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Skinny king cake recipe: A low-fat way to indulge in the colorful treat

Like so many other Mardi Gras treats, king cake is one delicious Mardi Gras food that isn’t so easy on the waistline. Just one slice of this “sinful” cake weighs in at a whopping 500 calories and 15 grams of fat. Fortunately there’s a way to have your cake and eat it too — by making a lighter version of the traditional Mardi Gras king cake.

This king cake recipe is made with applesauce and oil instead of butter and is filled with light cream cheese, so this moist, flavorful cake only tastes indulgent! Plus, the addition of flaky coconut in the filling gives this cake an almost tropical flavor. And let’s be serious — the fewer 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


For the cake

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour, divided
  • 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

For the filling

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

For the icing

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

Updated by Bethany Ramos on 2/5/2016

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