King Cake

A brioche style cake, shaped as a ring, topped with pastry cream that is typically prepared for Easter time in Spain and Argentina.

Belula March 22, 2016 March 31, 2020
Closeup shot of the King Cake topped with pastry cream

A special kind of cake for Easter, the King Cake: it has the shape of a crown and it's covered in pastry cream. This is something that you can find in every pastry shop in Argentina around the this time of the year. It smells really good.

Is it possible to make the King Cake if I don't have a stand mixer?

Yes, off course! When I attended cooking school, we had no machines, and we had to do everything by hand. This was done on purpose so that you can make everything, always. No excuses.

Can I replace the dry yeast by bakers (fresh) yeast?

Yes you can! you should multiply the amount of dry yeast in the recipe by 3.

How long should the yeast/milk mixture of the King Cake rest for?

Until it has doubled in volume. About 30 minutes. It will depend on the temperature of the room you are working in.

What accessory should I use for kneading the dough of the King Cake?

The hook.

How do I knead the dough of the King Cake by hand?

You must roll it on itself and tap against your kitchen counter over and over.

How do I know when to stop kneading the dough of the King Cake?

  • If you are using a stand mixer, you know the dough is ready when it no longer sticks to the bowl.
  • If you are doing it by hand, you know the dough is ready when it no longer sticks to your working surface.
90° shot of one slice of King cake topped with pastry cream

How do I shape the dough to from a crown?

Using your hands or your elbow, make a hole at the center of your dough.

Where should I shape the King Cake?

You should do this directly on the baking tray lined with parchment paper. If you move it after it's been shaped and proved you will deform the cake.

How do I keep the dough from shrinking back to its original ball shape?

In order to keep that hole at the center of your King Cake, you should place a small metallic ring covered in greased aluminum foil. This will hold the shape of the crown and prevent the dough from losing its shape during proving and while baking.

45° shot of the King cake with a serving spatula taking out a slice on the inferior left side of the photo

How should I cover the dough of the King Cake for the second proving, once it has been shaped?

You should put 4 coffee mugs (something that's higher than the King Cake) one in each corner of your baking tray. Then cover with plastic wrap making sure it doesn't touch the cake.

How long should I bake the King Cake for?

The baking time will be approximately of 30/40 minutes. It will depend on the oven, on the dough. Be attentive to its coloration and check regularly after 30 minutes have gone by.

How do I prevent the pastry cream from having lumps?

In order to obtain a smooth and shiny pastry cream, you should whisk with all your energy for 1 minute once you bring it to a boil.

How do I prevent the pastry cream from sliding down the sides of the King Cake while baking in the oven?

Using he tips of your fingers gently press down the dough to flatten it out before you pipe the pastry cream onto it.

Why should I coat the King Cake with syrup?

It will make it shine! It must be done while it's still hot.

Overhead shot slicing a portion of King cake with pastry cream

What should I use to coat the King Cake with syrup?

A brush.

Happy Easter!

Overhead closeup shot of the King cake
The ingredients used in all recipes on this site are measured using the metric system. I use a scale to be precise with my measurements and ensure good results. If you would also like to use a scale, here are some: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, France.
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Servings: 24 servings
Nutrition: 266 cal
Cuisine: Spanish



  • Milk 50 g
  • Yeast (dry) 8 g
  • Sugar 65 g
  • Honey 12 g
  • Salt 5 g
  • Eggs 1.5
  • Bread Flour 250 g
  • Butter 75 g
  • Lemon Zest 1
  • Orange Zest 0.5

Pastry Cream

  • Cornstarch 20 g
  • Sugar 60 g
  • Egg Yolks 3
  • Milk 250 g


  • Pearl Sugar

Egg Wash

  • Salt 1 pinch
  • Cream 1 tbsp
  • Egg Yolks 1
  • Eggs 1


  • Sugar 100 g
  • Water 100 ml


  • Dough

  • 1. Mix the milk (slightly warm), 35 grams of flour and the yeast. Form a dough and let it rest until it has doubled in volume.
  • 2. Put all the ingredients together plus the yeast/flour/milk mixture and knead until you obtain a smooth and unified dough.
  • 3. Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest covered for 2 hours.
  • 4. Press down the dough with your hands to release gases.
  • 5. Shape into a ball. Make a hole at the center.
  • 6. Paint brush with egg yolk and let it dry for about 10 minutes.
  • 7. Decorate with pastry cream and pearl sugar.
  • 8. Let it rest covered until it has doubled in size.
  • Pastry Cream

  • 1. Whisk the egg yolks and half of the sugar. Add the cornstarch. Set aside.
  • 2. Bring the milk and the other half of the sugar to a boil.
  • 3. Pour half of the milk over the egg yolk/sugar mixture whisking at the same time.
  • 4. Transfer the mixture back to the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat whisking all the time. Once it starts boiling, cook for two more minutes.
  • 5. Transfer to a hermetic container, cover in plastic wrap.
  • 6. Refrigerate until cold.
  • Egg Wash

  • 1. Whisk together all the ingredients.
  • 2. Strain through a thin mesh strainer.
  • Syrup

  • 1. Bring water and sugar to a boil.
  • 2. Transfer to a heat resistant container.
  • 3. Let it cool down at room temperature.
  • Finishing Touches

  • 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • 2. Bake the King Cake until golden.
  • 3. Once you remove from the oven coat the cake with the syrup.
  • 4. Let it cool down on a wire rack.
If you made this recipe I would really appreciate it if you leave a rating or comment below! Also, if you share on social media please use #cookwithbelula, I would love to see what you create!
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