How To Fill a King Cake With Bavarian Cream

As Mardi Gras approaches, the air in New Orleans fills with the irresistible aroma of freshly baked King Cakes. A beloved tradition, King Cakes are a delicious treat and a symbol of the festive season’s vibrant Mardi Gras celebrations.

Typically, the traditional King Cake is adorned with colorful sugar and a hidden trinket. Yet, we’re here to introduce you to a delightful twist that takes this classic dessert to new heights. So, stick around to learn how to fill a king cake with Bavarian cream.

The Timeless King Cake Tradition

king cake surrounded by mardi gras decorations

King Cake is a delectable pastry, often in the shape of an oval or ring. It’s closely associated with the vibrant festivities of Mardi Gras. Usually, this cake carries a hidden trinket inside. Finding it makes you the “king” or “queen,” meaning you’ll host the next celebration.

Traditionally, King Cakes are filled with cinnamon and sugar. Sometimes, it can also contain a filling of pecan or almond. In addition to the filling, King Cakes are often decorated with colored sugar.

Why Bavarian Cream: Elevating the King Cake Experience

The choice of filling for a King Cake can transform a traditional Mardi Gras treat into a decadent delight. When it comes to deciding the ideal filling, Bavarian cream rises to the occasion. So, what makes Bavarian cream the perfect partner for your Mardi Gras masterpiece?

  • Velvety Smoothness: The silkiness of Bavarian cream complements the tender cake layers, creating a harmonious blend that’s nothing short of indulgent.
  • Versatility of Flavor: While the classic vanilla variant is a popular choice, Bavarian cream can easily be infused with various flavors, from chocolate and fruit to coffee and more (see also: Does Chocolate Have Caffeine?).
  • Stability in Filling: Bavarian cream offers the practical advantage of stability. When properly prepared and set, it holds its form well, preventing any undesirable oozing or leakage.

Making King Cake Dough

Take a look at the recipe for creating the foundation of your King Cake — the dough. Whether you’re new to King Cake baking or a seasoned pro, this recipe will guide you in making the perfect dough.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, add the warm milk and water.
  2. Stir in a teaspoon of the sugar, sprinkle the yeast on top, and let it sit for about five to ten minutes until it becomes frothy.
  3. In a large bowl, combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the remaining sugar, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract.
  5. Pour the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients, add the unsalted butter, and mix.
  6. Add the egg mixture and continue to mix.
  7. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour to form a soft dough.
  8. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for five to seven minutes until smooth.
  9. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise until it doubles in size.

Making Bavarian Cream

With its smoothness and rich flavor, Bavarian cream is the perfect ingredient to elevate your King Cake to gourmet levels. Here’s how to make it.

King Cake or Roscon De Rey


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or flavoring of your choice)


  1. Add the gelatin to two tablespoons of water and let it sit for a few minutes until it becomes soft.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they become smooth and lighter in color.
  3. In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream and sugar over medium heat, stirring continuously.
  4. Bring the mixture to a simmer, ensuring the sugar is completely dissolved.
  5. Gradually add a small amount of the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks while whisking constantly (this raises the temperature of the egg yolks without cooking them).
  6. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the hot cream.
  7. Stir over medium heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (don’t let it boil).
  8. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the gelatin until it dissolves completely.
  9. Stir in your preferred flavoring and let cool down.

Filling the King Cake With Bavarian Cream

Now that you’ve mastered the art of making Bavarian cream, it’s time to take your King Cake to the next level. Filling the cake with this exquisite cream is where the magic truly happens. Take a look at the steps you should follow.

What You’ll Need

  • Your King Cake dough, rolled out and prepared
  • The freshly made Bavarian cream
  • A piping bag with a round tip (or a plastic zip-top bag with a corner snipped off)
Epiphany Cake Roscon de Reyes on a wooden table


  1. Roll out your King Cake dough into a large, even oval or rectangle (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick).
  2. Starting from one end of the dough, pipe a generous line of Bavarian cream (an inch away from the edges).
  3. Roll up the dough carefully, ensuring the Bavarian cream remains enclosed.
  4. Seal the edge of the dough to prevent any leakage during baking.
  5. Bring the two ends of the rolled dough together to create a ring shape and seal the ends.
  6. Place the filled King Cake on a baking sheet.
  7. Cover the shaped cake and let it rise for approximately half an hour.
  8. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  9. Bake the King Cake until it’s golden brown (the baking time may vary depending on your oven).
  10. Allow the cake to cool before hiding the plastic baby inside and covering it with your preferred colorful icing (or powdered sugar).


Now that you know how to fill a king cake with Bavarian cream for an indulgent Mardi Gras twist, you’re all set to start baking. Whether you’re following tradition or adding your twist, get ready to enjoy your homemade King Cake and celebrate Mardi Gras in style!

Kaitlyn James

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