King Cake Recipe | SAVEUR

King Cake

King cakes, which commemorate the Epiphany—the wise men's discovery of the baby Jesus—are eaten the world over in various forms, but they're nowhere more beloved than in New Orleans, where the cake is associated with the festivities of Mardi Gras. This version, made with a rich brioche dough and stuffed with a decadent cream cheese filling, is drizzled with a buttermilk glaze and sprinkled with crunchy green, gold, and purple sanding sugars.

King Cake
This version of king cake is stuffed with cream cheese, drizzled in sweet buttermilk glaze, and dusted with crunchy sanding sugar, in the NOLA tradition.
serves 10-12

For the Dough

1 (14-oz.) package active dry yeast
14 cup sugar
12 cup milk
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
12 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 34 cups flour
34 tsp. kosher salt
8 tbsp. butter, softened

For the Filling and Garnish

1 lb. cream cheese
12 cup packed dark brown sugar
12 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
12 tsp. kosher salt
12 lemon, zested
Green, purple, and yellow sanding sugars


Make the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a hook, combine yeast, 12 tsp. of the sugar, and 14 cup water heated to 115°. Stir to combine and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Beat on low speed until thoroughly combined, 1 minute. Turn mixer off and add flour and salt. Mix on medium speed until the dough just comes together. Turn mixer speed to high and knead dough for 4 minutes. Add the butter and continue kneading until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit until doubled in size, 1 12–2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine cream cheese, brown sugar, pecans, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and zest in a large bowl and beat on medium speed of a hand mixer until combined; set aside.
Punch down dough and turn it out onto a heavily floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a large circle, about 14"-thick. Cut a hole in the center of the circle and pull with your fingers to widen. Place dollops of filling evenly around circle halfway between outer edge and inner hole. Drape outside edges over filling and continue rolling outside inward until filling is covered, widening inner hole as needed, until dough covers the seam. Transfer rolled dough circle to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour. Heat oven to 350°. Uncover cake and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
Transfer king cake to a cutting board or serving platter; spread Buttermilk Glaze evenly over top of cake and sprinkle evenly with sanding sugars.