King Cake

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A classic King Cake with a hint of nutmeg, lemon and cinnamon. 




  • 1 cup of milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ oz active dry yeast
  • ⅔ cup warm water (110ºF)
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp lemon extract
  • 5 ½ cups all purpose flour


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup butter melted


  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tbsps milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Make the Dough

  1. Over medium heat gently scald the milk, reaching a temperature of 180 degrees. Stir in the butter to melt and let cool.
  2. The bowl of a stand mixer stir together the yeast, warm water (110 degrees max!) and pinch of sugar. Let stand for 5-10 minutes until frothy. If the water is the correct temperature and the yeast isn’t bubbling, then it’s likely the yeast is dead-- so start over.
  3. Fit the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and stir milk/butter mixture, sugar, eggs, salt, nutmeg and lemon extract. Slowly incorporate all of the flour, stirring on low until there is no dry flour.
  4. Turn mixer speed up to medium and knead for 8-10 minutes. The dough is very soft and will not completely pull away from the bowl.
  5. Lightly grease a large glass bowl with olive oil and scrape the kneaded dough into the bowl. Cover with a lightly greased piece of plastic wrap and place in a warm location (75ºF to 80ºF) until it doubles in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Make the Filling

  1. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract. The consistency is similar to a cinnamon paste.
  2. Turn the dough out on a clean work surface and divide the dough into half. Set one half aside.
  3. Lightly dust the counter with flour and roll one half into a 10x16 rectangle. Spread half of the filling on evenly across the dough leaving a ½ inch border. Roll the rectangle wide side up to create a tight spiral.
  4. Shape the dough either in a simple oval or braid the dough (cut in three strips and form into a ring).
  5. Place King Cake on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper let rise in warm spot for 45-60 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 375ºF and bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Make the Frosting

  1. While the King Cake is in the oven make the frosting, by whisking the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract and salt together. The frosting should be fairly thick-- it will thin out when iced on the warm King Cake.

Finishing Touches

  1. Let King Cake cool for 5-7 minutes on the sheet pan .  If you have a plastic baby, push it down into the cake and then spread the frosting on the King cake  and sprinkle with mardi gras sprinkles.  
  2. Serve warm with coffee.