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New Orleans Style King Cake

Prep Time:

110 mins.

Cook Time:

25 mins.


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.