Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Mardi Gras! - King Cake

Happy Mardi Gras! The Carnival Season has been in full swing here in Mobile for the last couple of weeks and today is the conclusion of all of the festivities with Fat Tuesday and parades all day long! One of the traditions of Mardi Gras is the King Cake. This is simply a ring of cake topped with icing and colored sugars of purple, green and gold. The purple represents the passion of Christ, the green represents hope and the gold the rewards of leading a Christian life. Some cakes even have fillings of cream cheese, fruits or praline. My absolute favorite is the praline filling of cinnamon, brown sugar and pecans!

King Cakes have been in absolutely every grocery store and bakery here in Mobile for the last several weeks, and they are all made slightly different...some with lots and lots of icing and sprinkles (this is my favorite), some with minimal icing and sprinkles and some with no icing and only sugar sprinkles! I say the more SUGAR the better when it comes to King Cake! In past years I have been able to devour pretty much an entire King Cake by myself in about 2 days, and when it was gone I would go get another one, and another one, and another one...throughout the entire Mardi Gras season. They are such a special treat that only come around for a few weeks out of the year, so I have to indulge while I can.

This year I am currently only on my 3rd King Cake...I've been trying to control myself! We got the first one from Winn Dixie and it was filled with apples. I had never tried one with apple filling before but it was GOOD! The 2nd cake I made from scratch...which is what you see in this blog post. The 3rd one my husband picked up today from Atlanta Bread Company and it has a cream cheese filling, also very tasty!

So now that you know a little history of the King Cake, I'll show you step-by-step how to make your very own! First you make the dough and let it rise and then refrigerate over night.

Then roll out the dough flat to prepare it for the filling.

Fill dough with praline filling down the center and then fold over.

Once the dough is folded over, then roll it up tightly keeping the seam side down.

Turn the roll into a circle and seal it closed and place on a baking sheet. Then allow cake to rise again until doubles in size.

Bake cake until gold brown and allow to cool.

Drizzle cake with icing.

Sprinkle with purple, green and gold sugar sprinkles.

Now you have one fancy sparkly King Cake!

Don't forget about those Mardi Gras beads...this makes a perfect decorative touch around the King Cake display!

King Cake (recipe adapted from www.nolacuisine.com)

For the Brioche:
-1 envelope Active Dry Yeast
-2 Tbsp Warm Water (115 degrees F)
-1 tsp iodized salt
-2 Tbsp granulated sugar
-1/4 cup milk
-2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
-1 tsp cinnamon
-2 eggs, beaten
-1 1/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into very small dice
-1 egg beaten and 2 Tbsp water, for the eggwash
-1 plastic baby trinkett

  • Dissolve the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. let stand until frothy.
  • Dissolve the salt, sugar and milk in a small bowl. When dissolved combine the milk mixture with the yeast mixture. Mix the cinnamon with the flour.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add teh eggs, then gradually add the flour, until all is incorporated. Knead on low speed for 10 minutes, or until a smooth elastic dough is formed. A little more flour may be necessary. With the motor running, incorporate the butter into the dough, a little at a time but rather quickly so that it doesn't heat up and melt.
  • Turn the dough into an oiled bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour in a warm spot.
  • When the dough has doubled in bulk punch it down, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
For the Pecan Filling:
-1 cup pecan halves
-2/3 cup brown sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 pinch of salt
  • Combine all of the ingredients together.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll the dough out to a 6 x 18 rectangle. Spread the pecan filling out in the middle of the rectangle along the whole length, leaving about 1 1/2 inch on each side. Place the baby trinket somewhere with the filling. Fold the length of the dough over the filling and roll up tightly, leaving the seam side down. Turn the roll into a circle, seam side down and put one end inside the other to hide the seam, and seal the circle. Place the cake on a baking sheet and let rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  • Brush all over with the egg wash, then place the king cake into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • When the cake cools, brush with some of the glaze (recipe below). Sprinkle cake with colored purple, green and gold sugars.
-1 cup powdered sugar
-milk, enough to make an icing that can be drizzled

The meaning behind the baby trinket is that the person who finds it hidden in their piece of cake is the one who has to bring the King Cake to the next party. If you like King Cake as much as I do, let me know where your favorite place to eat a King Cake from is!

Happy Mardi Gras!

1 comment:

  1. I have never tried one...but now I want to. I had seen them before, but actually thought it was like a regualr pound cake.


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