Tuesday, February 24, 2009

King Cake

I've never celebrated Mardi Gras and decided that I wanted to try to make a New Orleans style feast at home.

Since I work full-time outside of my home, this had to be done on Sunday... so we really had Dimanche Gras!

One of the customers at work always sends us a King Cake in February. This year, I got the baby. I've heard that makes me Queen for the day... or that I host the next Mardi Gras party. So I decided that I'd have a little Dimanche Gras party and that King Cake would be on the menu. Hopefully that relieves my obligation... if it doesn't, then I'll go with I was Queen for the day!

I searched the internet for recipes. And was putting together a recipe based on many of them. Then I found Cajun Chef Ryan's recipe and decided to just make a few small changes to his recipe.

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King Cake
Cake
1/2 C warm water (110F)
4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 C sugar (plus 2 tsp)
4 1/2 C flour
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp salt
zest from one medium lemon
1/2 C warm milk (110F)
5 egg yolks
1/2 C butter, (plus 2 Tbsp) softened
1 egg and 1 Tbsp milk beaten (for egg wash)
1 dried bean or ceramic baby

Filling
1/2 C brown sugar
3/4 C walnuts
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Icing
3 C confectioners sugar
1/4 C fresh lemon juice, strained
3 to 6 Tbsp water

Purple, Green & Yellow Sanding Sugar

In a large glass measuring cup or bowl, add 1/2 cup warm water and sprinkle with yeast and 2 tsp of sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes and stir until well mixed. Move to warm place and let sit for 10 minutes or until bubbly yeast has doubled in size.

In a large mixing bowl combine 3 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt and whisk well. Stir in lemon zest.

Create a well in the middle of the flour mixture and gently pour in yeast mixture, warm milk and egg yolks. Combine wet and dry ingredients until it forms a smooth dough. Add 1/2 cup softened butter, one tablespoon at a time and combine well until it can be formed into a soft ball.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in up to another cup of flour a tablespoon at a time, until dough is smooth, shiny and elastic.

Coat the inside of a large mixing bowl with butter. Place dough ball in bowl and turn to coat completely. Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2 hours; until dough has doubled in size.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch down. Form dough into a tube shape about 14 inches long. Flatten dough tube and brush with softened butter. Sprinkle with sugar & spice nut mixture, leaving at least a 1/2 inch of dough on the edges. Pinch dough closed. Tuck bean or ceramic baby into dough seam. If you are using a plastic baby, tuck it in AFTER baking. Place dough on a parchment paper lined cookie tray and form a circle with the dough. Pinch edges to close circle.

Cover dough circle with a towel and place in a warm draft-free place for 45 minutes or until dough circle has doubled in size.

Whisk together egg & 1 Tbls of milk for egg wash. Brush top and all sides of dough circle with egg wash. Bake 375F for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow cake to cool on wire rack until completely cooled.

To make the icing, whisk together confectioners sugar & lemon juice with enough water to make glaze.

When cake is completely cooled, drizzle glaze over the top of cake. While glaze is still wet, sprinkle colored sugars in 2 - 3 inches sections around the cake.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roule!!!!

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A half cup of warm water (110F)
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Plus yeast and 2 tsp sugar. Let that sit for 5 minutes.
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Then mix it and let it sit for 10 minutes.
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While the yeasties were doing their thing... whisk up your dry ingredients.

mmmmm... freshly grated nutmeg!
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And the lemon zest.
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Wow! The yeast got really big & bubbly!
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Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the yeast mixture
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And warm milk and egg yolks.
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Mix it all together.
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Add the softened butter, one tablespoon at a time.
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Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
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Knead in up to another cup of flour.
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So after about 10 minutes, when it's shiny & smooth & elastic, put dough ball in a buttered bowl.
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Turn to coat dough completely.
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Cover the dough and place in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2 hours; until dough has doubled in size.
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Doubled in size!
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Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and punch down.
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Make a long slab of dough.
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Brush with butter.
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Sprinkle with filling.
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Pinch dough closed.
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I put a bean in this, but I think next time I'll skip that part. I'd hate to have someone bite into it and hurt a tooth or something. But I did tuck one in this time.
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Form a circle with the dough on a parchment paper lined cookie tray.
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Cover it with a towel and place in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes; until doubled in size.
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Doubled in size again.
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Whisk up the egg wash
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Brush the cake with the egg wash.
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Bake at 375F for 20 - 25 minutes until golden.
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Cool on wire rack to room temperature
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Move cake to a large platter.
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Whisk up glaze.
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Pour glaze over cooled cake.
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Sprinkle with purple, green & yellow sugars.
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This came out pretty good! My daughter really loved it!

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roule!!!!

16 comments:

Natashya said...

I just learned from Susan that the king cake was a yeasted cake like a cinnamon roll. So interesting to see how it's made - thanks!

Joelen said...

i love the colors and process as you detailed it!

Donna-FFW said...

Spryte, It looks gorgeous!! I have never made one, bet its delicious!!

Culinary Alchemist said...

Is it really bad form for me to serve this on Friday this week....???

Culinary Alchemist said...

Cause I really want to make this...!!!!

Mom on the Run said...

My husband is originally from Louisiana and we were talking about having King Cake. Yours looks so great!

I just wish I enjoyed baking more :)

Deborah said...

I've always wanted to try one of these - yours looks great!

Lara said...

I'll be honest I was a little scared off by those colors in the first picture, but then when I read how it's made and saw the process...I started drooling. We might have to make a King cake later this week.

DDpie said...

Most excellent job Queen Spryte!

rebekah said...

it looks really delicious. i've never tried one, but i just might one of these days.

Spryte said...

Natashya - it does taste like a cinnamon roll

Joelen - yup... it's pretty bright!

Thanks Donna... it was pretty tasty

Shane - I think you can make it whenever you want... just be sure you have some time! It takes a while!

Mom on the Run... if you don't like to bake... just order one ;)

Lara... you should try it! It's yummy!

Thanks DD & Rebekah!!

Maris said...

love your step-by-step photos! It looks like the icing was the most fun part :)

Bob said...

I've never had king cake, it looks wicked good. :)

Tangled Noodle said...

This looks soooo good! I haven't had king cake in so long. Thanks for outlining the process - it really takes the intimidation factor out (at least for someone like me who is not a natural bread-baker).

nicole said...

I have seen this before but have never made one. It looks good.

Jude said...

Just watched Top Chef so I could definitely go for a slice right now. Thanks for the detailed shaping photos! That will definitely come in handy some day :)