A Low-Fat Version Of This Mardi Gras Classic!

Mardi Gras kicks off next week, so it's time to grab your beads, stock up on hurricane mixes and get all your ingredients to make a sinfully delicious king cake! However, just a sliver of traditional king cake can set you back 500 calories and 15 grams of fat! Instead of using up a meal's worth of calories in just dessert, swap your traditional king cake recipe for this lighter one instead.

Lighter King Cake

This king cake recipe is made with applesauce and oil instead of butter and filled with light cream cheese, so this moist, flavorful cake only tastes indulgent! Plus, the addition of flakey coconut in the filling gives this cake an almost tropical flavor. And let's be serious -- the less calories you eat means the more calories you can drink, which is what Mardi Gras is all about anyway! (That and faltering morals, of course.)

Lighter king cake recipe

Recipe adapted from Baking Bites

Serves 8


Mardi Gras -- Lighter King CakeCake: 

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (brown sugar can be used too)
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 1/2 cup skim milk (warmed to 110-120 degrees F)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 8 ounces light cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons flaked coconut


  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Green, purple and yellow sprinkles


  1. Grease a 6-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix 3/4 cup of the flours, sugar, yeast and salt together. Add in warm milk, applesauce and oil. Using a handheld mixer, beat in eggs, one a time. Be sure each egg has been fully incorporated before you add the next one in. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Sift in the rest of the flours and mix using the mixer for about two minutes. Cover with plastic and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix filling by beating cream cheese, coconut, vanilla and sugar until creamy.
  5. Once batter has set, pour 1/2 into the Bundt pan. Using a tablespoon, scoop filling onto the top of the batter until filling is gone. Pour the rest of the batter over the filling and smooth out with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise for at least 1-1/2 hours.
  6. Once batter has risen to double its size, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once preheated, bake cake for at least 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire cooling rack for at least 30 minutes.
  7. While cake cools, make icing by mixing the sugar and water together. When cake is completely cooled, frost by drizzling the icing all over the cake to cover it liberally. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cake in yellow sprinkles, 1/3 in purple sprinkles and the remaining 1/3 in green sprinkles. Serve immediately and enjoy!

More Mardi Gras recipes

Mardi Gras cocktail recipes
Mardi Gras recipes for Fat Tuesday
Mardi Gras menu and mouthwatering recipes


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Comments on "Lighter king cake recipe"

Kaitlin February 21, 2012 | 4:22 AM

King cake with less guilt? Amazing!

Kiri W. February 19, 2012 | 6:06 PM

I've never had king cake, but your version looks lovely :)

Emily @ Life on Food February 18, 2012 | 5:59 PM

Great recipe! I really had no idea the original was so bad for you. Glad to have a lighter version!

Eliot February 18, 2012 | 12:05 PM

I have to tell you how much in love I am with your Lighter King Cake!!!!!!!! I made a traditional version and yours. I have to say that I love the lighter one (and I even decreased the sugar a bit in the filling!) Thank you. I will be giving you a "Shout Out" and credit in tomorrow's post. If you are wondering whether on not you should make this cake---do so immediately. It is easier and more delicious than the traditional King Cake. Thanks, Claire!!!!!

Medeja February 17, 2012 | 11:29 PM

Hm.. and our Mardi Gras classics are pancakes :D

Eliot February 17, 2012 | 5:40 PM

I love this! I am getting geared up to bake traditional cakes this weekend, but I am going to try to sneak this in too.

Joanne February 17, 2012 | 12:22 PM

I just got the king cake recipe from Saveur and was wondering how to lighten it up. You've given me great ideas. :)

steph@stephsbitebybite February 17, 2012 | 9:58 AM

...so lighter verison means I can have two pieces right?! This sound so good!

Lacy @ NYCityEats February 17, 2012 | 9:55 AM

Great recipe! I actually enjoy apple sauce as a replacement to butter. And this cream cheese filling sounds incredible! Yum!

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