Mardi Gras Cake

Total Time:
2 hr 30 min
2 hr
30 min

12 to 14 servings

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon orange flower water
  • 1 stick butter, cut into slices, softened plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 small plastic baby doll
  • Icing, recipe follows
  • Colored sugar (green, purple and yellow)
  • Icing:
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons water
  • Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for 3 minutes and then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm place for 10 minutes or until yeast bubbles up and mixture almost doubles in volume.

  • Combine 3 1/2 cups flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg, mace and salt and sift into a large mixing bowl. Stir in lemon zest. Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and using a wooden spoon slowly combine dry ingredients into the yeast mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat 2 minutes or until dough can be formed into a soft ball. Place ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and knead like bread. During the kneading, add 1 cup more of flour sprinkled over dough. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic. Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl with 1 tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until entire surface is buttered. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and place in a draft-free space for 1 1/2 hours or until dough doubles in size.

  • Remove the dough from the bowl and place on lightly floured surface. Punch the dough down. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Pat and shape dough into a cylinder. Twist dough to form a curled cylinder and loop cylinder into buttered baking sheet. Pinch the ends together to complete the circle. Cover the dough with a towel and set in draft-free space for 45 minutes until dough doubles in size. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Brush top and sides of the cake with egg wash and bake on middle rack of oven for 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Place cake on a wire rack to cool. If desired at this time hide the plastic baby in the cake.

  • Combine sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water until smooth. If icing is too thick add more water. Spread icing over cake. Immediately sprinkle colored sugars in rows consisting of 2 rows each of green, purple and yellow.

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