King Cake

Average Rating 4 from 3 ratings

This a gluten-free version of the New Orleans style yeast cake that is traditionally decorated with yellow (or gold), purple and green, and colored glazes or sugar sprinkles. Often served for Mardi Gras, the colors symbolize power, justice and faith. These cakes are served for other occasions; at Christmas the cake is said to symbolize the three Wise Men, hence the King Cake name. Made with our Bread Mix.

King Cake

King Cake


  • 3½ cups Pamela’s Bread Mix
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 ¼ tsp yeast
  • ½ cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs plus one yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 TBSP milk
  • ½ tsp lemon zest



Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand mixer. In a separate bowl, combine hot water, milk and yeast. Let proof for 5 minutes. Add other liquid ingredients and yeast mixture to dry ingredients and mix on medium/high for three minutes. Turn into a greased bowl, covered in plastic and let rise in warm location for 1 to 2 hours or until about doubled in volume. Make filling while dough is rising.


Cream granulated sugar and cream cheese together. Add egg, extract and zest and mix well. Add powdered sugar, cinnamon and pecans and mix well again. Cover and refrigerate to firm slightly before baking.


Spray parchment with non-stick cooking spray. Scoop half the dough onto parchment, and using wet or lightly oiled hands, pat the dough into a large rectangle. Leaving 1” borders, lay half the sprinkle on the dough. Spread half the FILLING evenly over the dough, leaving the top 3 inches of dough clear and keeping the other edges clear with a 1 inch border.

Pulling up on the parchment, roll the front edge into itself as tightly as you can and continue rolling dough into a log (like a jelly roll). The dough will be very loose; carefully seal the ends and seam by gently pressing the edges together. If too much filling is pushed out while you are rolling the dough, simply scrape it off carefully with a small rubber spatula. Use the parchment to lift the cake onto a sprayed parchment lined baking sheet.

Gently form into a half circle. Use a small metal bowl or can to help keep a round hole in the center during baking. Repeat with second roll, placing on baking sheet to complete the circle or oval shape, gently pinching ends together. The dough is fragile; if it splits open a little when forming the circle just smooth it back together.

Let rise a second time in warm draft free spot while you preheat the oven to 350°.

Bake at 350° for 40 to 50 minutes. Check after 40 minutes and use a piece of foil if it is getting too brown. Let cool completely before glazing and decorating with sugar sprinkles.


Mix all ingredients, adding more milk if necessary to make a pourable consistency. Pour over the cake set on a rack over waxed paper. Immediately sprinkle colored sugars over glaze in alternating pattern.

Chef's Note: The cake is baked with a bean, or a plastic baby inserted through the bottom of the cake after baking, and whoever gets the piece with the prize is king or queen for the day. Consequently the king or queen is responsible to present a King Cake to everyone the following week or workday (or the following year)!

© Pamela's Products, Inc.

18 Reviews or Comments for King Cake

  1. Elizabeth Anthony February 9, 2015 at 6:53 am #

    This cake looked beautiful and tasted delicious! It received rave reviews at our Mardi Gras party. The dough rose as it was supposed to, and held together though it was fragile. The dough is very sticky, but I was able to spread it with oiled fingers. Also, the parchment paper was key to easing the filled dough into a roll. I fecommend following the recipe exactly.

    Recipe Rating: 5
  2. Laura February 5, 2016 at 5:48 pm #

    This dough is extremely sticky and gooey. If I were to make again, I would try omitting the water to see if the dough would be more rollable. As it is, I could not roll out. I scooped into a tube pan, filled, and topped with second half of the dough. Currently watching it bake. Hoping it comes out as the dough tasted great.

    • Pamelas Customer Service February 8, 2016 at 10:50 am #

      Hi Laura,
      How did the cake turn out?

