Gluten Free King Cake Recipe

Gluten Free King Cake Recipe

A gluten free King Cake recipe should let you honor your family’s tradition without sacrificing the texture and flavor you’re used to: things rice-based gluten free flours won’t let you do. My gfJules Flour, and this surprisingly simple recipe, has you covered.

But first, a little history.

gfJules Gluten Free King Cake overhead (1)

The Story of King Cake

After the Twelfth Night of Christmas, this culinary tradition begins in the South that most folks only associate with Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans. Biblical tradition holds that kings visited the baby Jesus by traveling for 12 days to reach him on what we now call “Epiphany.”

gluten free king cake close up - gfJules

Beginning at Epiphany and lasting only until Mardi Gras day, the tradition of a King Cake in the Southern United States has evolved from what was brought by European settlers in the 1700s to what we now recognize as one of the preeminent symbols of the revelry of Mardi Gras.


Today, King Cakes are used to select Mardi Gras Kings and Queens as well as to celebrate the season in households and at parties across the country.

gfJules gluten free king cake side

King Cakes have many looks, the most classic being a crown shaped pastry dotted with the sugared colors of Carnival: purple, gold and green. Some have fillings, others do not, though they all house a hidden trinket like a plastic (formerly porcelain) baby.

gfJules gluten free king cake CU


Making a Gluten Free King Cake

Watch my how-to tutorial video on making Gluten Free King Cake!



You’ll see from the video that this cake is made by spreading the yummy cinnamon and sugar mixture down the middle of the dough.


gfJules gluten free king cake dough

Once the filling is distributed the length of the rolled out dough, spread across the width of the dough before rolling up like a cinnamon roll.


Then roll it up like a log (much like the process for making homemade gluten free cinnamon rolls).

gluten free king cake rolled up

Then take the ends and pull them together gently to make the ring, or crown. This process is made easy because of my award-winning gfJules Flour which adds stretch to doughs like these. Not only is the dough easy to work with, but the finished product is light and flaky, too!

gluten free king cake shaped

Do not … I repeat, do not try this with ordinary gluten free flour blends! You will wind up with a pile of crumbly dough that makes a holy mess and will make you cry (ok, maybe I’m the only one who cries when gluten free recipes go horribly wrong, but you get the idea). There’s just no sense in wasting time, energy or excitement about a recipe only to have it fail when it’s not even your fault — it’s because of the gluten free flour! All gluten free flours are different, and recipes like this one make it painfully obvious!

You need a blend that is soft and light but strong enough to allow you to roll it out and stretch it around the fillings. That’s hard to come by. But my gfJules Flour won’t let you down. You’ll see: gluten free King Cake will be in your very delicious future!

gfJules gluten free king cake wide

Ok, back to the rolling. Next comes the fun part that makes this cake truly unique: the baby!

The trinket hidden inside each cake adds to its popularity, although the uninitiated often fail to recognize that finding the trinket inside your piece of cake may come not only with privileges (good fortune and/or becoming the King or Queen of the ball) but just as often with responsibilities (bringing the next cake!).

My daughter’s marraine (mah-rehn) — her Godmother, to you non-cajun-ites!) served a King Cake at my baby shower and I served King Cake at her baby shower in return. It was quite a fun tradition to celebrate!


Until creating this recipe, I was unable to enjoy anything but the tiny plastic baby trinket I found in my King Cake, as I had never had a gluten-free version. This cinnamon-roll-like creation is fast becoming a family favorite here, as the first one I made was devoured in a single evening! You’ll love it too!

See my King Cake on the CBS-Baltimore News! (click for video here)

To see a video tutorial on how-to shape and make this delicious King Cake, hop to my YouTube video!

One more note: I don’t make this cake very often (about once a year, to be exact), so my tweaks are infrequent, but those who have made it before may notice that I’ve added more liquid and reduced the bake time on the recipe this year. Just trust me. 🙂

gfJules gluten free king cake overhead

Each time you make a gluten free King Cake it will look a little different, but none will be any less delicious!

Gluten Free King Cake Recipe

Gluten Free King Cake Recipe

Yield: 1 cake
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Gluten Free King Cake is a tradition that shouldn't be missed. This yeasty, cinnamon-y, sweet roll is nearly as pretty as it is delicious!


