Buttermilk King Cake with Cream Cheese Filling


This king cake with cream cheese filling is hands down, the best I've ever eaten. It's a combination of several recipes and not too sweet, not too bready, with a rich, tender crumb and the traditional lemon/nutmeg flavors of a genuine NOLA king cake. Great with coffee, and best eaten the same day but pretty darn good the day after (if there are leftovers!). Enjoy, y'all!

Prep Time:
35 mins
Cook Time:
40 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 15 mins
1 king cake


Sweet dough:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (Optional)

  • ½ cup white sugar

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package rapid rise yeast

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt

  • 3 eggs at room temperature

  • 6 tablespoons butter

  • ¾ cup Bulgarian-style buttermilk

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour (Optional)

Cream cheese filling:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese at room temperature

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (Optional)

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Egg wash:

  • 1 egg

  • ¼ cup water


  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 4 teaspoons corn syrup

  • 4 teaspoons milk

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or as needed


  1. Mix 4 cups of flour, white sugar, yeast, and salt together in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

  2. Whisk 3 eggs in a separate bowl. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat and whisk buttermilk into melted butter; heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 120 degrees F (49 degrees C). Whisk buttermilk mixture into beaten eggs and cool the mixture to 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).

  3. Beat egg mixture into flour mixture on medium-low speed to make a firm, elastic dough, about 10 minutes. If dough doesn't separate from the sides of the mixing bowl during kneading, beat in 1/4 cup more flour.

  4. Turn dough out onto a work surface and knead for 1 minute; form into a ball and place into a buttered bowl, turning dough around to lightly coat with butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter the outer edge of an 8-inch cake pan.

  6. Stir cream cheese, 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and nutmeg in a bowl until filling is smooth.

  7. Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Roll dough into a 10x28-inch rectangle. Spread cream cheese filling over the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border along each edge. Lift an edge of the parchment paper sheet to roll dough into a log shape, starting at a 28-inch edge. Pinch seams closed to seal in filling, keeping roll on the parchment paper.

  8. Wrap the filled dough around the outside of the buttered 8-inch cake pan to form the dough into a ring; pinch the edges closed. Use parchment paper to lift the cake and cake pan and slide a baking sheet beneath the parchment. Gently free cake pan, leaving the ring-shaped cake. Whisk 1 egg with water in a small bowl; brush cake with egg wash.

  9. Bake king cake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cake cool.

  10. Stir 1 cup confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, and milk in a bowl; mix in 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or amount needed to thin icing to a thick but slightly runny texture. Drizzle king cake with icing.


Other optional ingredients include purple, green, and gold decorating sugar and 1 king cake baby, dried bean, or other tiny food-safe trinket. If desired, insert king cake baby into cake from underneath, and dust iced cake with colored sugars.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

436 Calories
15g Fat
68g Carbs
9g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 436
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 8g 42%
Cholesterol 98mg 33%
Sodium 381mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 68g 25%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 31g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 52mg 4%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 135mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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