When many Americans think of Mardi Gras they think of a lot of booze, getting beaded and finding the baby in the king cake. Even though there won't be any parties this year, you can perfect your cake making skills and enjoy it right in your own home.

The cake consists of soft cinnamon dough with decorative icing and sugar on top. Each colorful sugar on top has a meaning, purple for justice, gold/yellow for power and green for faith. Not only is it delicious, but it's sure to bring good luck and make your taste buds dance.

One person is in for an extra treat if they get the slice with the plastic baby inside, which represents baby Jesus. The baby will bring prosperity and good luck to those who find it.

To make the perfect king cake this year, follow this recipe from Betty Crocker to start your Mardi Gras off right.

What You Need:

  • 3 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 package Rapid Rise Yeast
  • 1 cup Milk
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened, Cut into 12 Pieces

Cinnamon Filling

  • ⅔ cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 ½ cup teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened


  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Milk
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla


  • Dark green, purple and yellow sugars
  • Miniature plastic baby

How To Make It:

  1. Mix 2 1/2 cups flour and yeast in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, on low for about 30 seconds.
  2. Heat milk, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and milk is between 120°F to 130°F
  3. With the mixer on low, pour in liquids and mix until incorporated. Add eggs one at a time. Continue mixing until a shaggy dough forms. Clean off the paddle and switch to the dough hook. Mix in the remaining 1 cup flour a little at a time, adding more or less flour as needed to make a soft dough. Add the softened butter, a piece at a time, kneading until each piece of butter is absorbed.
  4. Knead for eight minutes on low. The dough should completely clear the sides of the bowl. If it is too sticky, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing in thoroughly before determining if more flour is needed. If the dough seems too dry, spritz with water from a spray bottle a couple of times, mixing in thoroughly before determining if more water is needed. Every 2 minutes, stop the machine, scrape the dough off the hook, and then continue kneading.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times by hand to be sure it’s smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball. Place dough into a greased bowl. Turn once so greased surface is on top. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour
  6. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Combine butter with cinnamon mixture and mix well.
  7. Roll the chilled dough into a 10 x 20-inch rectangle. Spread the filling on half of the long side of the dough. Fold the dough in half covering the filling. Pat dough down firmly so the dough will stick together. Cut dough into three long strips. Press the tops of the strips together and braid the strips. Press the ends together at the bottom. Gently stretch the braid so that it measures 20 inches again. Shape it into a circle/oval and press the edges together.
  8. Transfer the ring to a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the cake until it is golden brown, 20 – 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes on a baking sheet and then place it on a cooling rack to cool completely before icing. To hide the baby in the cake, if desired, make a small slit in the bottom of the cake and put the miniature plastic baby in after the cake has cooled.
  9. Icing: In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth (add additional milk if the mixture is too thick or powdered sugar if too thin).
  10. Spoon icing over the top of the cake. Immediately sprinkle on colored sugar, alternating between the three colors.
A float is seen in the parade down St. Charles Avenue on Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans, Louisiana, Feb. 12, 2013. Reuters