Sunday, February 22, 2015

Vegan king cake

vegan king cake with marzipan

Yes, Mardi Gras was five days ago. Yes, we are in the midst of the Lenten season. Yes, there are approximately 350 days until the next occasion requiring a king cake. And here I am, sharing a vegan king cake recipe with you.

To that I beg you to consider if June has ever been “on time” regarding holidays, or if she has ever posted anything that could be considered remotely seasonal. (Hint: I haven’t.) Therefore, I am not interrupting any kind of pattern of timeliness on this blog by posting a king cake five days late.

Not to mention, this is fairly nontraditional already. I took inspiration from the recipe on Food 52, which uses marzipan in lieu of the traditional sanding sugar. Not having freeze-dried blueberries on hand for a nice purple color, I just used freeze-dried raspberries to tint some circles of homemade marzipan a reddish-purplish.

So there you have it. If it helps, you can call this a “cinnamon sugar-stuffed ring-shaped loaf topped with marzipan” rather than “king cake”.

Tastes the same either way.

But don’t think I’m about to neglect the history of the king cake. It’s quite interesting, actually. You’ll see the colors of the sanding sugar / marzipan / beads / whatever have specific meanings, as told by the Mardi Gras New Orleans website:

Purple represents justiceGreen represents faithGold represents power.

King cake—named after the Biblical three kings who visit baby Jesus—is a symbol of fatty and delicious food eaten before the fasting of Lent. Of course, it wasn’t always like that. As Wikipedia tells us:

“What started out, roughly 300 years ago, as a dry French bread-type dough with sugar on top and a bean inside is now a sweet, sugary and iced Danish-type dough braided with cinnamon inside and a plastic doll underneath.”

What should we expect? Food gets richer over time. It’s just science.

In addition, we’ve started adding little trinkets, normally little creepy-looking babies

WHAT IS THAT. source

to our cakes as a way of symbolizing luck for the person who gets that particular slice. I opted out of that particular tradition. Obviously. I’m not sure about how lucky I’d feel if I bit down on a little piece of baby-shaped plastic.

Today, you can stuff king cakes with all kinds of shit. Cream cheese, cinnamon sugar, nuts—all of which are in today’s king cake, I might mention.

Okay, I did use cashews instead of cream cheese, but whatever.

Yeah, it’s not a traditional “cake”. I find king cakes are more like a cinnamon roll ring anyway. But still delicious. Especially with the marzipan on top.

Suffice it to say you’re gonna want to save this for next year. Here’s the recipe.


Vegan king cake

Adapted from Food 52



184 grams • nondairy milk, heated to about 115 degrees F • ¾ cup

7 grams • active dry yeast • 2 ¼ teaspoons

54 grams • granulated sugar • ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon

113 grams • coconut oil, melted and cooled • ½ cup

5 grams • ground flaxseed • 2 teaspoons

30 grams • warm water • 2 tablespoons

4 grams • vanilla extract • 1 teaspoon

375 grams • all-purpose flour • 3 cups

0.5 grams • nutmeg • ¼ teaspoon

4 grams • kosher salt • 1 teaspoon


113 grams • coconut oil • ½ cup

220 grams • brown sugar • ½ cup

140 grams • cashews, soaked in water for about 4 hours, drained, and blended • 1 cup

110 grams • pecans, toasted and chopped • 1 cup


240 grams • powdered sugar • 2 cups

45 grams • nondairy milk • 3 tablespoons

Purple food coloring (such as ground freeze-dried fruit, like raspberries or blueberries)

Green food coloring (such as matcha)

Yellow food coloring (such as turmeric)


Combine milk, yeast, and 4 grams • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar in a small bowl. Let proof for about 7 minutes. In the meantime, combine coconut oil, flaxseed, water, and vanilla in a medium bowl, and place 50 grams • ¼ cup sugar, flour, nutmeg, and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.

When yeast mixture is foamy, add to the mixer along with the oil mixture. Combine with a wooden spoon. Attach dough hook to mixer and knead for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth.
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

In the meantime, make the filling. Melt together oil and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Remove from heat and stir in blended cashews and pecans. Set aside to cool.

Once the dough has finished rising, transfer to a well-floured surface and roll out to a 9 x 13 inch rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough in an even layer, leaving about an inch on each edge. Roll up the long way so you get a long tube of dough. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and wrap around a 28-ounce can as a mold. Let rise for another 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove can from the center of the cake and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is nice golden-brown and sounds somewhat hollow when tapped. Let cool for 20 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar and water. Divide the marzipan into three pieces and mix the purple in one third, yellow in another, and green in the remaining third. Roll out the marzipan and cut circles out of each color.

Drizzle glaze over cooled cake. Place marzipan on top, alternating colors for a nice festive pattern. Slice and eat.


Dat golden-brown crust.

King cakes, as you can see, are pretty colorful little treats. So in that train of thought, here are some other colorful desserts I’ve posted here.

Classic vegan pancakes with rainbow glaze. Another use for my favorite natural food colorings.

Homemade vegan gingerbread house. Not only does it look good, but it tastes fantastic.

Mint chocolate chip macarons. Use matcha to make the frosting green.


  1. OMG cake looks absolutely stunning ,can't take my eyes of it.hats off

  2. This looks so good June :D Love the colours of the marzipan too ^ ^
    In Norway before the traditional "fast" (that practically no one practices anymore) we make something called "Fastelavnsboller" lovely, fluffy buns that we fill with whipped cream and jam and top it with the lid - dusted with icing sugar ^ ^ I forgot to make them this year, so I guess I have to be a little unseasonal myself ^ ^ As long as it's tasty right? ;)
    Any baked goods that are cinnamon stuffed is also something I highly approve of, any time of the year :) x

    1. Fastelavnsboller sounds awesome, I'll have to check those out! It's so fun trying different culinary traditions :) And I agree, stuffing bread is like my pastime!

  3. I have always been scared to make king cake! Now you make it look so easy!! Will be for sure trying it soon!

    1. It's definitely much easier than one would expect! No more difficult than cinnamon rolls, certainly. If you've made cinnamon rolls a king cake will come together in a snap :)