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fat tuesday

03/08/2011

Happy Mardi Gras! Merry Mardi Gras? Is there a traditional Mardi Gras greeting?

June helped with the picture taking this morning.

This year I finally got around to making a King Cake. Mostly because I happened to stop in at Target last week, and they had all the colored sugars I needed in one package (along with pink, which I’m sure will get used sooner rather than later).

Traditionally you insert a plastic baby or fava bean (poke it in from the bottom) and whoever gets the slice with the baby has to bring the cake next year. Well, I brought this into work, where next to no one had even heard of King Cake, so I didn’t think I needed to stick to that tradition all the way.

This recipe was super easy to make, though came out a little dry and I wasn’t too pleased with the icing. Next time I think I’ll try a cinnamon-sugar filling and a different glaze.

King Cake
adapted from epicurious.com

For the cake:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 5 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 small lemon
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • several vigorous gratings of fresh nutmeg
  1. Combine the warm milk, sugar, yeast and heaping tablespoon of the flour in the bowl of a mixer.
  2. When bubbles start to form on top of the milk mixture, add melted butter, eggs, vanilla and lemon zest and whisk to combine.
  3. Slowly fold in flour, cinnamon and nutmeg until well combined (should still be very sticky, but will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl
  4. Knead (by hand for around 15 minutes, with mixer for about 5 minutes) until the dough becomes elastic.
  5. Cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap or clean dish towel and allow to rise until doubled (epicurious says for about 1.5 hours, but check after an hour – mine had more than doubled)
  6. Preheat the oven to 375.
  7. Punch down the dough and separate into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope, braiding the three pieces and joining the ends to form a ring. Pinch the ends to seal.
  8. Place on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Cover and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, until cake is golden brown on top.
  10. Remove to a cooling rack until cool.

For the icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • purple, green & yellow sprinkles or candies
  • 1 fava bean or plastic baby (optional)
  1. Insert plastic baby or bean, if using, into the dough from the underside.
  2. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and lemon juice – add more milk or sugar to get the right consistency.
  3. Pour icing over cake and decorate with colored sugar.

(And regarding my last post, I did do a new year’s day brunch, but should have planned better and didn’t actually take any pictures! Next year, I promise!)

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