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Traditional King Cake

King CakeI had the best time learning how to make traditional king cakes with my very special son at his cooking class. I’ve not had the chance to see him in action since he began this course last August.  Talk about impressive!  From the cooking lab to the teachers, they are top-notch.

Miah was a great teacher, and I was there to learn all I could.  Amazingly enough, I actually did learn a thing or two.  For example, did you know that you must wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after you put on your apron and before you start cooking? He also taught me to use a scoop to put flour into the measuring cup because scooping with the measuring cup compacts the flour, which can make the dough too dry. He taught me how to crack an egg with a knife and to crack each one into a separate bowl just in case there are baby chicken parts in the egg.  (I have to admit, even though I’ve had home-grown eggs, I’ve not encountered that yet, but the teacher said they have.)

Enough bragging about Miah and on to the recipe.  Because the class only meets for two hours, we split the work into two days.  That allowed the dough to do a “cool rise” in the refrigerator overnight.  You will most likely do a warm rise, as the recipe instructs.

Traditional King Cake

The traditional Mardi Gras treat! (Delicious any time)

  • 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (divided)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (divided)
  • 1 1/2 tsp . salt
  • 2 oz envelopes/packets rapid-rise yeast (1/4 .)
  • 3/4 butter (divided)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp . ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp . milk
  • Colored sugars (green, purple, yellow)
  1. Combine 1/1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, and yeast in large bowl.
  2. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add 3/4 milk and 1/2 cup water, and heat until hot (120 to 130 degrees). Add milk mixture to flour mixture and beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes. Add eggs, beating well. Mix in remaining 3 1/4 cups flour. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). (Or if you use a stand mixer, use a dough hook and knead until dough pulls completely away from sides and bottom of bowl.)
  3. Place dough in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  4. Stir together remaining 3/4 cup sugar and cinnamon
  5. Preheat oven to 375. Punch dough down and let dough rise 6 minutes. Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 28 x 4-inch rectangle. Melt remaining 3/4 cup butter and brush down the center of each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch margin around the edges. Sprinkle the butter with 3/4 sugar mixture.
  6. Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting on the long side, pinch edges together at top to seal. Pinch 3 ropes together at one end to seal and then braid. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85), free from drafts, for 15 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  7. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Combine powdered sugar and 3 Tbsp. milk in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over cake and sprinkle with colored sugars.


King Cake 

King Cake


King Cake


King Cake


King Cake


King Cake

Traditionally, a tiny plastic baby is inserted somewhere in the cake before baking.  The person who gets the piece of cake with the baby has to provide the king cake for the next Mardi Gras gathering.  The babies are no longer baked into the cakes, and I invite you to read more about that here.

This is a wonderful version of the traditional king cake.  No fancy fillings.  Just cinnamon-y goodness. This goes wonderful as a dessert or fantastic as a coffee cake.  

Miah was so proud to be able to teach me how to make king cakes, and I was equally as proud to learn from him and see him working alongside his classmates, not only cooking, but cleaning up, doing dishes, and sweeping in preparation for the next group.

As a welcome to the new look, how about a gift?  All comment authors will be entered in a random drawing to receive a package of King Cake flavored coffee from PJ’s Coffee, a Louisiana company. Get your comments in by Saturday!

Now, get cracking and let us know how you and yours enjoyed this traditional recipe or pin it to save for later. 



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  1. I’ll take a slice!! It really is great you were able to attend his class and have him show you how to make one. I always love cooking with the kids/grandkids.

    1. You now, Cammy, he helps me at times in the kitchen, but this was his domain, and it was great seeing him in his setting working with his teachers and classmates. Oh, and the cake is so good!

  2. The best thread in a long time. Congrats to the pastry chef or would he be a baker. Either way that is impressive!

    Miah a chef, and you know it made his day you coming and watching and listening, as any child would. What a great day to be a Mom.

    Is the school by chance at Nichols?

