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Small Batch Pull Apart King Cake

  • Author: Joy the Baker


A small-batch version of our cast iron Pull-Apart Mardi Gras King Cake. 



For the Dough

  • Scant 1 teaspoon (4 grams) active dry yeast
  • 3 teaspoons warm water
  • Small pinch of sugar
  • 1 1/31 2/3 + 2 tablespoons (167 grams to 230 grams) cups all-purpose flour, divided (you may not need all of the flour)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (19 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk, lightly warmed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon warm water
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature, beaten to combine
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling

  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons fresh ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 11 1/2 tablespoons whole milk plus a dash of lemon juice if you’d like
  • Pinch of salt
  • Splash of pure vanilla extract
  • yellow, green, and purple sprinkles?
  • A little plastic baby or your favorite feve


  1. In a small bowl whisk together yeast, warm water, and a pinch of sugar. Allow the mixture to foam to life, about 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine 1 1/3 cups flour, sugar, salt, softened butter, warm milk and water, eggs and vanilla extract.
  3. Add the yeast mixture.
  4. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula until it combines into a shaggy dough.
  5. Place a dough hook on the stand mixer and mix the dough on low speed until it begins to combine. Gradually add the remaining flour as needed until the dough forms a cohesive ball around the dough hook. The dough should have enough flour to pull away from the sides of the bowl and have enough liquid to feel moist but not sticky.
  6. Knead the dough on a clean counter for 10 turns to ensure the dough is well combined and springs back to the touch.
  7. Place the dough is a large, lightly greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  
  8. While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt butter.  Set aside.  Lightly grease 6 cups of a muffin pan and place on a rimmed backing sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness or just less than 1/2-inch thick.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Reserve a scant tablespoon of butter to sprinkle over the top.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  It might seem like a lot of sugar but you’re doing it right. You’ll lose some sugar to the countertop.
  10. Slice the dough into squares about 2-inches each. Carefully stack 3 or 4 of the sugar squares on top of one another. Use all the side scraps as well if you have those. 
  11. Layer into prepared muffin pan.
  12. Place a clean kitchen towel over the pan and allow to rest for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven. Place racks in the upper third and center of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  13. Place the pan in the oven and allow to bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to rest until the cake is cool enough to remove the center ramekin.
  14. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk and lemon (if using), salt and vanilla to a pourable stream. Drizzle over cooled cake and top with yellow, green, and purple sprinkles. Add a baby and share only if you want to.