Desserts Recipes

King Cake for Fat Tuesday

King Cake

 
Happy Fat Tuesday! How many of you are indulging on this last day of Mardi Gras, before Lent begins? I may not be taking part in Lent, but that doesn’t mean I can’t indulge today anyway! Perhaps it should!! As I’ve said before, my family likes to celebrate Fat Tuesday by gathering together for homemade Jambalaya and King Cake. We purchase beads and masks from the dollar store, and try to make a party of the day. I will take any excuse to have a party!

I realize it is getting a bit late in the day for you to make King Cake today, but you’ve still got time! This cake is so tasty that you may even want to make it other days throughout the year. I sure wish we did! King Cake isn’t your typical cake. It is kind of like a ring of bread filled with a cream cheese mixture, and topped with a glaze and lots of sprinkles. YUM!

The thing that makes King Cake truly unique is that  it is customary to put a trinket of some sort into the King Cake. We often hide a small plastic baby, which you can order on Amazon. It could be a bean, pecan half, or whatever. I believe the baby is the most popular trinket to use. The idea is that whomever gets the piece of cake with the trinket, will have good luck for one year. AND they are supposed to host the King Cake party next year.

1. Combine the yeast, sugar and water in a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook. Do not mix, but dissolve yeast and sugar into the warm water.
2. Combine melted butter and warm milk. After milk and butter are cooled, add to the yeast and sugar mixture. Beat at low speed for 1 minute.
3. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks and beat for 1 minute at medium-low speed.
4. Add the flour, salt, nutmeg, cardamon and lemon zest and beat until everything is incorporated. Increase speed to high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forms a ball, and starts to climb up the dough hook. (If the dough is uncooperative in coming together, add a bit of warm water (110 degrees), 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does.

Remove the dough from the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a bowl with the Canola oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to oil all sides of the ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size – about 2 hours.

6. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1 cup of the confectioner’s sugar (unless using the optional filling like I did this time). Blend with an electric mixer on low speed. Set aside. If using optional filling, just mix all ingredients together – leaving the pecans for last.
7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your fingers, pat it out into a rectangle about 30 inches long and 6 inches wide.

8. Spread the filling lengthwise over the bottom half of the dough, then flip the top half of the dough over the filling.

9. Seal the edges, pinching the dough together. Shape the dough into a cylinder and place it on the prepared baking sheet seam side down. Then you will shape the dough into a ring and pinch the ends together so there isn’t a seam.

10. Now is the time to insert the king cake baby or pecan half into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough.
11. Cover the ring with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place. Let the dough rise until doubled in size – about 45 minutes.
12. Preheat the oven to 350°F and Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
13. Brush the top of the risen cake with 2 tablespoons of the milk. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
14. Make the icing by combining the remaining 3 tablespoons milk, lemon juice, and the remaining 3 cups confectioner’s sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir to blend well.
15. With a rubber spatula, spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals, alternating colors around the cake.

The cake is traditionally cut into 2-inch-thick slices with all the guests in attendance.

*I know it’s a lot of steps, but so worth it!

King Cake for Fat Tuesday
 
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 15-20
Ingredients
  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 5 large egg yolks, at room temperature (I can post a Pavlova recipe soon, to use up the egg whites if you’d like – leave a comment if that sounds good)
  • 4 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • Filling
  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • Optional Filling (as a replacement for the original) – This is a heavier filling, which alters things a tad, but sure is tasty!
  • 1 lb cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup Chopped pecans
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 plastic king cake baby or other trinket
  • Icing
  • 5 Tbs milk, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Purple, green, and gold-tinted sugar sprinkles (these are traditional Mardi Gras colors)
Instructions
  1. Combine the yeast, sugar and water in a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook. Do not mix, but dissolve yeast and sugar into the warm water.
  2. Combine melted butter and warm milk. After milk and butter are cooled, add to the yeast and sugar mixture. Beat at low speed for 1 minute.
  3. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks and beat for 1 minute at medium-low speed.
  4. Add the flour, salt, nutmeg, cardamon and lemon zest and beat until everything is incorporated. Increase speed to high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forms a ball, and starts to climb up the dough hook. (If the dough is uncooperative in coming together, add a bit of warm water (110 degrees), 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a bowl with the Canola oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to oil all sides of the ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size – about 2 hours.
  6. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and 1 cup of the confectioner’s sugar. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed. Set aside. If using optional filling, just mix all ingredients together – leaving the pecans for last.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using your fingers, pat it out into a rectangle about 30 inches long and 6 inches wide.
  8. Spread the filling lengthwise over the bottom half of the dough, then flip the top half of the dough over the filling.
  9. Seal the edges, pinching the dough together. Shape the dough into a cylinder and place it on the prepared baking sheet seam side down. Then you will shape the dough into a ring and pinch the ends together so there isn’t a seam.
  10. Now is the time to insert the king cake baby or pecan half into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough.
  11. Cover the ring with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place. Let the dough rise until doubled in size – about 45 minutes.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350°F and Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  13. Brush the top of the risen cake with 2 tablespoons of the milk. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  14. Make the icing by combining the remaining 3 tablespoons milk, lemon juice, and the remaining 3 cups confectioner’s sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir to blend well.
  15. With a rubber spatula, spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals, alternating colors around the cake.
  16. King Cake is traditionally cut into 2-inch-thick slices with all the guests in attendance.
 

 

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Emily Buys

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