Mardi Gras King Cake





Introduction: Mardi Gras King Cake

My family's favorite cake is King Cake!

A King Cake is associated with Mardi Gras (it is also linked with Epiphany and the Christmas season, according to Wikipedia). King Cakes have a small trinket (we use a small plastic golden baby or a coin) hidden beneath a slice. The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket is King or Queen of the Day!

Sometimes the person who receives the "baby" must provide the King Cake for the next gathering of the season. It is the perfect way to guarantee a series of King Cakes!

The King Cake comes in a variety of styles. This instructable will demonstrate a traditional New Orlean's King Cake.

My daughter and I usually bake a Pillsbury 'Funfetti" cake version and call it good. But it is no comparison to a traditional King Cake. The traditional recipe is a ring of twisted bread topped with royal icing and decorated in Carnival colors of purple, green, and gold. (Gold for power, green for faith and purple for justice).

General information: The King Cake was served on "Little Christmas" or "Kings' Day" for the Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated Jan. 6. Although the ritual of the King Cake can be found during the days of the Roman Empire, King Cake parties in New Orleans are recorded back to the eighteenth century. (See the sites listed below).

One web site reports that NOLA bakeries sell 4,000-5,000 king cakes each day during the Carnival season, and cakes are shipped all over the world!

More Information:


Step 1: Gather Tools and Ingredients:

As I said, there are many different ways to make a King Cake. For this instructable, I used Mam Papaul's Mardi Gras King Cake Mix (cost about $6.00). It has nearly everything you will need to make a nice King Cake. I am loosely following the directions on the box. (I have two little helpers, making any baking event truly unique!)

In addition to the box of Mam Papaul's Mardi Gras King Cake Mix (available on the internet) you will need:

1 cup hot water
1 egg
1 stick of butter
Extra Flour

Measuring Spoons
Measuring Cup
Baking Sheet
Rolling Pin
Wood Spoon
Mixing Bowls
Blender (not necessary)

Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients

Open the box, and mix together the cake mix and the yeast.

Step 3: Add Water, Butter and Egg

Add 1 Cup of warm water and .5 cup of butter. (The butter will melt from the warm water and kneading, but I premelted my butter on the stove). Mix well. Add the egg. Knead the dough for 3.5 minutes.

Step 4: Rise and Roll

Set bowl of dough in a wam place for about 30 minutes. After the dough has doubled in size, place it on a floured surface and roll out the dough into a 5" x 30" rectangle.

Step 5: Add Brown Sugar-Pralines

Mix 2 tablespoons of melted butter with the brown sugar-praline mix (you can add your own ingredients here, such as nuts or figs), and spread evenly over the rectangle. From the long side, roll the dough and pinch the edges to seal.

Step 6: May the Circle Never Be Broken

Place dough on a baking sheet and shape into an oval. Let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Step 7: Bake

Bake cake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. Let cool.

Step 8: Royal Icing

Make the royal icing by adding 1 tablespoon of water to the white glaze mix. (I added too much water and the icing is a tad runny).

Step 9: Decorate!

Spread icing on cake. Sprinkle the colored sugar crystals on the icing. Remember, the traditional colors of Carnival are purple, green, and gold. Gold for power, green for faith and purple for justice. I tried to represent each color evenly, but others may have different opinions.

Step 10: Hide the Baby!

Hide the golden baby under the cake. (Warning! Do not put it in the cake, as someone might swallow it!)

Note: Some say the baby represents the baby Jesus.

Step 11: King or Queen of the Day!

Serve and eat the cake! Whomever gets the slice that has the golden baby under it is the King or Queen!

My kids anxiously await cake eating time, and I let them choose where their piece will come from! King Cakes are a great event in our home!

(As of tonight, the golden baby has not been found, and only about 3 slices remain!).

Last year, we held a King Cake party, and the person who received the golden baby was responsible for the next party.

Serving Size: 98g
Calories: 360
Total Fat: 12g
Total Carbs 55g
Protein 7g



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    The 2011 King Cake. Made from scratch and is gluten free!
    Thought to share. -r


    I was in hopes that this was a King Cake made from scratch. Do you have a recipe from scratch?

    2 replies

    I must admit, I too was looking for a recipe, not a reference to a boxed mix (which may be perfect actually so maybe you might give that a whirls) I googled the subjuct and found many recipes


    from various comments I are not be sure what one really is except there is a "baby" hidden in it or under a slice or you put a wedge or orange or a nut (assuming all are nut tolerant) in it .

    temarra is shrove tuesday Break out the wine and Justing Wilson reruns on PBS!!!!!

    have a great holiday

    I do as a matter of fact. I will find some time to add it. This was a fun project to do with my daughter.

    This recipe sounds awesomely delicious, but it's hard to duplicate a real traditional king cake! the traditional ones from gambino's and other bakeries around here have LOTS of cinnamon. Luckily i live in new orleans and can get the freshly made ones! Happy mardi gras!

    Where do you get your little plastic baby? I used to have king cake every Mardi Gras growing up in Mobile, but I haven't found anywhere to get them in Chicago.

    2 replies

    Before there were little plastic babies we used beans. Red beans are still the tradition at our house.

    This year' s pictures! (My wife and daughter made a King Cake on Mardi Gras!) Thought to share.

    king cake 017.jpgking cake 019.jpg

    Thanks! I love king cake, and come from a Cajun family! My grand pa called the blue bell company to get said king cake ice cream delivered to him. He has a freezer FULL of that ice cream, I mean like 50 gallons! So now he can have it year round. He is very proud of himself for that.

    2 replies

    You are welcome! Thanks for checking it out. (This year I posted a Beignet instructable!) Happy Mardi Gras!

    I love Beignet's! We always get them at Cafe Du Monde when we visit the french (which is not often. :( ). I will be sure to check that one out as well.

    Forgot to say...My family tells me that the trinket means that not only does it make you king/queen, but it also means you have to buy the next king cake. lol. Maybe that is their way of spending less money themselves. Haha.

    1 reply

    That's the way it works! Thanks for looking.

    coolio,I would definately like this

    Got my vote because i need to represent NOLA! Looks like a good recipe now i can eat it year round Have you tried Blue Bells King Cake ice cream?

    3 replies

    ...there's king cake ice cream? How's that work? I'm intrigued.

    The ice cream has a cinnamon cake taste with little cinnamon cake bites, icing swirls, and purple green and gold sprinkles. I tried finding a picture of it but i couldn't. It is always in stores around Mardi Gras but i dont know if it is just a special blue bell does for NoLa.

    I may have to keep an eye out for that next year. Neat! (Or I may have to try making some myself, next time I get my hands on an ice-cream maker...)

    What a fun idea to do with kids AND adult gatherings! Thanks!