Mardi Gras King Cake

"A Mardi Gras Favorite. It is considered good luck to whoever gets the baby. :)"
photo by Bonnie G #2 photo by Bonnie G #2
photo by Bonnie G #2
photo by Oleaceae photo by Oleaceae
photo by Oleaceae photo by Oleaceae
photo by Lavender Lynn photo by Lavender Lynn
photo by Lavender Lynn photo by Lavender Lynn
Ready In:
3hrs 45mins




  • Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Combine the yeast, sugar, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the milk and with the mixer on low speed, beat the mixture for about 4 minutes to dissolve the yeast. Gradually add yolks to the yeast mixture.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Add this mixture to the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed until it lightly comes together, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forms a ball, and climbs slightly up the dough hook. Remove the dough from the bowl.
  • Coat the dough with the remaining teaspoon of vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl and turn it to oil all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set in a warm, draft-free place, and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Mix well.
  • In another small bowl, combine the remaining powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk. Mix well and set aside.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out 30 inches long and 6 inches in diameter. Spread the cream cheese filling across the center of the dough. Bring the two long edges together and seal all sides completely. Using your hands shape the dough into a long cylinder and place on a greased baking sheet, seam side down. Shape the dough into a ring.
  • Place a clean well-greased (free of all paper, etc.) 2 pound coffee can or shortening can in the center of the ring to maintain the shape during baking.
  • Press the baby (small plastic doll) into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough. Cover the ring with a towel and place in a warm, draft free place. Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.
  • With a sharp knife, make several slits around the top of the ring. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • After baking remove the coffee can immediately. Allow the cake to cool. Drizzle the cake with the sugar glaze. Sprinkle the cake with sprinkles, alternating colors. Cut the cake into individual pieces and serve.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Leahcooks
    This was fun to make and decorate with my kids. Was time consuming, but it turned out great! I loved the flavor except I would probably double the filling next time I make it. It was really yummy. I was trying to get some filling with every bite and just realized there wasn't enough for my personal taste. The icing was nice and lemony and the flavors meshed very nicely together. My cake turned out a little dry, but that was completely my fault. I left it in the oven about 4 minutes too long. So make sure you only leave it in for the allotted 30 minutes for it to turn out moist. We are still working on eating it from yesterday and no one has found the baby Jesus yet! Thanks for a fun and delicious recipe!
  2. Bonnie G #2
    Boy you would not believe the mistakes (all MINE) I made with this cake. I've been planning to make it for months while getting ready for Carnival here in Trinidad. What I did NOT know was how many subs I'd have to make due to availability. No baby- used a bean; No colored sugar- used multi-colored sprinkles; No large can-used a small one. Then add in I was being rushed by DH to "hurry" to go watch the parade and afraid I cannot even post a photo of the finished cake as you would not be happy. But, the forgiveness of this cake even with the one big error I will NOT admit to here everyone enjoyed it and proclaimed it a 5 star and my prep story was the hit of the party if a little embarrassing. I'll be making this again next year but will be much better prepared and hope to give it the attention it deserves.
  3. Stephanie S.
    DD#2 made this for her french class and they loved it. It was really easy(albeit time consuming) to make and the kids thought it tasted great. She was so pleased with how it turned out, it looked beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us.
  4. Oleaceae
    Yummy! Definitely preferred this recipe to a non-filled King Cake! It was moist and delicious and just right for our celebration. It is a BIG cake, so I would halve the recipe if making for a smaller crowd. Also, I didn't have to use a greased can in the center to get it to hold its shape--turned out beautifully without it. I'll be keeping this with my Mardi Gras decorations to reuse again next year! THANK YOU!
  5. libbydoright
    I haven't tried this, but I wanted to add to the whole baby comment made by the recipe-giver: Good luck or not, if your piece has the baby, tradition says that you buy the cake next year.


Original Zaaarite. Food lovers. Lynnda passed away in March 2020. Her recipes live on here for everyone to enjoy and Rick continues the tradition. We will forever live together through our food. Live well. Eat well.?
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