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. gfJules has you covered. But first, a little history.

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.” 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.

gluten free king cake baby

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. 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.

Gluten free King Cake

Click on the photo to watch my how-to tutorial video on making Gluten Free King Cake!

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!). King Cake was served at my baby shower by my daughter’s marraine (her Godmother, to you un-cajun-ites!), and I served King Cake at the baby shower I hosted for my daughter’s marraine (mah-rehn) in return.


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!


Gluten Free King Cake Recipe

  • Author:


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)


gluten free King Cake with colorful icing


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.

gluten free king cake with filling before rolling

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 9-10 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.

gluten free king cake rolled up

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 200º F then turned off.

gluten free king cake shaped

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

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

gluten free king cake close up

gluten free king cake pin - gfJules

49 thoughts on “Gluten Free King Cake Recipe

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. This sounded so exciting! I really wanted to try this customary King’s Cake! However, I have allergies to nightshades as well as gluten. I noticed that your all purpose flour is made with potato starch. Do you happen to have anything for those of us with a double allergy?

    • Hi Michelle, do you have my book, Free for All Cooking? In it, I give homemade flour blend recipes for successful baking without gluten or nightshades. I’d recommend checking that out and then using recipes like this one for King Cake!

    • How wonderful, Chris! Thanks so much for letting me know! I’m so glad you didn’t give up and now you have delicious King Cake back in your life! :)

  4. Jules, when I read all these rave reviews and saw your lovely photos, I knew I had to feature your cake in my roundup at All Gluten-Free Desserts! (The beautiful masks from Mardi Gras are my fave, so I love that you included one with your cake!) I’m ready for spring and Mardi Gras. Laissez les bon temps rouler indeed!


    • Yes Shirley, bring on spring!!! I love Mardi Gras, and all foods related to it! Thanks for featuring my King Cake on All Gluten-Free Desserts, my friend!

    • I’ve just wrapped it tightly and stored at room temperature. If you find it is not soft enough, you can quickly microwave it the next day, but it should be good for a day or two, at least. Enjoy!

  5. Well, this was interesting. I find that often gluten free doughs are very fragile but I stumbled upon a way to make it easier to work with. As I was out of chicken eggs, I used 1 extremely large duck egg (a friend has a flock). This made the dough stiffer and easier to work with. Also, I dusted the parchment paper with flour, rolled (pressed actually) the dough out on it, trimmed it, and then lifted one end and used it to roll the dough onto itself. Once it was formed, I just lifted the dough and parchment together onto the baking sheet and voila! I’ve also made this with the cream cheese filling. When I do that. I actually form the ring, then overturn a very large, greased Pyrex casserole dish over it and then flip the cake into the dish to cook. That way, there are no cream cheese explosions. Thanks Jules!

  6. Loved the king cake! I was so happy that my two girls could enjoy this treat again! I made it twice, once with your flour and once without. It was much, much better with your flour! I am from New Orleans so I know what I am talking about. My daughter informed me that I cant wait a whole year before I make it again!

    • Carol – I am so happy that your family has been loving this recipe!!! And very cool that you tried the recipe with another flour and that you had better results with mine! Woot woot! ;) Laissez les bon temps rouler!

  7. I made this yesterday for my Celiac group meeting and they gobbled it up! Everyone was raving about how wonderful it was. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Hi! I attempted this recipe this morning and my dough was very dry, I couldn’t roll it. Can I use water or milk (this was my test run, I have another to make tomorrow!) To make the dough more pliable?

    Thanks Jules! I have 4 bags of your flour at my house so I love these recipes (especially this one, being the Tulane Alumna I am!)

    • Hi Brie – I’m sorry the dough was dry for you. Absolutely, you can use water or milk – dairy or non-dairy – (preferred) to get the dough where you need it to be. Hopefully round two will work out great for you! Happy Mardi Gras! :)

  9. Hi Jules! I love your flour and every recipe of yours that I try always turns out just wonderful. Can’t wait to try this one soon, as soon I get over the bronchitis I have that is. In your directions, you state to use the melted butter for the TOPPING, to be brushed on the dough once it is rolled out into a rectangle. Do you mean the butter for the FILLING? I was a little confused at first! Thanks!

    • Hi Karen – so sorry you’re feeling bad! Bronchitis is NO fun! Hope you’re feeling up to many things soon, including making this recipe! :)
      I’ll go back and look at the recipe – topping and filling are the same thing, but you make a good point, I’ll change to make the term the same so there’s no confusion. Thanks for pointing that out! :)

  10. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe! I was only diagnosed 2 years ago and I miss so many things, this being one of them. From the comments about all of your recipes they seem wonderful. Thank you for making our lives tastier!

    • Sherri – so glad you’re ready to start experimenting and bringing old favorites back into your new gluten-free life! Happy I can help with good recipes! Enjoy this one!!! :)

  11. Hi Jules:

    I just used this recipe for a project with my kids and it was very tasty and turned out really cute! Love your blog.

    Warm regards,

    • Ashley, Bob’s gluten-free flour is quite different from my blend. For starters, it doesn’t contain any binding agents to hold the final product together (like xanthan gum) and it is made with bean flours that can leave a funky aftertaste in delicate baked goods like this cake. You could use it in this recipe if you added your own xanthan gum, but it still wouldn’t come out looking or tasting just like this one. If you want to read more about my flour, click here! It allows you to make a regular wheat flour recipe without having to add expensive gums and without leaving any aftertaste or grit. I hope you get to make this cake – it’s so fun!

    • Ashley, Once you use Jule’s flour, you will never use Bob’s red Mill again. You use it in any recipe the same as wheat flour and the taste is unbelievable!

  12. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’m a new orleanian that’s moved out of state. I’ve been making king cakes myself since I moved away, but have never really been all that pleased with my cakes. now I have a newborn that’s lactose intolerant so I was seeking a dairy free recipe and found yours. I just made it to kick off the 2012 season and am so impressed! I think it’s my best cake yet! So happy!

    • Andrea that’s fantastic! So glad you loved the recipe and that it suited you New Orleans roots & your family’s dietary needs!!!

  13. Your recipe looks and sounds delicious (and perfect for me to make to send for my son and a classmate with food allergies. Could Ener-G Egg Substitute be used in your recipe in place of the Eggs? Thank you so much.

    • Becki – my apologies, somehow I missed seeing your question! Regarding the eggs, in this recipe I think I would prefer using the flaxseed meal + water egg sub instead of Ener-G. I tend to love Ener-G in cookies, but not so much in cakes or breads. Hope that helps!

  14. This was a delicious recipe. I was quite surprised how easy the dough was to work with and didn’t take very long at all to make this gem. Another keeper! Thanks so much! :)

    • So glad you loved it! King Cake just looks hard (which is half the fun!), but even if you mess it up a bit, you just cover it with glaze and sanding sugar so no one can tell! ; )

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