How to Make a King Cake for Mardi Gras

Published by Deanna Yates on

It’s Fat Tuesday and I wanted to celebrate! So, I decided to follow a Mardi Gras tradition and bake us a king cake.
What is a king cake, you ask? The simple answer is that they are a Mardi Gras tradition with over hundreds of thousands eaten in New Orleans throughout the Carnival season.
Here’s a little history behind them from Wikipedia. While king cakes began as a dry French bread-type dough, they area now made in a more Danish-style with a cinnamon-filled dough in the shape of a hollow circle. Traditionally they have a glazed topping that is sprinkled with purple, green and yellow colored sugar, which have ties to Christianity and symbolize justice, faith, and power.
King cakes often have a small plastic baby (symbolizing baby Jesus) hidden into the king cake, however small beans or other trinkets are sometimes placed in the cake instead. The baby symbolizes luck and prosperity to whoever finds it in their slice of cake but comes with various privileges and obligations. The finder of the baby is often designated “king” or “queen” for the evening, but with the fun also comes the responsibility of purchasing next year’s cake or even throwing the next Mardi Gras party.
It’s a tradition that sounded fun and tasty so I thought I’d learn how to make a king cake. 
Since we’re not sharing this with friends tonight I did not include the baby or charm. I know it’s supposed to bring luck, but thanks to my one word goal for 2012, I will be making my own luck this year. Brett and I will just have to settle for both being the king and queen of our non-existent party tonight. Ha!
Sorry I didn’t take photos of the whole process, but I did capture some photos at the end. Our king cake turned out really yummy and I am happy with my first attempt at using yeast! I also left out the nuts because Brett does not like them and I forgot to get raisins at the store. Next time, maybe I can make 2 so that we’ll have at least one more traditional style king cake.
Here’s the unbaked cake after rising. It’s almost ready to eat.
How to make a king cake
And baked, but not yet frosted.
Making a king cake for Mardi Gras
Sliced and ready to eat…finally! Can’t you just smell the fresh baked cinnamon?
How to make a king cake - a Mardi Gras tradition
[yumprint-recipe id=’14’] Do you have any Mardi Gras traditions you follow? Have you ever made a king cake? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Categories: Recipes


jamier262 · February 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Happy Mardi Gras! I just moved to Louisiana and love the tradition of King Cake! I love that your word of the year led to you finding this recipe and making your own. I also made my own with the help of a box mix that I bought from Wal-Mart. My favorite part aside from eating it was making the dough and having it rise.

    Deanna · February 21, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks! Happy Mardi Gras to you too! Since you just moved there, I\’m assuming it must be your first in Louisiana. That must be a blast! Enjoy.

rosemary bread | Little Green Bow · May 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm

[…] Something has always stopped me from making bread in the past. Then earlier this year I made a King Cake and all my fears disappeared. Since then, I have really enjoyed making my own bread although it […]

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