Cakes/ Dessert

King Cake

King Cake is the preferred dessert in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. This round cinnamon roll cake is shaped into a ring, topped with an incredible lemon glaze and sprinkled with the colors of Mardi Gras, with purple representing justice, gold representing power, and green representing faith. A plastic baby is baked inside the King Cake, and the tradition is whoever receives the baby in their piece of cake must buy the next King Cake or throw the next party. No Mardi Gras party is complete without a delicious king cake!

King Cake is the preferred dessert in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. This round cinnamon roll cake is shaped into a ring, topped with an incredible lemon glaze and sprinkled with the colors of Mardi Gras, with purple representing justice, gold representing power, and green representing faith.

A plastic baby is baked inside the King Cake, and the tradition is whoever receives the baby in their piece of cake must buy the next King Cake or throw the next party. No Mardi Gras party is complete without a delicious king cake!

King Cake

King Cake

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 cup warm milk, about 110 degrees
  • 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tiny (1-inch) plastic baby

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened

For the Lemon Icing:

  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon each purple, green, and gold colored sugars

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Instructions

In a two cup measuring cup, dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of warm water. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and the milk. Let sit for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon zest; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the  sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until coarse. Add the yeast mixture and mix until combined. Switch to the dough hook and knead at medium-low speed for 5-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl. Add flour sparingly if the dough sticks to the side of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

After the rise, punch down the dough and turn it onto a floured work surface; let dough rest 10 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place the baby in the middle of the dough and roll up the long side of the dough, forming a long cylinder, and pinch the edges to seal and smooth the dough to hide the seam.

Transfer the ring to the prepared baking sheet with the seam facing down and cover with plastic wrap. Place a well-greased coffee can or shortening can in the center of the ring to maintain shape during baking. Let sit for 45 minutes, or until the dough doubles in volume.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Beat the egg white with the milk. When the dough is risen, brush it with the egg white mixture. Place the cake in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden, or a thermometer reads 200 to 210ºF. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool completely.

To make the icing, cream the sugar and butter until smooth. Mix in the lemon juice, lemon zest.
Pour or pipe lemon icing over the cake. Sprinkle immediately with colored sugars. Let the topping set before serving.

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Source: adapted from A World of Cake

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