I grew up eating king cake in NOLA but never really LIKING it. I finally decided to offer it a go myself and need to say that this is often , handily , the simplest I've ever eaten. A conglom of several recipes, it's great with coffee, not too sweet, not too bready, with an upscale , tender crumb and therefore the traditional lemon/nutmeg flavors of a real NOLA king cake. Best eaten same day but pretty darn good the day after (if there are leftovers!). Enjoy, y'all!


Sweet dough:

  •     4 cups all-purpose flour
  •     ½ cup white sugar
  •     1 (.25 ounce) package rapid rise yeast
  •     1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  •     3 eggs at room temperature
  •     6 tablespoons butter
  •     ¾ cup Bulgarian-style buttermilk
  •     ¼ cup all-purpose flour (optional)

Cream cheese filling:

  •     1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese at room temperature
  •     1 cup confectioners' sugar
  •     2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  •     2 tablespoons lemon juice
  •     1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •     ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Egg wash:

  •     1 egg
  •     ¼ cup water


  •     1 cup confectioners' sugar
  •     4 teaspoons corn syrup
  •     4 teaspoons milk
  •     1 teaspoon lemon juice, or as needed


Instructions Checklist

Step 1

Mix 4 cups of flour, white sugar, yeast, and salt together within the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

Step 2

Whisk 3 eggs during a separate bowl. Melt butter during a saucepan over low heat and whisk buttermilk into melted butter; heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 120 degrees F (49 degrees C). Whisk buttermilk mixture into beaten eggs and funky the mixture to 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).

Step 3

Beat egg mixture into flour mixture on medium-low speed to form a firm, elastic dough, about 10 minutes. If dough doesn't break away the edges of the blending bowl during kneading, hammer in 1/4 cup more flour.

Step 4

Turn dough out onto a piece surface and knead for 1 minute; form into a ball and place into a buttered bowl, turning dough around to lightly coat with butter. Cover bowl with wrapping and let rise during a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.

Step 5

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter the fringes of an 8-inch cake pan.

Step 6

Stir cheese , 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, juice , vanilla , and nutmeg during a bowl until filling is smooth.

Step 7

Punch down dough and switch out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Roll dough into a 10x28-inch rectangle. Spread cheese filling over the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border along each edge. Lift a foothold of the parchment paper sheet to roll dough into a log shape, starting at a 28-inch edge. Pinch seams closed to lock in filling, keeping roll on the parchment paper.

Step 8

Wrap the filled dough round the outside of the buttered 8-inch cake pan to make the dough into a ring; pinch the sides closed. Use parchment paper to lift the cake and cake pan and slide a baking sheet beneath the parchment. Gently free cake pan, leaving the ring-shaped cake. Whisk 1 egg with water during a small bowl; brush cake with egg wash.

Step 9

Bake king cake within the preheated oven until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cake cool.

Step 10

Stir 1 cup confectioners' sugar, syrup , and milk during a bowl; mix in 1 teaspoon juice , or amount needed to thin icing to a thick but slightly runny texture. Drizzle king cake with icing.