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Easy Homemade Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe

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I’m so excited to share this Easy Recipe for a Traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras favorite – the King Cake! The King Cake is a feature of Mardi Gras parties and is one of my favorite Mardi Gras recipes! Keep reading for my King Cake recipe that is homemade, filled a with cream cheese filling, and easier than you think!

Traditional Mardi Gras King Cake Easy Recipe with Cream Cheese by Pineapple Paper Co.

This post and the photos within it may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one or more of the links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Mardi Gras is coming up! I think that until then, it’s totally acceptable to wear plastic beads to work, and drink Hurricanes at lunch (pretty please!) With my easy Mardi Gras King Cake recipe, you’ll have a New Orleans Mardi Gras favorite to take to Mardi Gras parties or just eat for breakfast!

What is a King Cake?

Imagine an extra large cinnamon roll topped with icing and sprinkles, and that’s pretty much King Cake. It’s a sweet dough made with yeast and inside is sugar, cinnamon and pecans all rolled up and topped with a simple powdered sugar glaze.

I love the addition of a little bit of cream cheese–there’s really no cream cheese flavor, it bakes in and just adds a dose of richness to the filling!

Homemade King Cake Recipe for Mardi Gras

This recipe makes 4 smaller cakes, which is perfect for wrapping and sharing with a friend!

Traditional Mardi Gras King Cake Easy Recipe with Cream Cheese by Pineapple Paper Co.

Looking for more Mardi Gras Party Inspiration? I think you’ll like these posts:

Free Mardi Gras Printable Sign – Let the Good Times Roll

Mardi Gras Milk Punch Recipe Ideas

King Cake Cupcake Recipe

Mardi Gras Printable Cupcake Toppers

Best Places to Get Mail Order King Cakes

Mardi Gras Recipe Ideas

Mardi Gras King Cake

Our version of a King Cake, a New Orleans specialty for celebrating Mardi Gras. Don't forget about the plastic baby!
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Servings: 4 king cakes


Ingredients for Dough

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 pkgs (.25oz) active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 5 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Filling

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened

Ingredients for Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp water (more, if needed for desired consistency)


  • To make the dough: warm milk on the stove until just before it simmers (scald the milk) and stir in the butter. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Dissolve yeast in a large bowl with the warm water and 1 tbsp of the sugar. Let the yeast mixture set until it foams up, 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the cooled milk to the yeast mixture and the whisk in the eggs. Add the butter, the rest of the sugar, salt, and nutmeg until stir until combined. Add the flour into the wet ingredients 1 cup at a time until it comes together. At this point, use a stand mixer with the dough attachment to knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and is elastic (you may need to add a little more flour to the mixer bowl to keep it from sticking). You can also knead the dough by hand on a floured surface for about 10 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, add a small amount of oil to coat the bowl and then put your dough in, turning to coat both sides of the dough with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place until twice the size, about 2 hours.
  • When fully risen, take out the dough (it will rapidly deflate) and divide into 4 pieces.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.
  • To make the Filling: In one bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, flour, and butter. In another bowl, add the cream cheese and mix with a small spatula or spoon until it is a spreadable consistency (you can warm it for a few seconds in the microwave if necessary).
  • Roll each of the dough pieces into large rectangles about 1/8 inch thick. Spread 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle 1/4 of the sugar mixture over each piece.
  • Roll each piece (length-wise) like a nut roll or jelly roll and then bring the ends together to form a circle. With a sharp knife, make a few cuts on the top of the rings and then let rise in a warm place again, for about 45 minutes or until it’s doubled in size.
  • Bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown. {At this point, you can let the cake cool a little bit, and then add a small plastic baby to the inside} While it’s still a little warm, make and top with the glaze by combining the powdered sugar and 1T of water in a small bowl, adding a little more water at a time until the glaze will spread easily over the surface of the cake.
  • Sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkles {we used purple colored sugar, and lime and yellow sprinkles!} while the glaze is still wet.
  • Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Tried this recipe?I'd love to see your photos, mention @pineapplepapercompany or tag #pineapplepapercompany!

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about charynn


Hi, y’all! I’m Charynn, the owner and designer of Pineapple Paper Co. I’m a mom of four kids (two girls and two boys) living in Pittsburgh. I love hand lettering, anything southern, cocktails, and of course, pineapples! I am excited to share my SVG files, printables, and craft projects with you! The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality, and I welcome y’all to my little corner of the internet. Read more…

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