Cake Fit For A King
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is known for parades, beads and partying. But the festive holiday has more fun traditions than what you see at a glance. My favorite is the famous Mardi Gras dessert, the King Cake.
The tradition and original recipes for King Cakes were famously brought to New Orleans from France in the 1870s. The cakes are usually decorated in Mardi Gras colors, purple for “justice,” green for “faith” and gold for “power.”
A small plastic baby is usually hidden somewhere in the cake and legend says, whoever finds the baby is the King or Queen for the day—but their royalty is short-lived, as it’s their job to provide the King cake for everyone the following year.
Best of all, King Cake isn’t difficult to make. So, whether you’re throwing a Mardi Gras party, or you wanna enjoy the soft cinnamon-infused, sugar-topped dough all year long, check out my favorite recipe to make your own.
KING CAKE RECIPE
1 cup Milk
¼ cup Butter
⅔ cup Warm Water (110°F/45°C)
½ cup white sugar, divided
2 (.25 ounce) packages Active Dry Yeast
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated Nutmeg
5½ cups All-Purpose Flour
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
⅔ cup chopped Pecans
½ cup All-Purpose Flour
½ cup Raisins
1 tablespoon ground Cinnamon
½ cup Melted Butter
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 tablespoon Water
1 small plastic baby
- Make pastry: Scald milk over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Stir together warm water, 1 tablespoon white sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- Add cooled milk mixture to yeast mixture and whisk in eggs. Stir in remaining white sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Beat flour, 1 cup at a time, into milk/egg mixture. Once dough comes together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl; turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
- Make filling: Combine brown sugar, pecans, flour, raisins, and cinnamon in a bowl. Pour melted butter on top and mix until crumbly.
- Roll each piece of dough into a 10×16-inch rectangle. Sprinkle filling evenly over dough and roll up tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at a wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval-shaped rings.
- Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors, make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1-inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Bake in the preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
- Make glaze: Stir together confectioners’ sugar and water in a bowl until smooth.
- Push doll into bottom of one warm cake. Drizzle glaze over both warm cakes.