Buddy the “Cake Boss” Valastro Shares His King Cake Recipe Just in Time for Mardi Gras

posted: 02/04/16
by: TLCme
Mardi Gras king cake

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is right around the corner. And what better way to celebrate a day of excess than baking a king cake? These delicious treats are actually rooted in religion: The Mardi Gras season starts off on January 6, or the epiphany, according to Christians, which was when the three wise men visited Jesus. The plastic baby baked into the cake is meant to represent him, and that's why the lucky person who gets the baby is named "king" for a day. Tradition states that he or she must host the next party and provide the King Cake.

No matter what you believe, there's no denying that these cakes are delicious. Though there are plenty of ways to make them, each varying by locale, the ones you're most likely to get are made of twisted sweet dough topped with icing or sugar, usually colored purple, green, and gold. Each color has significance: Purple symbolizes justice, green represents faith, and gold stands for power.

Make one of your own using Buddy the "Cake Boss" Valastro's own recipe, which he debuted on the "Rachael Ray Show," below:


For the Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for flouring the cake pans
  • 2 cups sugar, plus more for unmolding the cake
  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped citron
  • Unsalted butter, for greasing two cake pans
For the Glaze:
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Purple, green and gold sugar crystals
  • 1 cup whole milk


Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350F.

Put the flour, sugar, vegetable oil, baking powder, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If you don't have a stand mixer, use a hand mixer with the blending attachments.) Mix on slow until the ingredients are just blended together, a few seconds, then raise the speed to low-medium and continue to mix until smooth, approximately 1 additional minute.

With the motor running, add 1 egg at a time, adding the next one after the previous one has been absorbed into the mixture. Stop the motor periodically and scrape the bowl from the bottom with a rubber spatula to integrate ingredients, and return the mixer to low-medium speed. After all the eggs are added, continue to mix for an additional minute to ensure the eggs have been thoroughly mixed in. This will help guarantee that the sugar is dissolved and that the flour has been thoroughly mixed in, which will help produce a luxurious mouth-feel in the final cake.

With the motor running, add the milk, 1/2 cup at a time, stopping the motor to scrape the sides and bottom between the two additions. Add in lemon rind, orange rind, raisins, and citron. Continue to mix for another minute or until the mixture appears smooth.

Before baking, be sure the batter is at 70-73F or the cake will crown.

Grease two 9-inch bundt cake pans (2 inches high) with the butter and flour them.

Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and get as much batter as possible out.

Bake until the cake begins to pull from the sides of the pan and is springy to the touch, 35-40 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour. Insert the King Cake Baby into the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough. The cakes should be at room temperature before you remove them from the pan. Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, top with sugar, and one at a time, turn the pans over and turn the cakes out onto parchment; the sugar will keep it from sticking. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to decorate.

For the glaze:

Combine the ingredients and beat until smooth. To assemble, drizzle cake with the glaze. Sprinkle with sugar crystals, alternating colors. Cut into the cake and hope you do not get the baby!