Mardi Gras is coming up and this Friday Flashback will help you have a delicious celebration with this King Cake Recipe.
The King Cake’s circular shape symbolizes the path the three kings took to find Jesus in Bethlehem. The sugar topping is in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple (Justice), gold (Power) and green (Faith). The colorful sugar topping also represents a jeweled crown in honor of the three Wise Men whom visited Jesus on Epiphany. A plastic baby is hidden in the cake, symbolizes the Christ child. The person who gets the baby is supposed to have good luck for a year and is to buy the next king cake, or in some cases, host the next king cake party.
While I think this recipe turned out well and tasted really good, I have never eaten the real thing! It tasted like a soft cinnamon roll. If you celebrate Mardi Gras with a King Cake—please give us some details!
First you need a baby King. (It does seem wrong to hide something in a cake that clearly says choking hazard on the package–so be careful!)
I used Paula Deen’s recipe. I did add in some nutmeg and made the dough in my food processor.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 envelopes active dry yeast, regular or rapid rise
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 egg white, for glazing
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium mixing bowl Add the evaporated milk, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and the salt. Stir so that the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool.
Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water and stir in the remaining teaspoon sugar. Allow to stand for 5 minutes, until foamy.
Add the yeast mixture to the butter and milk mixture. Add the eggs, nutmeg and lemon zest and whisk together vigorously, until well blended. (I did this in the food processor and then added the flour and continued on with next step.)
(I also did this whole step in my food processor. Once all the flour was added and dough started to come away from the sides I counted to 45 slowly and then stopped and removed the dough and continued on with the recipes.) Or you can whisk in the flour, 1 cup at a time, until you have a thick paste–about 3 cups flour. Then switch to a wooden spoon and continue adding flour and mixing well. Do not add more than 6 cups flour, or your cake will be too dense. When you have added all the flour, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured wooden board and knead it with your hands, which you have dusted with flour, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about a dozen turns.
Place the dough into a large bowl cooking spray. Turn the dough to coat all sides with spray. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Make the cinnamon-sugar filling: Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small dish and stir well.
Punch the dough down and divide the dough in two. Roll out each half into a 10 by 15 inch rectangle. Brush each rectangle with half of the melted butter and then sprinkle each rectangle with half of the cinnamon-sugar filling mixture. Roll up along the long end like a jelly roll. Press the roll together at the seam, sealing with water if necessary. Wind the two rolls together, forming one thick piece. On a baking sheet sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray, form the dough into a circle and seal the ends together.
Cover with a tea towel and allow the cake to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it almost doubles in size.
Don’t forget to hide your baby Jesus!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk the egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the top of the cake with the egg white. Bake the cake for 35 minutes, until it is browned and sounds hollow when tapped. I had to tent the cake with aluminum foil around the edges to keep from getting too brown before dough was baked in the center.
Make the white icing: Combine the sugar and milk in a small dish and whisk until smooth. If the mixture seems too thin, add a little more sugar. If it won’t drizzle, add a little more milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time.
Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack. Drizzle with icing and sprinkle the colored sugar in random patterns over the white icing.
I like to make bread and I always take the easy way out by using my food processor. If you wanted to make a really simple King Cake that kids can make why not make monkey bread (I would leave out the nuts and raisins) with refrigerator biscuits and hide the baby as you layer the biscuits.
a reader sent in this version…
Traditional King Cake Recipe from Haydel’s Bakery
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
½ cup all purpose shortening
4 cups all purpose flour
2 lg. eggs
1 cup milk (room temperature)
2 sm. packs active dry yeast
¼ tsp lemon flavor
¼ tsp orange flavor
¼ tsp vanilla flavor
¼ tsp butter flavor
½ cup canola oil
½ cup cinnamon sugar
3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp purple food color
1 tsp yellow food color
1 tsp green food color
In a mixer at first speed combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar, salt, and shortening until well creamed.
Add eggs and continue to cream.
Dissolve the yeast in the milk and add the flavors.
Once dissolved add to creamed mixture and continue to mix.
Add flour and mix until dough tightens.
Remove from mixer and kneed into a ball.
At this point sprinkle some flour on top and cover with a clean kitchen towel.
Allow the dough to rest for 1½ hours.
While the dough is resting mix your colored sugars.
Start by taking one cup of sugar and your yellow food coloring.
Mix by hand with a wire wisk in a metal bowl until the sugar turns yellow.
Pour you yellow sugar into a separate bowl and put off to the side.
Repeat this process mixing green then purple. (By doing them in that order you only dirty one mixingbowl)
When dough has rested roll out into an oblong piece.
Brush on canola oil covering the entire piece.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar liberally over the whole piece.
Once the dough is covered with the cinnamon sugar and oil, fold it in half lengthwise.
Cut into 3 strips and braid the dough.
Gently roll the dough by starting at one end and working all the way down to the other end.
This will make the dough a nice long piece that can then be shaped into a circle.
Once shaped place on a baking pan covered with piece of parchment.
Allow the dough to rest again until it doubles in size.
At this point take a spoon and alternate sprinkling the three colored sugars on top of your circular piece of dough.
Bake at 370 degrees F for 12-15 minutes until dough is golden brown. Then laissez les bon temps rouler!