Praline-Cream Cheese King Cake


A sweet twist.

Active Time:
45 mins
Rise Time:
2 hrs
Bake Time:
25 mins
Cool Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs
2 cakes

If you're looking for a new recipe to celebrate Mardi Gras, here's a must-try for the season from the Southern Living Test Kitchen. Baker extraordinaire and Test Kitchen pro Pam Lolley put a new tasty twist on the celebratory dessert. Two New Orleans classics come together in a delicious Mardi Gras creation that you can make at home. In our Praline-Cream Cheese King Cake recipe, finely chopped pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon are added to the cream cheese filling for a little bit of sweetness, spice, and crunch. Still topped with the traditional vanilla glaze and colorful sparkling sugars, guests will love the flavor profile when they take that first bite. If making your own King Cake sounds intimidating, it shouldn't be. Follow this recipe and don't forget the baby for a traditional touch.

Praline-Cream Cheese King Cakes

Greg DuPree; Prop styling: Claire Spollen; Food styling: Chelsea Zimmer



  • 1 (16-oz.) container sour cream

  • ¼ cup butter

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • cup plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided

  • 2 (¼-oz.) envelopes active dry yeast

  • ½ cup warm water (100°F to 110°F)

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 6 ¾ cups bread flour, divided

Praline-Cream Cheese Filling

  • 2 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans, divided

Creamy Vanilla Glaze

  • 3 cups (about 12 oz.) powdered sugar

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 3 - 4 tablespoons whole milk

Additional Ingredients

  • Purple, green, and gold/yellow sparkling sugars


  1. Prepare the Dough: Combine sour cream, butter, salt, and ⅓ cup of the sugar in a saucepan over medium-low. Cook, stirring, until butter melts, 5 minutes. Remove from heat; cool to 100°F to 110°F, 15 minutes.

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

  3. Combine sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, 2 eggs, and 2 cups of the flour in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed until smooth, 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; gradually add 4 cups of the flour, beating until Dough forms.

  4. Turn out onto a surface dusted with ¼ cup of the flour. Knead, gradually adding remaining ½ cup flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (It should be tacky but release easily from surface.) Place in a well-greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover; let rise in a warm place (85°F) until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  5. Prepare the Praline-Cream Cheese Filling: Beat cream cheese, sugars, cinnamon, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in egg.

  6. Prepare the baked cakes: Gently punch Dough down; divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle (keep remaining portion covered). Spread half of the filling over rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle with ½ cup of the pecans. Starting at 1 long side, carefully roll up rectangle in a jelly-roll fashion. Place, seam side down, on a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form a ring. Moisten ends with water; pinch together to seal. Repeat with second portion and remaining filling and pecans. Cover; let rise in a warm place (85°F) until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

  7. Preheat oven to 350°F. Uncover Dough rings, and bake in preheated oven until deep golden brown and done, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes completely on pans set on wire racks, about 1 ½ hours.

  8. Prepare the Creamy Vanilla Glaze: Stir together powdered sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir in 3 tablespoons milk. Add additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until pourable but still opaque. Pour evenly over cakes; sprinkle with sparkling sugars, alternating colors to form bands.

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