Filling Ingredients:

Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1-2 Tbs. milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1/4 tsp. pure almond extract (optional)
  • colored sugar (purple, gold and green)


Prepare the filling by tossing the chopped apples together with the gfJules™ All Purpose Flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, melt the 4 tablespoons butter, and set both bowls aside.

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 light and fluffy.  Add the milk and eggs and beat until well-integrated. Add only 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 silicone pastry mat or onto a clean counter dusted lightly with gfJules™ All Purpose Flour (be sure to have enough counter space, at least 30 inches wide).

Roll the dough out to an elongated rectangle 24-30 inches long by 6-8 inches wide. Brush on the melted butter, coating the entire rectangle.

Sprinkle the filling mixture on top of the melted butter, spreading to the ends of the rectangle, but leaving 1/2-1 inch without toppings on each of the long sides of the rectangle.

Using a bench scraper 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 or parchment 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 200º F then turned off.

Preheat oven to 350º F (static) or 325º F (convection).

Remove the paper from the cake and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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 (purple; green; yellow colored sugar) between each cut in the top of the cake.

Insert a pecan, M&M or plastic baby into the underside of the cake to hide it.

Wishing you and yours a sweet Mardi Gras!
Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Pin for later!


Gluten Free & Dairy Free King Cake for Mardi Gras gfJules

gluten free king cake pin - gfJules

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82 thoughts on “Gluten Free King Cake Recipe

  1. Question on the optional filling: I’m not too keen on the apples – I like traditional cinnamon and sugar – so do I also omit the added flour in the filling? I always filled my gluten-full king cake with only melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon – the flour seems more like something that go along with the apples.

    • Hi Susan, you’re exactly right on that! If you’re leaving out the apples, you shouldn’t need the extra gluten free flour (it’s largely there to absorb liquid from the apples). If you have a filling recipe you love for gluten-full king cakes, feel free to just sub that in this recipe with the gluten free dough. ENJOY!

  2. I finally got around to ordering your flour and making this recipe. It came out so good that I literally did a victory dance!!! I have tried other people’s gf king cakes and the dough has always been like a hard biscuit but this is soft and “bread” like. I have always lived in South Louisiana and grew up eating the “best of the best” king cakes so now I can make my own best of the gf best! Thank you!

    • Oh Stacey, that is Mardi Gras music to my ears! And your King Cake looks spectacular!!!!! So happy for you to have great food traditions like King Cake back in your life!! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know!

  3. Pingback: Feast of Benvenuto Vita, Luce & Amore: Festive Foods [Belated] – The Lady of Light Chantry, A Deanic Matronite Harmonium

  4. made this king cake this weekend, and everyone loved it – even our non- GF family members! The instructions were great, and there were no surprises. Everything worked exactly the way Jules said it would. Also, this was my first time using the GFJules flour, and it was so much nicer to work with. It had a nice stretch and texture. A non-GF family member commented that this was the first GF baked item that didn’t taste grainy! Will continue to buy the flour, and make this recipe again next year. Only change I made was using vanilla extract instead of almond extract in the icing, and adding more apples to filling 🙂

    • I’m so happy you went for it! It’s such a fun treat to make and to share, but can seem a little overwhelming to think of making at first. I’m thrilled that you loved it and enjoyed using my gfJules Flour — it’s amazing what a difference a non-gritty gluten free flour can make!!! And yes, the stretch! It’s so much easier to work with when the dough doesn’t crumble into a bunch of bits!
      So glad you enjoyed this great treat and are looking forward to much more happy baking!!!

  5. Excellent outcome! It was so moist and light. I believe allowing the yeast to double in warm water and sugar, and adding baking powder was what gave it the best outcome. I had tried a different recipe where I had mixed the yeast into the dough and not added baking powder and it turned out dense. Also, I used Pamela’s Bread Mix instead of any gf flour with both recipes, but this recipe turned out awesome, like a real King Cake! My family loved it. Thanks a bunch.”🙏

      • Yes, indeed! I tried making the King cake with a different flour today, using cup4cup flour and it turned out to be a little crumbly and dry. I think I will go back to using Angela’s Bread mix flour or try to find your Jules flour brand somewhere. I had no luck finding your flour at the grocery stores around here.

        • Hi Veena, luckily you still have time to purchase my gfJules Flour on line to make this wonderful recipe! The gluten free flour you use truly does make a difference (as you’ve experienced, and perhaps seen from others’ comments, as well). Here’s the link to the gfJules Shop page where you can order my award winning gfJules Flour and baking mixes for all your baking needs, or you can shop on Enjoy the recipe!

