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Vegan King Cake

Celebrate Mardi Gras with this Vegan King Cake recipe, featuring a classic cinnamon raisin filling, sweet glaze and of course a plastic baby!

Even if you don’t live in the south, you can still enjoy the flavors of Mardi Gras with this traditional Vegan King Cake recipe! It’s fluffy with a cinnamon raisin filling and a sugary glaze that will satisfy everyone.

Vegan King Cake

Laissez les bons temps rouler. It’s a Cajun French phrase that means, let the good times roll! That’s exactly the spirit that I’m in today sharing this VEGAN KING CAKE recipe with you. Can you sense how excited I am?!

So let the good vegan king cake roll…right into my mouth. Does that work?

I’ve never felt particularly connected to my Cajun rootsI don’t have an accent (neither does most of my family), I’ve never spoken Cajun French, and I’m not a huge fan of Mardi Gras. I know, blasphemy!

Don’t get me wrong, it is a really fun timeand I think everyone should experience one Mardi Gras in New Orleans—but it’s mostly long days with lots of alcohol and crowds while trying to dodge heavy bags of beads. It takes a lot of energy. BUT, to honor my home state of Louisiana, I’m going to make the most of this Carnival season!

What I do feel connected to are our traditional Cajun recipes and the sense of community you feel when you’re sharing a meal. I guarantee that if you meet a Louisiana family, they will probably offer to feed you within 5 minutes. We show our love with foodcan’t complain about that! So I’m sharing the love with all of you by making vegan Cajun recipes inspired by the foods I enjoyed growing up! Friends, I introduce delicious and super fluffy vegan king cake for you to feast on!

a slice of king cake on a plate

What is King Cake?

I like to think of King Cake as being a hybrid between coffee cake, cinnamon raisin bread, and a cinnamon roll. It’s a fluffy, yeasted cake that is filled with cinnamon, raisins, and sometimes nuts or cream cheese. It’s a seasonal cake that is enjoyed during the Carnival season, particularly on Mardi Gras.

One Cajun tradition that we have with king cakes is hiding a little plastic baby in the cake. Whoever finds the baby has to buy the next king cake! It’s fun, but just make sure you tell everyone to be careful because this is a choking hazard.

Whether you celebrate Mardi Gras or not, I know that you and everyone who lays their mouth on this vegan king cake will be in dessert heaven. It’s totally worth the lengthy process!

Who’s ready for a slice?

a frosted king cake featuring gold, green and purple sprinkles

Ingredients for This Vegan King Cake Recipe

The ingredients for this vegan king cake will look pretty familiar to what you might see in a cinnamon roll recipe. Sometimes you’ll find king cakes filled with cream, cream cheese, or other decadent fillings, but we’re keeping things pretty classic today and leaving those out.

Here’s everything you’ll need to make your very own vegan king cake:

  • Non-dairy milk. You can use any variety you’d like, but I recommend unsweetened.
  • Non-dairy butter. I typically use Earth Balance.
  • Active dry yeast. You’ll need one 1 ¼-ounce package of yeast.
  • Cane sugar. Just plain ol’ white sugar is perfect.
  • Egg replacer. You can use any egg substitute you’d like, such as Ener-G, Neat Egg or Bob’s Red Mill. You’ll need the equivalent to 1 egg.
  • Spices. We’re using salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in this vegan king cake recipe.
  • All-purpose flour. I recommend using plain AP flour, but if you try another variety let me know how it goes!
  • Neutral oil. We just need this to grease our pan. You could use something like canola oil, olive oil or avocado oil.
  • Brown sugar. Alternatively you could use coconut sugar, as it will give a similar toasty flavor
  • Pecans. This is optional, so you could always leave them out if you have a nut allergy
  • Raisins. Classic! Even if you’re a raisin hater, I highly suggest keeping them in this vegan king cake recipe to keep things traditional.
  • Powdered sugar. If you don’t already have powdered sugar on hand, you can make it by tossing some regular sugar in the blender and grinding it up into a powder.

a king cake dough being topped with the cinnamon raisin filling

a slice of king cake being pulled from the larger cake

How to Make a Homemade King Cake

I was not about to come up with a brand new king cake recipe (don’t fix what ain’t broken!), so I simply adapted this AllRecipes king cake recipe to make it vegan. The only substitutions I made were non-dairy milk for milk, non-dairy butter for butter (I use Earth Balance), and egg replacer for eggs. You can find egg replacer at most health food stores or on Amazon.

