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Traditional King Cake

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Mardi Gras


The glazed King Cake, a New Orleans tradition, I served during Mardi Gras season. It contains a plastic doll, whoever ends up eating the slice with the doll, is obligated to provide the next cake for a party.

By Claude Barilleaux



  • 1 cup boiling water 

  • ⅔ cup instant mashed potatoes 

  • 1 ½ cups (3 stickers) unsalted butter 

  • ½ cup lukewarm water 

  • 2 packages dry yeast 

  • 1 cup sugar 

  • 6 large eggs 

  • 2 tsp nutmeg 

  • 2 tsp grated lemon rind

  • 10 cups flour (preferably bread flour)

  • 6 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cinnamon 

  • 1 dired bean or 1 plastic toy baby


  • 1 pund confectioners' sugar 

  • 1 tsp almond extract 

  • 7 tsbp heavy cream

  • 1 cup sugar (yellow, green, red and blue food coloring)


We work with chefs from all around the world, which is why we include both imperial (cups/ounces) and metric (grams) measurements. To achieve best results, we highly recommend that you utilize a kitchen scale and follow the metric measurements when possible.


To make the cake, combine the boiling water, instant potatoes, 2 tsbp milk and 1 tsbp unsalted butter in a bowl, ad set aside.

In another bowl, mix the lukewarm water, yeast and ½ cup sugar, and set aside. 

In a medium pan, heat 1 cup butter and 3 cups milk over low heat until butter melts. Add the potato mixture, stir, remove to heat and cool to lukewarm. Tranfer to a heavy duty mixture and slowly beat in  yeast mixture. Add eggs one at a time, add nutmeg, lemon rind, flour and salt. Mix together until dough comes away from the bowl. 

Turn mixture onto floured board, and knead dough fro 10 minutes. Place dough into a large greased bowl, and covered with a dampened cloth. Let rise 1 ½ hours. Punch down, and let rise again until dpuble in size, about another hour. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet, or cover with parchment paper. Melt 7 tbsp butter and set aside. Mix ½ cup sugar wit 1 tsp cinnamon, and set aside. Punch down dough, and divide into 3 pieces of equal size. Work one piece at a time with a rolling pin, shape into a rectangle about ⅛ inch thick, roughly twice as long as it is wide. Spread each piece with one-third of the melted butter and one-third of the cinnamon sugar, coming to whithin one inch of the edges. Starting from the long side, roll the dough into cylinders and braid together. Transfer to the baking sheet and shape into a ring, pinching the ends of the cilinder together, to form a neat circular braid. Bake 30 minutes or until brown (allow additional baking time if necessary).

When it's cool, turn the ckae over and make a small hole in the bottom. Insert the doll or a large dry bean, and replace the bread plug. 

To make the topping, use an electric mixer to combine the confectioners' sugar, almond extract and cream, and beat until smooth. Spread the top of the cake. 

Place ⅓ cup sugar in each of three bowls. Sprinkle food coloring into sugar a drop at the time, and stir completely to produce deep, bright colors. Mix equal part red and blue to produce purple. Spoon sugar onto top of icing in 2-inch-wide bands, alternating purple, green and yellow. 


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