      • Laura February 10, 2018 at 9:35 am #

        The cake tasted delicious. Loved it so much, I am making it again this year. This time, I am using the weight measurement suggested by another poster. The dough is much thicker, so I am hoping it will be perfect. (Rising in the oven now)

  3. Joel February 10, 2016 at 9:00 am #

    The dough did not form when I prepared as the recipe was written. I suspect it is because the solid measurements are given in volume, not weight. According to the bread mix serving size, 1/8th of a cup is 33 grams which would make a cup weigh 264g. After I got a batter instead of dough I weighed several cups of bread mix. With my measuring cup and my technique, the cups ranged from 175 to 190 grams. I suspect I didn’t use enough flour initially. After the first rise, kneaded in more flour, in the bowl, until the batter became more dough like, because if I had poured it onto the parchment it would have spilled all over. After that, I didn’t get a 2nd rise. The taste was good, but the texture was gritty and the cake was very dense. If I give it another shot I will probably use 924 grams of flour initially instead of 3.5 cups and see if that does any better.

    Recipe Rating: 2.5
    • Marcia February 12, 2018 at 6:05 am #

      How I wish I had read this! I threw the whole batch away and gave the flour away, too! It is completely unlike king cake (something I make and sell) as written.

    • Laura February 13, 2018 at 5:17 pm #

      Did you end up figuring this out? I used your weight measurement, but then the dough was extremely dense. Wondering if I need to up the amount of yeast as well since I am adding more flour… It tastes good, so I plan to keep messing with this recipe until I get it right.

      • Joel Murry February 15, 2018 at 12:20 pm #

        I tried once more measuring by weight and I got a very dense cake (even by gluten free standards) and once again an almost negligible 2nd rise. I suspect the amount of flour needed is between my measuring cup volume and the weight, but I’m giving up. The flour is too expensive to keep experimenting. Maybe Pamela’s will revise their recipes to include weight one day.

  4. Kat February 10, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    First time making a King Cake, it was divine!

    Let it cool off before eating

  5. Janelle February 13, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    My first ever King cake, gluten free at that! It’s delicious!!! Followed the recipe exact, except I forgot to let it rise a second time. FYI… Sprayed parchment paper is your friend when patting the dough out and rolling it up.

    Recipe Rating: 5
  6. Louise January 10, 2017 at 7:52 pm #

    I have one in the oven right now. I was nervous when I could not see any evidence of rising after the first hour so opened the oven door and it kicked in during the second hour. I think my room was just not warm enough, even with the oven on 200 degrees right below the bowl. Now it is a matter of time in the oven and crossed fingers.
    I am using a Bundt pan. You are right bout how delicate this dough is. I barely touched it because I was afraid it would deflate.
    I also added cooked fresh blueberries to my (goat) cream cheese mix for filling and hope it was not too heavy. I added some gelatin to make sure it is not too wet once it cools too. I know it will taste good but I hope it looks good too..

  7. Janelle Shepherd January 22, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    Loved it so much that I made it again!!! It amazes me how well this dough rises and how moist it is after baking the cake. Delicious!!! As other reviews note, the dough is challenging but very well worth it in the end.

  8. Bethany January 28, 2017 at 6:33 pm #

    This is the second Mardi Gras season that I’ve made this recipe. It is really wonderful. If you haven’t experimented with gluten-free yeast breads before you will most likely find this challenging. However, as another commenter said, if you follow the directions exactly you will get a delicious end result.

  9. allie February 13, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    Has anyone made this at high altitude?

  10. Andrea Galliano January 6, 2018 at 7:32 pm #

    I am from Louisiana, and I have made my own King Cakes for 40 years. . I make a brioche dough and this one is very similar. My goal this Mardi Gras season was to try different gluten free recipes.. I see where a few changes may need to be made, but I am shocked at how similar it is to the one I have always made. I will let you know how it turns out. :)).

    • Sarah January 30, 2018 at 5:48 pm #

      I’m excited to see how yours came out, I’m from New Orleans and looking for a gluten free king cake recipe that will taste authentic! 🙂

  11. Marcia Barton February 7, 2018 at 7:13 am #

    Hi, Pamela! I’d recommend pressing the baby or bean into the bottom of the cake AFTER it is baked!

  12. Lenora February 13, 2018 at 8:01 am #

    I need to make a gluten-free, DAIRY-FREE King cake. I prefer to use coconut milk in place of milk in most recipes, but wonder what to do about replacing the butter in the recipe. Comsidering using a dairy-free margarine or possibly ghee. Has anyone tried making this Gluten and dairy free? Could use some tips, please!

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