Super Easy King Cake (WOW GOOD!)


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Alright folks, it’s confession time here at Southern Plate. You see that King Cake up there? Well that was the first time in my entire life that I’ve ever made or eaten a King Cake. After tasting this recipe though, it will NOT be the last time! I’m already craving more and plan on making it for breakfast without all the rampant sprinkles when my in-laws come to visit this weekend.

Now for those of you who have never made a King Cake, let me tell you this was INCREDIBLY EASY to make! Taste wise it is kind of like a coffee cake or a cinnamon roll, only without the ohmygosh sweetness, which is why I liked it so much. If you like desserts (or coffee treats) with just a touch of sweetness that are a little filling, this one is perfect.

Some of you are probably surprised that I’ve never had a King Cake before. I’ve never in all my born days celebrated Mardis Gras, even though the original Mardi Gras celebration took place in my beloved Alabama. Mobile still has a Mardi Gras celebration each year and I’ve read that it is actually very family friendly. I will most likely go through the rest of my life having never been to Mardis Gras though, but as I speak there are two little people in front of me singing and dancing to Tao Cruz’s “Dynamite” as sung by KidzBop.

Honestly, who needs Mardi Gras when I have a party at my house every night?

P.S. Did I mention this is good? Don’t let all the sprinkles and such turn you off. Ignore the glitter and make it for breakfast. You’ll thrill your family and have a new favorite! Now purists (because I’m sure there are Mardi Gras purists out there in Southern Plate land) will notice that the colors on my King Cake are a little varied from the traditional. Each color on the cake symbolizes something and since I made the cake in my kitchen, I used different colors to symbolize different things. Hey, your kitchen, your rules!

Traditional King Cake colors are:

Purple to symbolize Justice

Green to symbolize Faith

Gold to symbolize Power

Here is what the colors I chose stand for:

Greento symbolize Faith

Gold to symbolize Power

Pink to symbolize that the grocery store didn’t have purple and I didn’t want to go all over tarnation looking for it.

~grins and nods~ Yeah, that works for me.

When I decided to do a King Cake for Southern Plate, I immediately got to thinking about our Rhode’s bread dough. I went to their site to see if they happened to have a King Cake recipe and theirs looked so good I decided I had found what I needed and stopped there!

To make our King Cake, go into your freezer and get that last roll of White bread dough. You know the kind we used on the Cinnamon Rolls and Stuffed Pizza Sticks? Well they come in three packs so ya got one left!

You’ll need: Frozen White Bread Dough, Cream Cheese, Confectioner’s Sugar, Lemon Extract*.

You’re also going to need an obscene amount of sprinkles if you want to make this into a King Cake but like I said, I’ll be making it again and again without the sprinkles so if you want to leave them off go for it. If you want to add festive sprinkles and have some on hand but they are the wrong color, just invent your own festival and say those are what your colors stand for. No sense in spending extra money here if we don’t have to.

*I really do recommend buying the lemon extract though because that little hint of lemon just makes this.

Let your bread dough thaw completely.

I seldom think to do this ahead of time so I set my loaf on a plate in the microwave and microwave it for thirty seconds, then flip it over and do another thirty seconds and then let it sit a bit to finish thawing. It thaws much faster this way but if your microwave cooks a little fast you will want to do less time.

Okay, now roll that out on a floured surface, using extra flour on your rolling pin to keep it from sticking.

Rhode’s says to roll it out to about 10×18 inches.

I say to roll it out about that or until you get close enough and are tired of fooling with it.

Let that sit and rest while you prepare the filling because you scared it a bit rolling it out like that.

Now, in a mixing bowl place your cream cheese and add your lemon extract.

Dump in your sugar.

Mix that up til it is all smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides.

(do as I say, not as I do ~winks~)

Spread that absolutely delicious and not overly sweet cream filling over your dough, leaving about an inch or so at each edge.

Now roll that up and take a brush to brush water along the final edge. Press that up against the rest to form a log.

After you’ve done that form it together into a ring shape and press the ends together,

brushing with water if you need to, to seal.

Now a lot of instructions will tell you to spray cling wrap with cooking spray to keep your dough from sticking as it rises but I’ve found its easier and less messy if I just give the dough itself a little spray where the plastic wrap is going to touch.

Spray cooking spray lightly over top of dough.

This is the point where Katy came into the kitchen and her eyes got big as dollars as she said “Whoa! That is one big doughnut!”

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 45-60 minutes.