  6. I am sure this recipe is wonderful – but my first time ever using gluten-free flour and I don’t think I got it so right! About to bake it now even though it looks like this! I will send another photo after I smother it with the frosting! This is for my husband’s trivia night at the bar so I don’t think the boys will care too much!

    • LOL I can only imagine it will be devoured, no matter what! Icing covers all manner of ugliness! 🙂

  7. We tried this with Bob’s gluten free all purpose flour and it didn’t hold together/became a blob of goodness. I was wondering if refrigerating the dough before rolling it out would help… for those using a different flour. It’s still cooling so we haven’t tried it but it smells wonderful 🤤🎉

    • Hi Shauna, Bob’s Red Mill is a very different flour blend and won’t necessarily work so well in my recipes. It sounds like you have the right attitude about it – I hope it worked out ok and and next time maybe you get to try it with my gfJules Flour and see how yummy it really can be!

    • You should have added xanthan gum to that flour mix for it to have worked. If you try the 1:1 Bob’s Red Mill you should get better results as it already has xanthan gum. I will be trying it soon with the Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 and coconut oil instead of the Earth Balance or butter. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

  8. thank you for this! because of a craving I was researching king cakes and found everything I need to know here! I am sounding like a commercial review, ha! I may have to make one this year…

    • Hi Tina, take a look at my vegan egg replacer recommendations in this recipe and choose one that you like that is good for breads: Let me know what you decide and how it turns out! I would lean towards a flaxseed meal replacement since this is a yeast application, but there might be another one you would prefer.

  9. Pingback: Recipes for Mardi Gras: gluten free Mardi Gras King cake

  10. I have done King Cake using the cinnamon roll recipe on the Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust/Cinnamon roll mix but I was not thrilled with the results. I would like it to come out softer.
    I am studying your recipe here but I could do with a corn free flour. A little of the starch in a mix is tolerable for me but actual corn flour would bother me. I have Bob’s baking flour but it does not say it is for bread.

    • Hi Louise, I can’t say I have worked with any of Bob’s flours – they’re not certified gluten free so I won’t risk it. If you’re looking for a corn-free blend, I have a ratio recipe you can follow in this article, or try Better Batter Flour. I hope you get to try this recipe again with a good flour blend so it comes out yummy and soft like it should!

      • Since when is Bob’s gluten-free flour not certified? They have their own separate building for gluten-free products and I’m sure they have been certified. Diane

        • Hi Diane, certified gluten free means that an independent agency certifies a company’s product by testing it and auditing and doing spot checks, etc. It also means that the independent certifier has recall authority and allows the manufacturer to display its certification on the company’s products. Bob’s Red Mill has never been independently certified and according to their QA department when I asked them on a site visit last year, they have no intentions of ever submitting to an outside certifier. Here’s more information about certifications so that you can determine the difference when you are shopping and reading labels. I hope that helps.

    • I did not rate this recipe because I have not yet tried it. Maybe in a couple months (long past Mardi Gras, but that’s OK with me. I wanted to comment on Bob’s Red Mill flours. I have used his separate flours, in the beginning of my GF journey 8 years ago. It was tough having to blend my own flours, but I survived and things have gotten a lot better/easier since learning of so many other options. I have recently used a GF muffin mix by Bob’s and found it to be very good and I did not have any reactions to anything I’ve tried that Bob’s makes. I live near there so it is easy to find his products. I also have not yet used any of Jules products (for me, it has been a matter of extremely tiny budget due to medical bills not related to GF) but I have tasted some at our annual GF Food & Allergy Expo. As soon as I get my budget arranged better, I will be ordering. In the meantime, I’ve tried some of your recipes with the ingredients I have available and have enjoyed many fine goodies. Looking forward to enjoying a lot of GF Jules in the near future.

  11. What fun it would be to have one of these for our family Fat Tuesday! I am a Celiac with Dairy, Egg, & Sugar intolerance, as well & 3 of my 6 children are Gluten & either/or Dairy & Egg intolerant, also. I have a few questions about this recipe. You show some substitutions (Dairy free “butter” etc.) but what about the eggs? Can Ener-G Egg replacement or Follow Your Heart Vegan Eggs be used? Also, can Stevia or Coconut Sugar be used in place of the Cane Sugar? Your products have been a lifesaver for us.