Mardi Gras King Cake
(March, 2000 Recipe of the Month)

A fitting end to any traditional Mardi Gras celebration, this highly recommended recipe originally appeared in Southern Living in January 1990.


 1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 (16-ounce) container sour cream

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)

2 large eggs

6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

Colored Frostings (see below)

Colored Sugars (see below)


COOK first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Cool mixture to 100° to 110°.

DISSOLVE yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

TURN dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

STIR together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

PUNCH dough down; divide in half. Turn 1 portion out onto a lightly floured surface; roll to a 28- x 10-inch rectangle. Spread half each of cinnamon mixture and softened butter on dough. Roll dough, jellyroll fashion, starting at long side. Place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough, cinnamon mixture, and butter.

COVER and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

BAKE at 375° for 15 minutes or until golden. Decorate with bands of Colored Frostings, and sprinkle with Colored Sugars. Yield: 2 cakes.

Prep: 50 min.; Rise: 1 hr., 20 min.; Bake: 15 min.

Note: Once the cake has cooled, randomly insert a plastic baby doll, if desired, before frosting.

Colored Frostings:

3 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons butter, melted

3 to 6 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 drops each of green, yellow, red, and blue liquid food coloring

STIR together powdered sugar and melted butter. Add milk to reach desired consistency for drizzling; stir in vanilla. Divide frosting into 3 batches, tinting 1 green, 1 yellow, and combining red and blue food coloring for purple frosting. Yield: about 1 1/2 cups.

Prep: 15 min.

Colored Sugars:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 to 2 drops each of green, yellow, red, and blue liquid food coloring

PLACE 1/2 cup sugar and drop of green food coloring in a jar or zip-top plastic bag; seal. Shake vigorously to evenly mix color with sugar. Repeat procedure with 1/2 cup sugar and yellow food coloring. For purple, combine 1 drop red and 1 drop blue food coloring before adding to remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Yield: 1/2 cup of each colored sugar.

Prep: 20 min.