3 secrets to making a King Cake at home

You don't have to travel to New Orleans for this sweet treat

‘Tis the season for the tri-colored dessert known as King Cake.

The braided cinnamon roll-style pastry is a Mardi Gras treat in Louisiana.

Good news: you don’t have to travel to New Orleans to get a bite.

Chuck Dobrinick has been baking King Cake since he had his first slice in a Louisiana more than 30 years ago.

He’s since brought the tradition to Pinckneyville, Illinois.

Each year he bakes anywhere from 2 to 20 to share with the community.

He gladly gave Heartland Weekend the recipe. Try this one at home:

Colored Frosting


3 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
3-5 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
1-2 drops each green, yellow, red, and blue food coloring (gel food coloring makes colors more vibrant)


1.) Combine powdered sugar and melted butter
2.) Add milk to reach desired consistency for drizzling
3.) Stir in vanilla
4.) Divide frosting into 3 batches, tinting one with green, one with yellow, and combining blue and red for purple frosting

Colored Sugars


1½ cups sugar, divided
1-2 drops each of green, yellow, red, and blue food coloring (gel food coloring makes the colors more vibrant


1.) Combine ½ cup sugar and drop of green food coloring in a jar
2.) Place lid on jar and shake vigorously to evenly mix the color with sugar (if using gel, you may want to put in a Ziploc bag and ‘smash’
the colors together. Mixes easier)
3.) Repeat with each color, combining red and blue for purple

King Cake


¼ cup butter or margarine
16 oz sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 pkg dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
½ cup warm water (105° to 115°)
2 eggs
6–6½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ cup sugar
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
Colored sugar/frosting (see recipes)


1.) Combine butter, sour cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan
2.) Heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally
3.) Let mixture cool to 105° to 115°
4.) Dissolve yeast and 1 tbsp sugar in warm water in a large bowl, let stand 5 minutes
5.) Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups of flour
6.) Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or by hand until smooth
7.) Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough
8.)Turn tough out onto a lightly-flowered surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes)
9.) Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top
10.) Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, for 1 hour or until dough is doubled in size
11.) Combine ½ cup sugar and cinnamon, set aside
12.) Pinch dough down and divide in half
13.) Turn one portion of dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and roll to a 28” x 10” rectangle
14.) Spread half each of softened butter and cinnamon mixture on dough
15.) Roll dough, jelly-roll fashion, starting at the long side
16.) Gently place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet
17.) Bring ends of dough together and form an oval ring
18.) If you have access to a tiny plastic baby, tuck it into the seam before you seal it. If not, use a dried bean
19.) Moisten and pinch the edges together to seal
20.) Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in size
21.) Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
22.) Repeat procedure with remaining dough, butter, and cinnamon mixture.
23.) Decorate each cake with bands of colored frostings and sprinkle with colored sugars.