    1. While all the king cake baking was going on, another student was baking heart sugar cookies, which they all decorated on Friday. Most of the king cakes were given away to other departments in the school as thank-you gifts from his class. Of course, each student got to bring home one cake. I don’t know if they’re baking any more this week, but they sure turned out a bunch of king cakes over the past two weeks! No, this wasn’t at Nicholls. It was at vo-tech, connected to the public school system. What a great program. Also at the school is small engine repair, cosmetology, welding, and more.

  3. That is one proud looking young man, As he should be.If I baked a king cake that looked that good I would be pleased to. And I know you are one proud Mama. I love his smile.

  4. Wonderful photos of a wonderful experience. Miah’s got every right to be proud, as do you. I just can’t believe we’re in Mardi Gras season already. Good grief. I feel as though it out to be mid-January, still.

    I’m glad to have received an email notification of the post, too. Looks like that system’s up and running. Now I just have to figure out if I’m supposed to use a numeral or a word to answer the captcha question. I’m no fool – I’ll copy this comment just in case I guess wrong the first time. 😉

  5. The traditional (Cinnamon) King Cake is my favorite! I’ll take any leftovers! However,I saw a “Turtle” King cake at the store last week that left me drooling…all that chocolate and pecans on the top. Oh poop,my glucose levels just went up 100 points writing about it!
    How long is his course? I’m delighted to know that he is enjoying himself AND learning a skill at the same time.

  6. Steffi, I also prefer the traditional . . . but just like our society, the bakeries have gone bigger but not necessarily better in my opinion with all the Bavarian cream and fruit fillings. We had a couple pieces of stale cake left over, so I sliced them about one-inch think and heated them in a skillet with butter on each side. Now THAT was good! Sort of like French toast with king cake but no egg batter! (Reminded me of the honey buns I used to cook in butter when I was a teen. Yeah, gooey goodness that I can’t afford to eat these days! Oh to have the metabolism of a teen again!)

  7. I love reading all of your blog entries but especially the ones about Miah since my grandson has Down Syndrome. Miah is blessed to have you as his mom & you are blessed to have Miah. He is a talented budding Chef. Good luck to you Miah, may your find success in your cooking career.

    1. Hi again Donnakay! Welcome back! How old is your grandson? My son is truly a blessing, and he doesn’t even complain that he is challenged. Sometimes I’m ashamed of the things I grip about, when he has every reason to but never does. Thank you for being here and for taking time to read my stories! BW

  8. We enjoyed having you and enjoy having Jeremiah in out class. He is such a pleasure to have. King cakes will be finishing up at school this week. Never a dull moment, still cooking and learning!

    1. Catina! Welcome to the blog! Thanks so much for teaching my son so well and for taking such good care of him! I really learned a lot and had such an enjoyable time in the kitchen with you.

  9. I like the traditional but I was spoiled while living in Lafayette when a friend introduced me to a local donut shop that made “King Cakes”. OMG they were good. At the time I was doing several presentations a month so I always brought 2 or 3 of these with me and they were always a hit. Funny my favorite was what BW mentioned the Bavarian cream with strawberry. I love Bavarian cream probably because I have never been able to master cooking with gelatin. Anyway these donut shops were spreading all over the southwest Louisiana.

    I usually made my own king cakes (I even made the donut ones), I like to cook and baking is a stress reliever. Imagine my surprise when two weeks ago, the Morning Advocate ran a story about “the” donut shop being sold and the daughter’s family opening up in Baton Rouge and Prairieville. I called the verify. Oh yeah!

    King cake party Saturday morning here! LOL. I really hope they are as good as I remember, ‘course I know that when you are building up that expectation it will never live up to it but……. They better be good, cause they are nowhere near the price they were 15 years ago!

    King Cake, Community Coffee, and liqueurs Saturday morning! I may just skip supper Friday night to be ready! Probably miss lunch and maybe supper too! I’ll have to chop wood for a week to get over all that lard!

