Prep Time
30 Mins
Cook Time
10 Mins
Stand Time
5 Mins
Rise Time
1 Hour 30 Mins
Bake Time
16 Mins
Makes 2 cakes (about 18 servings each)

This recipe uses bread flour, which makes for a light, airy cake. You still get tasty results with all-purpose flour--the cake will just be more dense.

How to Make It

Step 1

Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.

Step 2

Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.

Step 3

Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms.

Step 4

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.

Step 5

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.

Step 6

Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Beat 3/4 cup sugar, cream cheese, 1 egg, and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders.

Step 7

Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.

Step 8

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Step 9

Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes). Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.

Step 10

*6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour may be substituted.

Ratings & Reviews

sallyjack's Review

March 04, 2014
I have been looking for a really good king cake recipe for years. I have finally found it. The cake is very moist (from all the sour cream, no doubt) and tender. I put a layer of cinnamon and sugar over the dough before adding the cream cheese filling, as another reviewer suggested. During cooking, a bit of the filling leaked out, but it didn't make any difference. Next time I will try to seal the sides better. This is one of the best cakes I have ever made!

the1dukegirl's Review

February 04, 2013
Having lived in New Orleans, I was looking for a recipe for a true king cake, and this did the trick. My boyfriend even declared it the best king cake he has ever had. However, I made some important modifications to make this taste like a true Nola king cake. Even a cream cheese king cake needs the cinnamon-sugar layer, so I took the directions from the "traditional" king cake and covered my flattened rectangle with softened butter and sprinkled on an even layer of cinnamon (2 teaspoons) and sugar (1/2 cup). Then, rather than spread the cream cheese all over the rectangle, I placed it all in a large line a little ways in from the edge along the long side. This way, when you roll it, you end up with a cream cheese center but cinnamon-sugar throughout the cake, just the way a real king cake is made. I'll also note two other important things. I took the advice of a commenter on the traditional recipe and used a heated oven to help with the rising, and I used my own frosting recipe.

Jerjenjer's Review

February 12, 2010
Loved this recipe. I've had relatives in Louisiana send us King Cakes and I've always wanted to make one--this one rivals the professionals--maybe it's better. I feel the same about the "plain" cinnamon one, too! Great recipe!

Roxann's Review

March 21, 2009
WoW! This was just like a cheese danish. The dough had the best texture. You can't go wrong with this one!!

Tender dough and easy to work with.

February 24, 2017
I used the bread flour called for in the recipe and  I also used a new instant yeast by Red Star that has dough enhancers in it. The dough is so tender! I grated a little fresh nutmeg [1/2 tsp] in both the dough and the filling and sprinkled a little cinnamon on the dough before spreading the filling. Since I coiled the dough instead of making the traditional open ring it took a liitle longer to bake. I just covered the top loosely with foil and baked for about 10 more minutes.

Best King Cake Ever

February 22, 2017
I make this every year and always get rave reviews. This has become a family favorite with the cream cheese filling. I let the cake cool before putting the icing on and it seems to do better that way. My daughter wants me to make her one for her birthday this year. We decided to name it Queen Cake!

love2bakeUK's Review

March 03, 2014

harthad's Review

January 17, 2013