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. Katie says

    I’ve always wanted to make a King Cake, but it seemed too complicated. Now I can’t wait to try it. And thank you for the tip on creating a warm place for bread to rise. It seems so obvious, but I NEVER would have thought of it myself. 😉

  2. Martha Monceaux says

    Greetings from Louisiana!! Christi, this is great! Easiest King Cake recipe I’ve found, and other than your colors (heehee! love them!!) , very traditional and spot on!! A medium (kinda small medium too) cake sells for $8.00 or more here, so this is a great savings too instead of buying it at the bakery/grocery store!! Thanks for another winner recipe!!

  3. says

    OH MY STARS!! YUM!! Thanks for the inspiration!! I had to make a few adjustments b/c I haven’t picked up any of that Rhodes dough you use often (it is on my list though) Anyhow… I made this with crescent rolls (just a mini lil king cake cause there’s just 3 of us) I used pecans, cream cheese brown sugar and powdered sugar (again just working with what I have on hand – SO SUPER YUMMY – well at least the filling that I tried… I am imagining the cake will be that good too!!! Now I gotta go make the icing

  4. Michelle says

    I’m gonna try one of these tomorrow, my oldest two boys are at a Overnighter at Church and so it’s just me and the youngest two and we are making more dishpan cookies together so I’ll make the King cakes for the older two, let em know I missed em :)

    I don’t have any lemon extract, hope some lemon juice will do

  5. Martha Monceaux says

    I made this cake last night, my hubby took it to work today, we LOVED it! My nephew is making it for his 4H club also! Lots of bakeries here use the sprinkles, but lots do not., just use colored icing. I never buy a King cake with sprinkles… I hate the gritty feeling they have! As Christy says..whatever floats your boat!

  6. Charlene Beck says

    Christi, don’t feel bad about not ever having King Cake before. Neither have I though I know about them. The only Mardi Gras I’ve ever experienced was Fasching in Germany when I lived there for 4 years. It was a lot like New Orleans style that I’ve read about. Had to laugh about not putting the baby in the cake so one of kids wouldn’t choke:) That is what would happen to me, too. I have to try this as it looks easy and tasty. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Annarose says

    My birthday is tomorrow and it will be a very long day at school (12 hours!), so I decided to make this King Cake tonight so we can have it for breakfast tomorrow and maybe I can bring a little with me to school for a snack. The cake did not make it intact to tomorrow though. It hasn’t even cooled to the point where I can add the icing yet but we’ve eaten half of it because the smell was driving us crazy. It is SO GOOD! I used twice as much lemon extract because we love lemon and it’s just so delicious and looks so pretty sliced. The flavor completely makes up for how hideous mine turned out- it sprouted a giant bubble on one side and apparently I did not seal the seam well enough because a lot of the filling blorked out onto the baking sheet. I thought I did a pretty good job of sealing the seam so next time (there will be one for sure!) I’m going to try brushing beaten egg on the seam like the original recipe says. In any case, it is delicious and I’m sure the rest of the cake will be even tastier with the glaze on top!

  8. Michelle says

    I find that you can actually roll the dough out to much longer than 10 inches.
    Mine was approximately 14X6…..and once rolled, made a larger oval.
    Just a tip for those who prefer more of a ring shape once baked.
    Thanksso much for this recipe. Couldn’t have been easier!

  9. says

    I’ve never made a King’s Cake before and have been looking at several different recipes in the hope to find one I could make this year. This one looks so simple and I already have everything I need to make it. Can’t wait to try it out!

    Thanks for much for sharing, and I just adore your blog!

  10. Susan K says

    Love King Cakes and always wanted to make one but the recipes were way too intimidating (I’m scared of yeast!! LOL) Decided I could give yours a try and it turned out FANTASTIC!!!!! Thank you so much for making this a new tradition at our house. My family couldn’t wait for the cake to cool before I put the glaza on it and went nuts with the glaze. You’ve inspired me to try other fillings – using the cream cheese and adding blueberry or apple pie filling or cream cheese and cherry or strawberry pie filling. Trying to figure out how to add some praline pecans. Mmmmmm Thanks Christy!!

