Cinnamon-Pecan King Cake

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A King Cake is a must for a Mardi Gras celebration and this Cinnamon-Pecan King Cake is full of flavor and is made from a traditional yeast dough that isn’t hard at all to make. Be sure to get a plastic baby to hide inside!  🙂

Cinnamon-Pecan King Cake

I’ve eaten many King Cakes, but this was the first time I made one myself. I decided to start with a traditional, basic recipe and this Cinnamon-Pecan King Cake recipe I found in a Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine seemed like the perfect choice. I was very happy with how it turned out.

Purple, Green, and Gold sprinkles are a must. Purple stands for “Justice”, green for “Faith”, and gold for “Power”.

Whoever finds the plastic baby in their piece of cake is named “King” for the day and is supposed to provide the King Cake for the next party.

Cinnamon-Pecan King Cake

King Cakes are made from a yeast dough and are more like bread than cake in many ways. They are shaped into a ring to look like a King’s crown. The three colors represent the 3 kings who visited the Christ child on Epiphany.

This King Cake has lots of crunchy pecans and cinnamon and tastes similar to a coffee cake. If you’re familiar with working with yeast, this is a very simple dough to make. Just be sure the liquid you add to the yeast is not too hot or it will kill the yeast.

Be sure to measure the flour correctly or you risk adding too much. Don’t scoop the flour. Use a spoon to place the flour in a dry measuring cup and a knife to level it off. Find a warm place for the dough to rise and you should be good.

Cinnamon-Pecan King Cake

Cinnamon-Pecan King Cake

Cinnamon-Pecan King Cake

Course: Cake
Cuisine: Southern
Prep Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 16
A King Cake is a must for a Mardi Gras celebration and this Cinnamon-Pecan King Cake is full of flavor and is made from a traditional yeast dough that isn't hard at all to make. Be sure to get a plastic baby to hide inside! 
Print Recipe


King Cake Dough

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup warm water (105 to 100 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cubed and softened


  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • gold, green, and purple sprinkles


  • Combine yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and warm water in a glass liquid measuring cup. Let sit until foamy, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Pour yeast mixture into a mixing bowl for a stand mixer. Use the dough hook attachment.
  • In a small bowl whisk together sour cream, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Add to yeast mixture. Beat at low speed to combine.
  • Turn mixer off and add flour, salt, and 1/3 cup sugar. Turn mixer on medium-low and mix until most of the flour is mixed in. Turn speed up to medium and beat for 2 minutes.
  • Add butter and beat until mixed in.
  • Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead four to five times. Be sure to coat your hands well with flour because the dough will be sticky.
  • Coat a large bowl with cooking spray and place dough in bowl , turning dough over to grease both sides. Cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel. Let dough rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch dough down and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle about 17 inches long and 15 inches wide
  • Spread melted butter on dough and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Sprinkle with pecans.
  • Roll the dough up, to form a long log, pinching seams to seal. Transfer to prepared pan with seam facing down and shape into a circle, pinching ends together. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a sharp knife, make about 7 or 8 1/4-inch slits in dough. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool.
  • To make glaze, place powdered sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Add boiling water and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Drizzle on cooled King Cake. 
  • Decorate with sprinkles. If desired, hide a plastic baby in the cake by inserting it into the underside.

Recipe slightly adapted from Louisiana Cookin’

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