    I know we all have different tastes, if you have not tried one of the donut cakes you really should. Like I said I always made my own, but these folks make good ones if you can stand that much delicious lard at one time. LOL

    Hmmmmmm…….. I wonder who won the King Cake cook-off that the article was about down in ‘Nawlins?

    1. Not sure who won the king cake cook-off in New Orleans! I do love your stories, and you must realize I do like Bavarian cream, but I would probably eat myself sick if I purchased said king cakes! And I’ll try anything once and noticed our local doughnut shop had a king cake sign out front. So, go ahead and tell us the name of the doughnut shop so that Steffi (who lives in Prairieville) and others can go grab some of that deliciousness!

      1. Well in Lafayette and southwest Louisiana it is Meche’s but the daughter who now have three stores, 2 in Baton Rouge and one in Prairieville is named “Thee Heavenly Donut”.

        Like I said I have not had one in ages, but if you want one, I suggest you look online at their site, and pick what you want, and order it the day before or…. you’ll get what is left when you walk in.

        When you put the box in the car, you automatically gain 5 lbs. (That’s why my Baby Sis is picking mine up, I didn’t tell her).

        Once I had one, it almost ruins the traditional. I said almost.

        1. I found this; “The money raised goes to its neo-natal and pediatric wings, and the voters spoke — the winner of the people’s choice award goes to Haydel’s, Randazzo’s coming in a close second.”

          Both and Gambino’s are all three local favorites and ship. I know cause every year I lived away from Louisiana my Mom and Sis put together a Mardi Gras care package and shipped to me. Every year, they lubbed me! The cakes were good, but they always came with 8 or 10 pounds of community dark roast. LOL

  10. doing what you love and showing it to others. The world would be a better place. I somehow think it is a blessing I am diabetic so I don’t dive into such things everyday. You got great kids. (I don’t just toss that out there either.)

    Suffering from this weeks treatment. This week its attacking nose and eyes with burning watery stuff. Thaw underway and severe thunderstorms forecast before we dive back into freezer. Working on blufloyd tee shirts I’ll send you a stack to give away. Army veterans are making them to stay off street. If you want some BW shirts these guys are inexpensive .

    1. Oh, you touched my heart, Blu! And t-shirts, too?
      Can’t wait to see the official Blufloyd t-shirt!
      Sorry you’re having bad reactions to treatment. Not much you can do about it . . . but we haven’t forgotten you. I was looking for your email the other day . . . it must be in my old account . . . was wondering how you were making it because hadn’t heard from you in a while. Glad you’re still here, Blu. 🙂

  11. Two comments… Blu you are still in my prayers. I hope you’re feeling better soon. How many “rounds” do you have left?
    We had lunch today at some friends home. For dessert, she had a Zulu King Cake. I’d never had this before. It might just be my favorite…now!

      1. Chocolate is a good start. If you recall they throw cocoanuts. Hence the name. It’s Chocolate filling w/choc and cocoanut on the top. I haven’t seen this kind around here (but I really haven’t looked). She had purchased it at Carter’s Supermarket in Walker, La. They had stopped there on the way back from visiting with us at our camp in Ms. We’re headed in that direction soon. I may get Hubby to pull in if the parking lot isn’t too full. We’re pulling a trailer with us today, (hauling a washer and dryer) so…IF it’s not too full!

    1. At the risk of making people cry, they promised not to dig me up to continue treatment, otherwise it is every 2 weeks till breathing stops and brain goes quiet. I’d say no end in sight right now.

      Now cheer up and prayer for a spring of flowers and no tornadoes and bream in the bucket.

  12. 12 NOON: Comments are now CLOSED and it’s time for the drawing for the package of King Cake flavored PJ’s coffee. Winner will be announced in a separate post. Your chances are 1 in 9. Good luck, everyone!