 20 minutes more.

  14. Brush the cake lightly with coconut milk or soy milk.

  15. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

  16. Allow cake to cool completely on a wire cooling rack, and then transfer the cake to a serving platter large enough to catch excess icing.

  17. Prepare the Icing. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the confectioner's sugar and salt.

  18. Add the warm water and, stirring vigorously, stir until the mixture is a very thick glaze.

  19. Ladle the mixture over the cake in several additions, letting the icing run down the sides.

  20. While the icing is still slightly warm, sprinkle the prepared sprinkles over the cake, alternating sections of purple, green and yellow. Allow the icing to harden completely before serving.

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