Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let the good times roll with this sweet, yeast bread decorated to the nines for your Mardi Gras celebration. The real question is – will you find the plastic baby?

Prep time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Servings: 8-10


  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus additional for kneading
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla, divided
  • 1/3 cup whole pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Sanding sugar in purple, yellow and green
  • 1 small plastic baby (optional)


Place yeast in measuring cup with 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Stir lightly and let sit for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat together 2 cups flour, granulated sugar and salt with mixer on low speed. With mixer running, add yeast, milk, butter, egg yolks and 2 teaspoons vanilla and beat until smooth. Increase mixer speed to medium and add 1 1/4 cups flour, in 1/4 cup increments, until soft dough forms. If necessary add up to 1/2 cup additional flour in 1/4 cup increments.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead dough by folding over toward you then pressing down away from you with heel of hands. Give dough quarter turn and repeat until it’s smooth, elastic and doesn’t stick to surface.

Place dough in greased bowl, turning once to bring greased side up. Cover with plastic wrap that’s been sprayed with cooking spray and let rise in warm, draft-free location until double in size, about 1 hour.

For filling, combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar, pecans and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

Turn dough back out onto lightly floured surface. Shape dough into a log, about 20-inches long, then roll into a rectangle with rolling pin. Spread filling mixture onto dough to within 1-inch of edges. Starting with long side, roll up dough into a log shape. Form into a ring and pinch seams to seal. Transfer ring, seam side down, to lightly greased baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap from large bowl and let rise in warm, draft-free location until double in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. 

Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut slits around top of ring. Brush with lightly beaten egg. Bake until ring is golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely.

If desired, cut a small slit into bottom of cake in desired location and insert plastic baby.

For glaze, combine powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla and water, in 1 tablespoon increments, until desired consistency is reached. Spread glaze over top of cake. Sprinkle with stripes of sanding sugars.


ORANGE & FIELD TIP: Both the water for the yeast and the milk for the dough need to be between 105-115°F. If they’re hotter than that, you run the risk of killing the yeast.