  11. Bev says

    My husband teaches youth Sunday School, and he talks to them every year about the real meaning of Mardi Gras and the importance of Lent. This year I made this cake for him to take with him, and they loved it! It was a big hit, and I’m sure they will want one every year. Thanks for this easy recipe.

  12. Corinne says

    I usually make one every year from scratch,but I think I will try this recipe this year.What I usually do is instead of using sprinkles,I use food coloring to color sugar. I seldom have or feel like going to buy sprinkles but I always have sugar and food coloring.

  13. Beth Sherrill says

    Christy, hope you see this at some point, I just finished my first bowl ever of red beans and rice, thanks to you! You are turning this Colorado girl southern! Yummmy oh, so good. Now I clicked on to mail you and found this king cake recipe I somehow missed last week! Dang, if I had known I would have made this for the monthly breakfast I went to this morning, guess it will have to wait for the district meeting next month! I will be making it!

  14. says

    I am going to have to try this — it looks so good!

    BTW, I use my microwave for rising. Stick a measuring or coffee cup full of water in there and nuke it on high for about a minute and a half. It makes the inside of the microwave nice and warm and humid, the perfect environment for rising yeast doughs.

  15. Sybil says

    My first King Cake and what a hit! Sooo easy and delicious! Made it for a friend’s husband’s March 4th birthday. Their 10 year old daughter found the ‘baby’ . I told her I would give her the recipe ;-p And the tradition continues……
    Thanks Christy!!!

  16. Kathy says

    My daughter’s husband is in the Navy stationed in New Orleans. She brought me one from New Orleans for my birthday in March. She paid 15.00 dollars for it. This year I’ll make my own for less and it’ll be more fresh. Thanks can’t wait

    • Ginger Battalio says

      You are so right; cinnamon is a must. While this King cake looked good it’s a ‘dumbed down’ version. No native New Orleanian would dare eat a king cake made out of frozen white bread dough! Why not just make your own dough? I guess if you don’t know any better it’ll do but really; frozen white bread dough?
      As for the person who suggested using pixie stix as the colored topping well, I’m just too angry to even respond. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to traditions. IF you want a real king cake just google a New Orleans bakery and buy one or find a baker in Mobile. I also can not believe that the person who posted the recipe has NEVER been to Mardi Gras and she lives in Mobile. Embrace your city and partake in your hometown traditions. If everyone sat out Mardi Gras in Mobile there would be no Mardi Gras!

  17. Suzan says

    Looks great, Christy! We lived in New Orleans & then Slidell, LA for several yrs. & we sooo missed the King Cake! Tried to get a bakery to make one when we moved to the Denver area~yuck! I finally got a recipe & have been making them myself for umpteen yrs.! I make one, using a yellow cake mix-that turns out a HUGE oval one that’s a braided cinnamon roll. This looks like a mangeable size to make. : )
    I remember one yr., not able to have purple coloring. You should have seen all the NOT-purple stuff I made, trying to mix red & blue! Oh, my!

  18. Deanna says

    Christy, where do you find the frozen dough? I’m in Muscle Shoals and can’t seem to find it. We are getting a new Publix, or Kroger’s, soon, (can’t remember which, ha) in Florence, so maybe there? Do you know if WalMart carries it? Thanks … love your recipes!

  19. Frances says

    Beautiful King Cake that you made ! …. For PURPLE **Green + Pink = Purple** mostly pink with just a drop of purple at the time until desired color reached. ALso can use purple pixie stix to dust with a touch of purple color.

  20. Elizabeth says

    I’ve been attending a girls night out for the past 11 years EVERY Thursday. We celebrate Mardi Gras every year and have had a real King Cake once! Now, we will be having one from now on! Thank you so much!

  21. Sandy says

    Words don’t describe how delicious and easy this is !!! I used lemon juice in place of lemon extract….it was fine. This rates up there with Jordan rolls and dish pan cookies. BTW… I share February 28th with Ricky !!

  22. Windy says

    Welp, I’m a native Louisiana girl too, and I’ve gotta tell some of my “kin” on here to lighten up, Cher! If you want a from-scratch dough and traditional cinnamon filling with the twists all you gotta do is run down the street and pick one up from the bakery (since no Louisiana bakery would be without 3 dozen of these in the shop during Mardi Gras). OR, you can put yourself in the kitchen kneading and sweating till you’re convinced that enough “tradition” went into the recipe. For me and my family, we like to shake things up and we’re crazy for some cream cheese (my Mississippi man will knock someone down for a cream cheese danish). Therefore, I think this is an awesome addition to our Mardi Gras months (since we start with the cakes on Three Kings Day), and gives us some variety. I also think the use of frozen dough is brilliant. Kudos on an awesome recipe!

