Every year, for the past 11 years, the week of Mardi Gras my mother has sent me a King Cake from Randazzo’s bakery in New Orleans.  It’s a cake big enough to feed a crowd and that’s usually the idea.  My mom sends it for us to share with our colleagues and friends.  But every year I have a moment where I think maybe I’ll keep it all to myself and not share.  Maybe this year I’ll just eat the whole damn thing myself.  I only get it once a year so it’s not like this is a regular thing.  But then the healthy side of me chimes in to remind myself that that is disgusting and greedy and I bring it to work to share.

I often think to myself that if I got to eat King Cake more than once a year, then I wouldn’t feel so greedy about the one I get.  So when my cousin told me that she made King Cake herself in Iowa to satisfy her craving and it came out great, I thought I’d give it a try too.  This way I could get my fill whenever I wanted and when that Randazzo’s cake arrived, I could happily bring it to work to share without hesitation.  My cousin shared the recipe she used, which she found on All Recipes, and it seemed easy enough.  There was a bit of kneading, which I hate, but it was a small price to pay for King Cake on demand.

Yeast is fun stuff. I put it in this warm water with some sugar and it turned into this frothy, foamy, creamy business. Smells good too.

I’ll be honest, I made a boo boo and let this milk boil over. It’s a little beyond scalded but it seemed to work just fine.

 

I used bread flour for this because we had a bunch in our pantry. I figured since this is basically a bread it would work. You can also use All Purpose flour if that’s what you have on hand.

After you mix all the wet and dry it looks like this. Kind of a lumpy mess. That’s where the kneading comes in. Ugh. So much work!

 

But check this out. I put a timer on for 10 minutes and tagged my roommate in for 4 of those minutes so it wasn’t too bad. It turns into this smooth, elastic ball of yeasty goodness.

Then it rises for 2 hours and you have an even BIGGER smooth round ball! Baking can be like magic.

While the dough is rising you can make the filling for the King Cake.

This stuff is so good all by itself. I could have just stopped here.  But I didn’t and I’m glad because the finished product is greater than the sum of its parts.

After punching the dough down, I separated it into two loaves. I tried to get them into somewhat rectangular shapes.  Since that was the shape I was going for, it’s way easier if we start there.

I rolled out two long rectangles and covered them with the brown sugar and pecan mixture. It’s already looking good, right?

Now you roll it up like a jelly roll or like a joint or a yoga mat… pick your reference point.

You do this twice and then take those logs and turn them into circles by overlapping and squishing the ends together. Cut vents in the top with a very sharp knife.

While the cakes are baking you can make the icing. I know some people who dye the icing and then decorate it that way but I thought it would be easier to use colored sugar which I already had.

The baking time was shorter than I expected but they came out perfect.

The best part is the decorating and eating!! It tastes even better than it looks.

Now I have two King Cakes to eat and I still have the one my mom is sending me on the way!!  Abundance of King Cakes!!  Yay!!  This recipe had been highly rated on All Recipes and made over a hundred times by random people.  I echo the reviews.  It’s a great recipe that is pretty fool proof and yields an excellent result.  That result being I get to eat more than one delicious King Cake in 2017.

Delightful Recipe

Serves Makes 2 Small King Cakes
Adapted from All Recipes by "Jo"

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 2 packages of active dry yeast or 4 1/2 teaspoons if you do bulk
  • 2/3 cup of warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 5 1/2 cups of bread flour or all purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 Tablespoons of water
  • Colored sugar in traditional Mardi Gras colors, purple, green and gold/yellow
  • In a small pot, heat milk over medium heat until it starts to bubble around the edges and at the top.  If you screw up and let it boil over like I did, it’s fine.  Add 1/4 cup of butter and stir to melt the butter.  Allow it to come to room temperature or if you are impatient like me, put ice and water in a bowl and then rest the pot and the bowl and stir the butter and milk.  It will cool pretty fast.  But don’t let it go too long cuz we aren’t making ice cream.
  • In a large bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar in warm water.  Then add yeast and let it stand for 10 minutes.  It will activate and get foamy and creamy at the top.
  • Once the yeast is all foamed up, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs and stir in the remaining sugar, salt and nutmeg.
  • Beat the flour into the milk and egg mixture 1 cup at a time. The first two cups will get it to the consistency of pancake batter and then you’ll have to switch from a whisk (if that’s what you’re using) to a spoon.  The last cup and a half is when it starts to look like dough and not batter.
  • Turn the dough out onto a cold, smooth surface and knead for 10 minutes.  It should be smooth and elastic when you are done.
  • Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.  I used my oven because it’s too cold in my house and it would take forever for this to rise.  
  • While the dough is rising, make the filling for the King Cake.  Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, and 1/2 cup flour. Then pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
  • When the dough has fully risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Take each half and form it into a rectangular loaf with your hands.  This will make rolling it out into a large rectangle easier.  Roll dough halves out into large rectangles.  Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough leaving a one inch boarder.  Starting with the long side, roll each rectangle up like a jelly roll. Bring the ends of each log together to form 2 circles.  Place the two rings on the prepared cookie sheet and then cut vents into the top.  Let the cakes rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  • Take the cup of confectioners’ sugar and mix 2 Tablespoons of water into it.  It should be smooth and runny.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.   Let cool slightly but frost while warm with the white icing and then sprinkle the colored sugar over top, alternating the colors.
  • Share with friends.

COMMENTS

Amazing! I’ve always wanted to try my hand at one…

Scheherezade

I’m sure yours would be phenomenal!!

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