The Best Cream Cheese King Cake


This cream cheese king cake is easy to make for celebrating Mardi Gras. If you're looking for a new king cake recipe, you must try this one. Don't forget to put the baby in!

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
3 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 15 mins
2 king cakes



  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream

  • cup white sugar

  • ¼ cup butter

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)

  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast

  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 6 ¾ cups bread flour, divided

Praline-Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

  • ½ cup white sugar

  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted, divided

Creamy Vanilla Glaze:

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 3 tablespoons whole milk, or more as needed

  • purple, green, and gold/yellow sparkling sugars


  1. Combine sour cream, 1/3 cup sugar, butter, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until butter melts, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let mixture cool to 100 to 110 degrees F, about 15 minutes.

  2. Stir together water, yeast, and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand for 5 minutes.

  3. Combine sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups of the flour in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; gradually add 4 more cups of flour, beating until dough comes together.

  4. Turn dough out onto a surface dusted with 1/4 cup of the flour. Knead, gradually adding remaining 1/2 cup flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Dough should be tacky but release easily from surface.

  5. Place dough in a well greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  6. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Beat cream cheese, sugars, cinnamon, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in egg.

  7. Gently punch dough down; divide in half. Roll 1 portion out into a 22x12-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Keep the other portion covered. Spread 1/2 of the filling over rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecans. Carefully roll up, starting from a long edge.

  8. Place roll, seam-side down, on a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form a ring. Moisten ends with water; pinch together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough, filling, and pecans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Uncover dough rings.

  10. Bake in the preheated oven until cakes are a deep golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes completely on wire racks, about 1 1/2 hours.

  11. Stir confectioners' sugar, melted butter, and vanilla extract together to make the glaze. Stir in 3 tablespoons milk. Add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until pourable but still opaque. Pour evenly over cakes. Sprinkle with sparkling sugars, alternating colors to form bands.

    close up view of a King Cake garnished with gold, green and purple sprinkles, on a platter
    Smart Cookie

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

485 Calories
22g Fat
63g Carbs
9g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 20
Calories 485
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22g 29%
Saturated Fat 11g 56%
Cholesterol 73mg 24%
Sodium 236mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 63g 23%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 31g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 65mg 5%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 156mg 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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