Or, if you’re like me, until you get busy doing something else and then realize an hour and a half later, “Ack! I forgot my bread was rising!”

What I do is start my oven and let it preheat for just a minute or two, then I turn it off and open the door and make sure it is just warm, not hot, then put my dough in there.

Here is our risen dough.

Bake that at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Even with my pitiful photography, that is a beautiful loaf right there!

Lets make it into a King Cake now, alrighty?

Note: I didn’t put a little plastic baby or bean or coin or anything else inside because this was for our family and with two little kids the last thing I need is one of them taking a big old bite of a cake their Mama made and ending up choking, and goodness gracious you know that would sooooo happen – because my life is funny that way.

If you want to stick a little something in there, per tradition, this is the point where you would do it but do so at your own discretion.

You’ll need some confectioner’s sugar and something to flavor it with.

Confectioner’s sugar and milk are what makes our little simple icing but I find that this glaze really needs a bit of flavoring to it also. I like to add clear butter flavoring but you can also use vanilla flavoring or even a little more of that lemon extract if you like. I would add 1 teaspoon of whatever you use (1/2 for stronger flavors) and know that if you don’t use clear Vanilla your icing will have a little tint to it, which is perfectly fine.

Add in flavoring and milk.

Stir until smooth and creamy.

Using a spoon, drizzle it over your cake.

The thing I love most about King Cakes is that whenever you see them in bakeries or the grocery store, they always look like they were decorated by a two year old in the midst of a tantrum so just go crazy and have fun with it.

Now this is where I’d stop if I were making this for breakfast or as a coffee cake.

But since this is a King Cake post, lets add enough sprinkles to sink a ship :)

Since I don’t have help beyond my family to eat this yummy cake (and I didn’t want to be left alone with it!), here are the slices I sent to my hubster’s work.

I hope you make this soon. Make it to celebrate Mardi Gras or just make it to celebrate your colorful friends and family!

Super Easy King Cake
Cook time
Total time
My husband and I LOVED this. I really hope you make this soon because it is just that good!
For the King Cake:
  • 1 roll frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
For the Icing:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk (more if needed but stir this amount first, you’ll be surprised how far this goes!)
  • 1 tsp clear butter or vanilla flavoring
  1. On floured surface, roll out your dough to a rectangle of about 10 x 18 inches. It doesn’t have to be exact, close enough works!
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and extract and mix until creamy and well blended. Spread over dough to within an inch of each side. Roll up longways (to make a long log) and brush the final edge with water before pressing it into the log to seal.
  3. Take log and form into a circle, pressing the ends into each other and brushing with water if needed to seal together. Spray top lightly with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Set in warm place to rise for 45 minute to an hour.
  4. Remove plastic wrap and bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool.
  5. Mix confectioner’s glaze and drizzle over top of cake with a spoon. Immediately sprinkle colored sprinkles over glaze if desired. Allow to sit until glaze hardens.

This is a simplified version of a recipe from Rhode’s. The original one may be found by clicking here.

*Since I first made this King Cake last week, I’ve made three more to give people!

“I’d rather be positive and get 50% percent good results

than stay negative and get 100% bad results.”

~Joyce Meyer. Submit your quote by clicking here.

I’m so glad to have you as part of my Southern Plate Family and appreciate all of your kindness and support!




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  1. says

    Hi! Love your post. I’m going to put the link in by blog: Linda Joyce Contemplates where on Friday’s I’m blogging about Mardi Gras…at least until it rolls around in 2013. Thank for the detailed and step-by-step instructions. Can’t wait to try your recipie.

    Warmest Regards,

    Linda Joyce

  2. Bonnie N says

    You didn’t miss much by not being at a Mardi Gras. I lived in southern Louisiana for 13 years, went to Mardi Gras once and never wanted to go back. We had to get down on the street at 4 a.m. in order to have a decent place to see everything. By 6 o’clock it was too crowded (as in elbow to elbow) and if one left their spot to go get something to eat, it was just too bad, the spot was gone. So we had to take coolers of food and drink and chairs. The parades go on all day and you just can’t stand that long. So, one Mardi Gras was enough for me. Never saw another one except on tv.

    Thanks for the King Cake recipe. Will try it as the recipe I use is so much sweeter.

  3. Emily says

    I’m making this for the Super Bowl (since its in New Orleans) and putting a little football inside instead of the traditional baby. Thanks for the easy recipe. I may also add a little cinnamon to the filling.

