This Gluten-Free King Cake recipe has all of the traditional, delicious flavor and none of the gluten or dairy! Make one to celebrate the delicious King Cake tradition.
Article & Recipe Credit: GF Jules
The Mardi Gras or Carnival season officially begins on January 6th or the “Twelfth Night,” also known as the “Epiphany.” Epiphany comes from a Greek word that means “to show.” Jesus first showed himself to the three wisemen and to the world on this day. As a symbol of this Holy Day, a tiny trinket like a plastic (formerly porcelain) baby or bean is hidden inside each King Cake. When the cake is sliced and served, each guest looks to see if their piece contains the “baby.” If so, that person is the “King” for a day – and is also responsible to host the next party and provide the next King Cake! Mardi Gras ends on Shrove Tuesday – also called “Fat Tuesday” – which is always the day before Ash Wednesday.
King Cakes have many looks, the most classic being a crown-shaped pastry, often covered with glaze, and dotted with the sugared colors of Carnival: gold, purple and green to symbolize power, justice and faith. Some have fillings, others do not, though they all house the baby prize. This Gluten-Free King Cake recipe, which you can also make dairy-free, joyfully brings the King Cake back to many of our tables!
For a little more Southern flavor, try this Gluten-free Louisiana Shrimp and Grits recipe too!
Gluten-Free King Cake Recipe
This Gluten-Free King Cake recipe has all of the traditional flavor and none of the gluten! Make it dairy-free too.
- ¼ cup warm water 110 F
- 1 Tbs. granulated cane sugar
- 2 ¼ tsp. 1 packet highly active, fast rise yeast
- ½ cup unsalted butter or non-dairy alternative e.g. Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks
- 3 Tbs. granulated cane sugar
- ¼ cup warm milk dairy or non-dairy
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups GFJules All Purpose Flour
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt ¼ tsp. salt if using non-dairy alternative
- 2 Tbs. milk dairy or non-dairy for brushing on pastry before baking
- 4 Tbs. butter or non-dairy alternative e.g. Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup GFJules All Purpose Flour
- 1 apple peeled and chopped
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans optional
Gluten-Free Icing Ingredients:
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1-2 Tbs. milk dairy or non-dairy
- ¼ tsp. almond extract optional
- Colored sugar purple, gold and green
- Prepare the filling by melting the 4 tablespoons butter and setting aside. In a separate bowl, toss the chopped apples with the GFJules All Purpose Flour. Whisk together the brown sugar and cinnamon; stir the floured apples in with the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
- In a small bowl, combine the warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar and yeast; stir and set aside to proof. If the mixture is not bubbly and doubled in volume after 5-10 minutes, toss out and start again with fresh yeast.
- In a large mixing bowl, blend the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and butter until lighter and fluffy. Add the milk and eggs and beat until well-integrated. Add 2 cups of GFJules All Purpose Flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg and mix well. Stir in the proofed yeast-sugar-water mixture, then add the remaining 1 cup GFJules All Purpose Flour. Beat another 1-2 minutes, until the dough is clumping together and is not too sticky.
- Prepare a large baking sheet by lining with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a pastry mat or a clean counter dusted lightly with GFJules All Purpose Flour. Roll the dough out to an elongated rectangle 24-30 inches long by 9-10 inches wide. Brush on the melted butter for the topping, coating the entire rectangle. Sprinkle the topping mixture on top of the melted butter, spreading to the ends of the rectangle, but leaving 1/2-1 inch without topping on each of the long sides of the rectangle.
- Using a pastry blade or a spatula, gently peel up one of the long sides of the rectangle and begin rolling it as you would a jelly roll. Once the entire pastry is rolled upon itself until no pastry remains unrolled, a 24-30 inch long roll will remain.
- Gently pull the two ends of the roll together to form a circle or oval. Dabbing the ends of the pastry with water, join the ends together to close the circle. Gently transfer the ring to the parchment-lined baking sheet, or transfer the ring on the silicone baking mat to the baking sheet. Brush the milk on top of the exposed pastry, then using a large sharp knife, make a cut in the top of the pastry every 2 inches to expose one layer of the roll.
- Spray a sheet of wax paper with cooking oil, then cover the cake and let rise in a warm spot for 20-30 minutes like a warming drawer or an oven heated to 200 F then turned off.
- Preheat oven to 350 F (static) or 325 F (convection).
- Remove the wax paper from the cake and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. While cooling, mix icing ingredients and drizzle over the cake. Sprinkle colored sugar on top of wet icing, alternating colors between each cut in the top of the cake. Once cooled, insert a pecan or small plastic baby into the underside of the cake to hide it. Serve when fully cooled