King Cake, Gluten-Free

Art of Gluten-Free Baking
-makes 1-9 inch cake

Special Equipment Needed
-tube cake pan or Bundt cake pan
-instant read thermometer (this is handy but not necessary)

Note: this recipe uses my gf flour mix, Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in a cool, dark place):
1 1/4 C (170g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205g) white rice flour
1 C (120g) tapioca flour
1 C (165g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko or glutinous rice flour)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum


For Cake
4 C Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 C (1 stick; 4oz; 115g) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C plus 1 TBL granulated sugar
1 extra large egg
4 yolks from extra large eggs
3/4 C water, warm but not hot
2 TBL active dry yeast
1/2 C milk, warm but not hot
1/2 tsp cinnamon (for top of cake)
1 egg mixed with 1 TBL milk (egg wash for top of cake)
1 1″ plastic baby (or a dried bean)
extra butter and tapioca flour for the pan

For Icing
3 C powdered (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
1/4 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
Extra water as needed (about 1-3 TBL)

For Decoration
Purple, green, and yellow decorating sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour your pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, nutmeg, salt, and lemon zest.

In a small bowl, whisk 1 TBL sugar into the warm water until dissolved.  Whisk in yeast until dissolved.  Set aside to proof (get bubbly).

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and 1/2 C sugar until fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Add whole egg and 4 egg yolks, and beat about 2 minutes more. 

Add flour mixture and warm milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Beat until just combined.  Add yeast mixture a bit at a time, beating after each addition until just combined.  Before you add the yeast mixture, the dough will be very thick.  You need to add the yeast mixture a little at a time to make sure the beating process doesn’t flip the yeast water out of the bowl.  After all of the yeast is incorporated, beat on high for 3 minutes.

Spoon into prepared pan and smooth top.  Sprinkly 1/2 tsp of cinnamon evenly on top.  Set aside to rise until double in bulk (about 1 hr).  I usually set pan on top of my stove to take advantage of the warmth from the preheating oven.

Once the cake has risen to double in bulk, brush top with egg wash.  Place in oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the interior registers at least 190 degrees on an instant read thermometer inserted into the middle of the cake or a tester comes out clean.  If the top starts to brown too quickly, loosely tent with aluminum foil towards the end of the baking process.

Remove from oven and remove from pan to a wire rack.  Be very careful–this can be tricky if you have a removable bottom on your tube pan like I do.   If your pan has a removable bottom, remove sides and let cake cool a bit on the wire rack while still in the bottom/middle part of the pan.  When the cake has cooled enough to handle, remove side/middle part and let cake cool further on wire rack.  Once the cake is cooled enough to handle. press the baby or the bean into the cake via a spot on the bottom.

Prepare your icing.  In a large bowl, beat together the sifted confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice.  Add some water, 1 TBL at a time, if it’s too thick.  It should be somewhere between a spreadable thickness and a drizzle-able thickness.  Spread/drizzle the icing over the cake, letting it drip over the sides.  You can use a spatula to move the icing around if you need to.  Let the icing set just a bit, and then sprinkle the colored sugars over the cake in sections.  There should be one section for each color.

Alternately, you can forego the colored sugar and just tint portions of your icing in purple, green, and yellow, and then ice the cake with a section for each color.

The cake is best eaten the day it is baked.  It will store in an airtight container (or plastic wrapping) for a couple of days.