Food & Drink

How to Make the Perfect King Cake for Mardi Gras

Have a sweet tooth? Giving up sugar for Lent? Hosting a Mardi Gras party? Do we have the dessert for you. Mardi Gras normally brings up images of dancing in the street, beads and celebration. In New Orleans this last night before Lent also includes the sweet King Cake.

Traditionally, the cake was made to represent the three wise kings with a tiny baby Jesus placed at the center of the cake. The decadence and flavor of this cake will definitely set you up right for Lent.

The cake recipe creates a risen yeast dough, filled with a sweet pecan, brown sugar and raisin mixture. It's topped off with the bright sugar sprinkles.

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 packets of dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Scald the milk in a saucepan, remove from the heat and add in the butter. Let it cool.
  2. Meanwhile dissolve the yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of white sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Add in the cooled milk mixture and the eggs. Stir in the sugar, salt and nutmeg.
  4. Beat in the flour and knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
  5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Let it rise for about 2 hours until doubled.
  6. Punch down the dough and split it in half. Roll each dough half out into a large rectangle.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and then start to make the filling.

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  1. Mix together the first five ingredients. Pour the melted butter over the top and mix until crumbly.
  2. Sprinkle the filling evenly over each pastry rectangle. Roll each cake up starting on the long side into a tidy jellyroll.
  3. Bring the ends together to form two rings. Snip the outer 1/3 of each cake with kitchen scissors every inch or so to create a pattern.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes on a cookie sheet tray. Let cool.
  5. Pour over the glaze made from 1 cup of confectioners sugar and 1 tablespoon of water.
  6. Sprinkle the traditional purple, yellow and green sugar sprinkles over the glaze and you're ready to eat.

AllRecipes made a vivid video so you can make the perfect Mardi Gras dessert:

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How to Make the Perfect King Cake for Mardi Gras