Monday, January 26, 2009

Bon Appétit

{ A King Cake for Mardi Gras }

Mardi Gras season is in full swing here in Louisiana. Ball masques and parties abound and along with them come fun traditions. One of which is extra yummy--the King Cake. This year I decided to forgo a trip to the bakery and made my own from scratch! It was a lot of fun and easier than you'd think! I got my recipe from Paula Deen Celebrates!: Best Dishes and Best Wishes for the Best Times of Your Life. I tweaked the recipe from there to my preferences. If you are in an area deprived of King Cakes, this is your solution. Or if you just want to wow your southern friends this recipe is for you. Bon Appétit


For the Cake

  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg white
Cinnamon-Sugar Filling:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
White Icing:
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
Colored Sugar


1. Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium mixing bowl Add the evaporated milk, 3/4 cup of the sugar, tablespoon of ground cinnamon and the salt. Stir so that the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool.
2. Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water and stir in the remaining teaspoon sugar. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, until foamy. If the yeast does not foam up it is not live so you’ll have to start over with new yeast and sugar.
3. Add the yeast mixture to the butter and milk mixture. Add the eggs and lemon zest and whisk together vigorously, until well blended.
4. 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. (I used my kitchenaid bread attachment) 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.
5. Place the dough into a large clean bowl that you have sprayed with vegetable oil 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. (I heat the oven for 1 minute,then turn off oven before putting dough in overnight)
6. Make the cinnamon-sugar filling: Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small dish and stir well.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Make the white icing: Combine the sugar and milk in a small dish and whisk until smooth.
11. Allow the cake to cool slightly then drizzle with icing (if you let it cool completely the icing dries quicker and it is harder to keep sugar sprinkles from falling off) Sprinkle the colored sugar in striped patterns over the icing.
12. Slice across the width of the cake into thin slices to serve. Makes about 12 nice sizes slices.