By Claire Stern
Updated Feb 16, 2015 @ 10:16 am
John Sherman/King Arthur Flour

Usher in Mardi Gras with this glittering confection, straight from our baking whiz friends at the venerable King Arthur Flour test kitchens in Vermont. The traditional sweet, made with a brioche-like dough and filled with cream cheese, is strewn with icing and vibrant sugars that mirror the colors of a super spangled Mardi Gras parade float. “Basically, a Mardi Gras celebration needs three things: color, music, and a King Cake, a custom brought to New Orleans from Europe in the late 1800s,” explains Kate Walker of King Arthur Flour. “Sometimes a tiny plastic toy baby or coin are baked inside or placed underneath, and whoever receives it is called ‘King for a day’ and is supposed to make next year’s King Cake.” We have a feeling that if you make one, your guests will feel like royalty, too.

Buy all the ingredients, including the colored sparkling sugars, online at


1/2 cup (1 stick, 8 tablespoons) butter, melted

3/4 cup lukewarm milk

2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, white reserved

3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dried milk

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon lemon oil, or 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind


8-ounce package cream cheese

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/8 teaspoon lemon oil


2 cups confectioners' sugar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons + 1 to 2 teaspoons milk, enough to make a thick but pourable glaze


Yellow, purple, and green fine sparkling sugars

Candied red cherries (optional)

For more yummy details on baking this sweet sparkler, including variations on the filling, head to