  23. Windy says

    No, I must thank you, because this recipe has made me a STAR! I sent extras to neighbors, which prompted me to bake one for my daughter’s class, which prompted them to hail me an extraordinary baker (haha)…. which I didn’t deny… mainly because I wasn’t willing to reveal how easy this king cake is. :) So the love is DEFINITELY mutual… with gravy on top! :)

  24. says

    I’m not sure the best way to reach you, you were my inspiration to start my blog and I would love to feature this recipe this month. I would of course include a link to your recipe and I would just take pictures of me trying out your recipe. Thank you!

  25. Suzanne says

    I tried this recipe but made my own dough since I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store. It was mostly made out of whole wheat flour because, again, I was too lazy to go to the grocery store. Thank goodness for my Kitchenaid or it would have never gotten made!

    I’ve lived in Louisiana all of my life and this is the first King Cake I’ve ever made. It was quite tasty and everyone loved it so thank you for the wonderful idea!

  26. Katie says

    Fellow south Louisiana girl here, and I have to agree with Windy from above! I made this today and it was so good! I did make a slight change, and that was that I didn’t use the cream cheese filing (I’ve never been much of a filled king cake kind of girl, I prefer them “plain”) So what I did was roll it out as directed and then slather some melted butter on, then covered it with a good shakin’ of cinnamon sugar! Then rolled it up and baked it! Soo good! A tip for the colored sugar is to make your own, real easy just put some granulated sugar in a bag, add a few drops of food coloring liquid or gel, and shake it up! Much cheaper than the grocery store! I’ve let the kids make their own mini king cakes out of cinnamon rolls before, but would have never thought to use frozen bread dough to make a whole king cake!! Thanks for this awesome and easy recipe!

  27. cheri says

    Thank you for this recipe, Christy. King Cake is something I’ve always wanted to try making but yeast doughs and I do not play well together.;) I might use vanilla instead of lemon just because it’s what is in the pantry, but this is definitely going to work with me on Tuesday. Thanks again Christy :)

  28. Debbie says

    I am totally unfamiliar with King Cake, but judging from all the comments, it’s quite a tasty treat…. My bread dough is thawing overnight in the fridge and my family will be enjoying it in the morning! Thank You for all you do, Christy, you are one Special Lady!

  29. Debbie says

    Oh my Goodness! The King Cake is Delicious!! We’re having company later and are they ever in for a treat! Hubby and I had to try it before I served it to guests Wonderful! I WILL be making this again and again! Thank You So Very Much Christy :)

  30. Holly says

    I’m making this today but with cinnamon and sugar and cream cheese. My Louisiana born boyfriend was horrified at the thought of a lemon-ish filling for some reason. We will see how it works out…..

  31. Janice says

    I do a lot of baking, so I was asked to make a King Cake a couple years ago. A friend who had lived in NO previouslly told me she used frozen bread dough. I thot that was great bc I don’t do yeast. I had to experiment with ingredients and amounts, etc for the filling and icing. I WISH I knew about your recipe then!! But, what I came up with is almost exactly the same as yours! The only difference was that I used vanilla instead of lemon extract. For the icing, I made a double batch with powdered sugar and lemon juice. I used the rest of the icing on another one I filled with brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans.

    Since I had 3 loaves of dough, I made a savory one filled with chicken, cheese, and bacon. I used tiny cubes of chicken, crumbled bacon, and a variety of cheeses, including sharp cheddar, co-jack, mozzarella, a four-cheese mexican blend and pepper jack. I also put in some chili powder, oregano, and onion and garlic powders. I used ranch dressing for the “icing” and sprinkled parsley and paprika on for some color. I served it with more ranch and hot marinara and cheese sauces for dipping. Everyone said it was fabulous! I googled King Cake when I was asked to make another one last week. I’ve never seen this site before, but I’ve already added it to my favorites! I’m going to check out your archives!


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