“Throw me somethin’ mister," are the three words chanted by throngs of revelers at every Mardi Gras parade during the month preceding and right up to Fat Tuesday.
But if you do not live in New Orleans or Mobile and you are missing and wanting some of that Mardi Gras flavor, then make yourself this delicious coffee cake traditionally made during carnival time. It is better known as a King Cake.
The "king cake" takes its name from the biblical three kings. The season for king cake extends from the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Twelfth Night and Epiphany Day), up until Mardi Gras, the day before the start of Lent.
• ½ cup warm water (110 to 115°)
• 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
• ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
• 4½ to 5½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
• ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• ½ cup warm whole milk (110 to 115°)
• 3 large eggs
• 4 large egg yolks
• ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
• 1 king cake baby, metal doubloon, dried bean, or pecan (see note)
• Vanilla Icing, recipe follows
• Colored Sugars, recipe follows
1. In a small bowl, stir together ½ cup warm water,
yeast, and 2 teaspoons sugar; let stand for 10 minutes
2. In a large bowl, stir together 4½ cups flour,
remaining ½ cup sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and
lemon zest. Make a well in center of flour mixture, and
add yeast mixture. Add eggs and egg yolks; gradually
stir until combined.
3. Using a pastry cutter, cut in ½ cup butter into
flour mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. Place dough
on a lightly floured surface, and knead until it forms
a soft ball. Continue kneading, adding additional
flour as needed, until a firm, elastic dough is formed.
Brush a large bowl with 1 tablespoon softened butter,
and place dough into bowl, turning to grease top of
dough. Cover bowl, and let rise in a warm, draft-free
place for 1½ hours or until dough doubles in size.
4. Brush a large baking sheet with remaining 1
tablespoon butter. Turn out dough onto a lightly
floured surface, and punch down dough. Knead for
10 turns. Cut dough into three equal pieces. Roll each
piece into a long rope. Pinch ropes together at one
end; braid ropes, and bring ends together to form a
circle, pinching to seal. Place on prepared pan, and
let rise 30 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake on a rack placed in the
middle of the oven until golden brown, about 25 to
30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature in pan on a
wire rack. Place baby, coin, bean, or nut, in cake. Top
with Vanilla Icing, and decorate with Colored Sugars.
Plastic king cake figurines are available at some craft stores
or at mardigrasoutlet.com.
• 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• 4 tablespoons whole milk
1. In a large bowl, stir together sugar and vanilla.
Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth.
Spread over cooled king cake.
Makes about 1½ cups
• 1½ cups sugar, divided
• 16 drops red food coloring
• 8 drops blue food coloring
• 8 drops green food coloring
• 8 drops yellow food coloring
1. Place ½ cup sugar in each of three small
re-sealable plastic bags.
2. In a small bowl, combine red and blue food
coloring until it turns purple. Add purple food
coloring to one bag, green coloring to another
bag, and yellow coloring to third bag; seal bags,
and shake each until sugar is even in color.
Filled King Cake
To prepare a filled cake, follow the
traditional king cake method through
the first rise, punching down, and
preparing baking sheet in step four.
On a floured surface, roll dough into
approximately a 30x9-inch rectangle.
Dough will be thin.
Spread 1 cup of your favorite jam
or preserves over dough, leaving a
½-inch border around edges. Beginning
on one long side, roll up dough into
a log. Bring ends together to form
a ring, pinching ends together to
seal. Place on prepared pan, and let
rise again, about 45 minutes. Bake,
cool, and decorate as directed in
Recipe courtesy of Michelle Meche
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