King Cakes are traditionally made for Mardi Gras celebrations, and growing up in Louisiana, I ate and loved so many King Cakes! With Fat Tuesday coming up I felt it fitting to share this close-to-my-heart recipe with you. My traditional recipe has a cinnamon butter filling, but some other fillings you can find in Louisiana are Bavarian cream (so good!), strawberry, blueberry & cream cheese.
And, maybe the most unique part of the King Cake is the traditional plastic baby hidden inside (or underneath); the person who gets the piece of cake with the baby will be rewarded with good luck and is responsible for bringing the King Cake to the next party!
I braided the King Cake pictured here, but the instructions below are for a traditional ring (if you’d like directions on braiding, please visit my website). Happy Mardi Gras!!
1/3 cup warm water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
3/4 cup sugar, separated
1/2 cup milk
2 tbs butter
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour (plus more if needed)
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tbs butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
Glaze & Topping
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 to 3 tbs milk
Green, purple and yellow sprinkles or sugars
Dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Warm milk, remove from heat and stir in 2 tbs butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Once yeast has bubbled, pour the mixture into a large bowl along with the cooled milk and butter. Whisk in the eggs, remaining sugar and salt.
Using a stand mixer or wooden spoon stir the flour into the mixture one cup at a time. Once the dough starts to form a ball, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. Place back into the bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place, 1 hour or until dough is doubled.
For the filling: Combine the brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and melted butter, mix until crumbly.
Punch down dough and roll into 10 x 20 inch rectangle. Spread cinnamon butter mixture evenly on the rectangle, leaving a one-inch border. Starting with the long end closest to you, roll the dough up toward the top like a traditional jelly roll, seam side down. Curl the dough into a ring and overlap the ends slightly, pinching to seal.
Transfer the round to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes to an hour.
Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. Combine the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. Whisk until smooth. Spread over cake and sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating.
Alternatively you can braid the cake as pictured below. To do so roll the dough into a 10 x 20 inch rectangle. Spread the filling on half of the long side of the dough. Fold the dough in half covering the filling. Pinch the edges the dough will stick together. Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut dough into three long strips. Pinch the tops of the strips together and braid the strips the press the ends together at the bottom to seal. Shape it into a ring and pinch the edges together.
Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com or call (530)539-4504 to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!