Tuesday, February 20, 2007

King Cake

For years I have wanted to make a King Cake for Mardi Gras, but I always seemed to remember the plan when it was too late to go through the whole process of letting it rise and whatnot. This year I managed to plan enough ahead to make one. Now, I decided to go slightly nontraditional with the recipe, but still included a small plastic baby (of course warning everyone not to choke). According to the new tradition, the person who gets the baby has to host the next Mardi Gras party or provide the next year's King Cake.

King Cake

1 plastic baby trinket
Green, purple and yellow colored sugars

For the bread:

1 envelope active dry yeast
2 Tbsp warm water
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp orange rind (I used dried, but you could use fresh if you wanted.)
1 tsp lemon peel (Again, I used dried.)
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces

1- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a small bowl and set aside until frothy.
2- Combine the salt, sugar, milk, orange rind and lemon peel in a mixing bowl (if you plan to use a dough hook, you can put this in the bowl for your mixer). Mix in the yeast mixture.
3- Sift together the cinnamon and flour.
4- With mixer on low speed, add the eggs to the liquid ingredient mixture. Then gradually add the flour mixture until incorporated. Knead for ten minutes or until a smooth, elastic dough is formed. Add the butter pieces in small amounts, but quickly so they do not melt.
5- Turn the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour.
6- When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch down and put in the fridge overnight.
7- Preheat the oven to 350.
8- Roll dough out to a 6x18 rectangle. Spread the filling out in the middle over the whole length leaving a 1" margin around the edges. Place the baby in the filling. Fold the length of the dough over the filling and roll up tightly with the seam side down. Put one end inside the other to seal the dough in a wreath shape. Place the cake on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
9- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
10- When the cake cools, spread the glaze over evenly and decorate with colored sugars.

For the filling:

1 cup pecan halves, broken up slightly and roasted (I think I would use pecan pieces next time.)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 pinch of salt
2 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp light corn syrup

1- Combine all of the ingredients together.

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 Tbsp bourbon

1- Combine the sugar and bourbon.
2- Add enough milk to make the glaze fluid enough to spread thinly.


Dena said...

Whoo! I got the plastic baby!
Uh oh - now I have to make the King Cake next year.

bella said...

I mark so many of your recipes that I need to be in the kitchen more. What makes this less traditional? The nuts stand out to me, but is there anything else?

Kitchen Princess said...

The addition of orange rind to the dough is a bit of a change from the normal which just has lemon, but the real difference is that a traditional King Cake is only filled with cinnamon, not the mixture that I made. At least, that's what my research has shown to be the case.