This recipe definitely is a labor of love, but I promise it is totally worth it. Think of this vegan king cake as a giant fluffy, buttery cinnamon roll with festive, sugary glaze. I dare you to tell me that this deliciousness isn’t worth a few hours of work in the kitchen! Here’s how ya do it:

  1. Bring milk to a boil, add 2 tablespoons butter and allow the mixture to cool back down to room temp
  2. Bloom your yeast in a bowl of warm water and sugar, then prepare your egg replacer
  3. Add the milk and butter mixture to the bowl with the yeast along with the egg replacer, more sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg
  4. Add flour little by little to form a dough, then kneed until smooth
  5. Place the dough ball in a greased bowl, cover with a warm, damp towel and set in a warm place to rise for a couple of hours
  6. Make the filling using coconut sugar, cinnamon, pecans, flour, raisins and melted butter
  7. Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a large rectangle and sprinkle the filling evenly onto the dough
  8. Time to roll your king cake! Starting at a wide side of the rectangle, fold the edge over and begin to roll the dough until you reach the other edge, then form it into a ring.
  9. Place the ring on the baking sheet, cut the edges of the dough every 1 inch around the ring, then set the king cake in a warm spot to rise again for about 45 minutes
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 375ºF oven. Push the plastic baby into a slice of the cake. Let the cake completely cool, then decorate!

a mardi gras king cake with a slice being removed

How to Decorate a King Cake

It’s not a king cake without some fun decorations! The first decoration you need to add goes INSIDE the cake! The baby! We don’t want to actually bake the baby into the cake because we definitely don’t want to be putting plastic in the oven. All you have to do is push the baby into the cake after it’s been cooked and cooled. If you want to make sure that it’s discreet where the baby is (it’s supposed to be a surprise) you could always insert the baby from the bottom of the cake.

Now it’s time to decorate the outside! The classic decorations would include a simple glaze and green, purple and gold sprinkles. The glaze is just a simple mixture of powdered sugar and water. If you don’t have powdered sugar, you can always pop some regular granulated sugar into the blender and grind it into a powder. Simple as that!

a slice of king cake holding a plastic baby

More Vegan Cajun Recipes

Food is my love language, and making vegan versions of my favorite foods I ate growing up is one of the best ways I know how to share the love with you! I’ve got quite a few classic vegan Cajun recipes on the blog if you’re looking for more goodness!

a king cake and a plastic baby

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How to make:

Vegan King Cake

Celebrate Mardi Gras with this Vegan King Cake recipe, featuring a classic cinnamon raisin filling, sweet glaze and of course a plastic baby!

Prep Time:
3 hours 45 mins
Cook Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
4 hours 25 mins
a king cake with a small plastic baby sitting on top
Author:
Emilie
Yield:
1 cake (16-18 slices) 1x
Rating: 4 from 1 reviews

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 ¼-ounce package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar*, divided
  • Egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg (Ener-G, Neat Egg, Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 ½2 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Neutral oil for greasing (olive oil, avocado oil, etc.)

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy butter, melted

Glaze and Decorating:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar**
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • Purple, green & yellow sprinkles
  • Plastic baby (optional, but traditional!)

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add milk. Stir constantly for 8-10 minutes; you’ll see bubbles forming along the edge. As soon as the milk begins to boil, remove from heat; add 2 tablespoons butter and stir until melted. Cool to room temperature.
  2. In a large bowl, add warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and stir once. Let it sit until the yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, prepare the egg replacer.
  3. After 10 minutes, add the milk/butter mix to the bowl with the yeast. Add the egg replacer; whisk to combine. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; whisk to combine.
  4. Add the flour into the large bowl ½ cup at a time. Stir after every addition of flour. When the dough gets hard to stir, use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl. After adding all the flour, place dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth, about 5-7 minutes. Form a large dough ball.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl (you can use the same one as earlier). Place dough ball in the bowl and coat all sides with oil. Cover with a warm, damp towel and set in a warm place (like an unheated oven). Let rise until it doubles in size, about 2 hours. After it rises, punch the dough.
  6. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with foil.
  7. For the filling: In a medium bowl, add coconut sugar, cinnamon, pecans, flour and raisins. Pour on melted butter; stir until a crumbly mixture forms.
  8. Place dough ball on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a large rectangle, approximately 8×16 in size. Sprinkle the filling evenly onto the dough and press down on it slightly. Starting at a wide side of the rectangle, fold the edge over and begin to roll the dough until you reach the other edge. Form an oval ring with the dough roll; use a little water to connect the edges of the roll.
  9. Place the ring on the baking sheet. Using scissors, cut the edges of the dough every 1 inch around the ring. Set in a warm spot to double in size, about 45 minutes.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned. Push the plastic baby into a slice of the cake. Let the cake completely cool.
  11. In a small bowl, add powdered sugar and water; stir until smooth. Drizzle glaze over the cake. Decorate with colored sprinkles and slice!

Notes

*Some cane sugar is not vegan, as it can be processed with animal bone char. I use Trader Joe’s Organic Sugar. Go here for vegan cane sugars: https://ordinaryvegan.net/vegansugar/.
**To make your own powdered sugar, simply put cane sugar in a blender or food processor and blend until a fine powder forms. Cheap & easy!

*Adapted from AllRecipes.

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