  4. Dianne Ledet says

    I made this last night and brought it to work today! YUMMY!! I made the glaze a little too runny … but I’m making another one tonight so I will adjust! Thanks for another fabulous (and fabulously easy) recipe!

  5. GwenEllyn says

    This is wonderful. I love your commentary as you progressed. It sounds just like how I bake! Thank you for the delightful recipe and fun way of sharing it! Gotta’ go now and buy some bread dough and sprinkles.

    BTW, did you hide a bean or plastic baby trinket inside?

  6. GwenEllyn says

    I made this quickly (using your great and funny tips) for our French Conversation Group on Friday night and it was a huge hit. I am making another one for the office on Tuesday! Thank you so much!

  7. Kristalee Miller says

    Hey Christy, I just made it for the first time it was SO good and SO easy! Thanks so much. Even my hubby liked it and he doesn’t care for anything like cream cheese Danish or cheese cake. Oh and for purple I just used a 1/4 c of sugar and 2-3 drops of food coloring to make the purple colored sprinkles (actually we did that for all the colors and had plenty left over). Thanks again!

  8. says

    Well, I just got done baking the cake. It didn’t exactly turn out as expected; its more a big ball than a circle. Oh well, I just hope my co-workers at work tomorrow enjoy it (or I at least don’t give them food-poisoning!). I decided to color my icing since I couldnt find the right color sprinkles and then I will add some shiny clear sprinkles just for giggles.

  9. Bonnie says

    Just wanted to give you a little tip. I’m from New Orleans. The colors aren’t pink, green and gold. They’re purple, green, and gold. Can’t wait to try this, though. So much easier than the one I usually make! Thanks for sharing! :)

    • G.r.i.t.s. says

      1) Thank you cor posting a wonderful King Cake ‘re recipe! I WILL BE MAKING AN WILL POST WHEN I
      2)This is about a. Comment that one man that lived in La. For 13 years said going Mari Gras an will never go again. Apparently you went to New Orleans or around Baton Rouge don’t take me wrong but they are fun AN that’s why no elbow room..’s nice but to get the most fun.out.of Mari Gras a must a.crew to actually catch a. Chicken an riding on horse.back an all the other fun stuff of cooking the gumbo .So a must do again.
      3) Christy!! Kudos Thank you for telling the smart lady about you knew it was purple with that said its getting where on every site that you can leave a post there is ALWAYS one or more that thinks they are smarter than any one else!! I have lived in Louisiana all of my life so far AN I’m sorry that these two had a ugly way about how to.say something ..but I’m letting you know you are a.wonderful person to share your recipes AN for these other rude people keep your mouth closed BE cause too many ugly flies are getting out!! Thank you for reading,

  10. Judi says

    Yours is the first blog I have ever read! I usually scan through all the blah blah blah and focus on the need to know stuff. Everybody thinks they are an entertaining writer…the are not. You, however are enjoyable and entertaining. I actually read every word! Great job. Cannot wait to follow your blog. I’ll bet the cake is great also!!

  11. Jennifer says

    I love all the comments and hints about making the King cake. I have 2 questions.
    I am making it a day ahead of time. Do I refrigerate it or can it sit at room temperature?
    What is the best way to thaw the frozen bread dough before using?
    Looing forward to making this!

  12. Anna says

    Thanks for another great recipe, Christy! My son & I made this yesterday. My store didn’t have the frozen loaf bread, just the frozen dinner rolls. So, I thawed 12 of them, mashed them together & rolled them out. They worked just fine. Also, I used brown sugar & cinnamon for the filling, so it tasted like one big delicious cinnamon roll. My son, who is almost 5, decided the sprinkles should be red, yellow, and blue, “because those are the primary colors!” Sounded like a good reason to me! Happy Mardi Gras!

  13. Annette Crossley says

    Christy, thanks for the wonderful Mardi Gras King Cake recipe,and all of the other delicious recipes. Since I am an original midwest person,now living in Atlanta,I’m so happy i found your website it is so wonderful. Thanks Christy!

  14. Katie S. says

    Christy, you saved the day!

    My son’s class is having a traditional King cake from a bakery, but my son has a peanut allergy and can’t have their cake (which I found terribly rude of them, but I’ll withhold my rant here). 😉

    I made your recipe and swapped vanilla for the lemon and butter flavorings and added cinnamon to the cream cheese (just to keep it like theirs). We cant’t stay away from the thing!!! No way will my son feel like he’s missing out. Ours is probably better than theirs!

    I will definitely be making this again, and not just for Epiphany! Thanks so much!



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