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Southern Living Magazine's King Cake

Rated as 4.8 out of 5 Stars

"This highly recommended recipe originally appeared in Southern Living in January 1990. 12-years later, it is still a fitting end to any traditional Mardi Gras celebration."
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Original recipe yields 28 servings (2 cakes)


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  1. COOK first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Cool mixture to 100 degrees to 110 degrees.
  2. DISSOLVE yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  3. TURN dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
  4. STIR together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
  5. PUNCH dough down; divide in half. Turn 1 portion out onto a lightly floured surface; roll to a 28- x 10-inch rectangle. Spread half each of cinnamon mixture and softened butter on dough. Roll dough, jellyroll fashion, starting at long side. Place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough, cinnamon mixture, and butter.
  6. COVER and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  7. BAKE at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden. Decorate with bands of Colored Frostings, and sprinkle with Colored Sugars.
  8. COLORED FROSTINGS: Stir together powdered sugar and melted butter. Add milk to reach desired consistency for drizzling; stir in vanilla. Divide frosting into 3 batches, tinting 1 green, 1 yellow, and combining red and blue food coloring for purple frosting.
  9. COLORED SUGARS: Place 1/2 cup sugar and drop of green food coloring in a jar or zip-top plastic bag; seal. Shake vigorously to evenly mix color with sugar. Repeat procedure with 1/2 cup sugar and yellow food coloring. For purple, combine 1 drop red and 1 drop blue food coloring before adding to remaining 1/2 cup sugar.


  • Reprinted with permission of Southern Living® magazine. All rights reserved.


Read all reviews 41
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The BEST KING CAKE! This was the best K.C. I've made.(teens agreed!) I make one every year. Best if eaten in 2 days. I paid special attention to the room temp. and the temp. of 1st four ingr...

This is the best & easiest king cake I've ever made. Even better than the ones shipped in from Louisiana! I tried Emeril's recipe last year and this recipie was better! Highly recommended!

having lived in louisiana for 13 years, i was excited to finally make my own since i live in cincy and haven't found any i really like here. at first, i wasn't sure if i did a good job, but the ...

This recipe produces a king cake that compares very favorably with the many bakery versions I tasted while living in New Orleans. The icing/decorating instructions, however, are far fussier tha...

I twist both of the cakes together to make a larger one and bake for 25-30 minutes. To decorate I make 2/3 of the frosting (still a lot!) leave it uncolored and use store bought sugars because ...

People. This is good king cake. This recipe is a WINNER. As a antive Louisianian, I've eaten king cake all my life, and like the others here have said, this recipe is top-notch. This is as g...

I made this in mass for a party and everyone there loved it! I WILL be making this again...and not just during Mardi Gras.

This turned out suprisingly well, considering I'd never baked with yeast before. For a filling, I used cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar - very good!! Next time I'll use cream cheese fros...

This was very good. FOllowed recipe exept for frosting. I not color it and I did have to add quite a bit more milk to get a good consistency to drizzle on cake...also I bought colored sugar to ...