Wednesday, March 9, 2011

King Cake for Mardi Gras

This week is Mardi Gras and although I have never had the opportunity to join the festivities down south, it does not deter my curiousity. After reading and searching for information and a worthy King Cake recipe this is what I found. The King Cake tradition came to New Orleans with the first French settlers and has stayed ever since. Although some of the details have evolved and changed over the years, whoever got the porcelain baby, coin, or bean in their slice of cake would host the party next year.
For the recipe I decided to use a version from Emeril Lagasse. This version is filled with a sweetened cream cheese filling. This King Cake is a yeast cake enriched with egg and butter. So lets begin with the ingredients.
2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 cup milk (about 110 degrees)
5 egg yolks, at room temp
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp oil
1 lb cream cheese, at room temp
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5 tbs milk, at room temp
2 tbs lemon juice
Purple, green, and gold sugar sprinkles (purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power)
king baby, bean or pecan half
1.- Combine the yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the melted butter and warm milk. Beat at low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the egg yolks, then beat 1 minute at medium speed. Add the flour, salt, nutmeg, and zest; beat until everything is incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, forms a ball, and climbs up the dough hook.
2.- Remove the dough from the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball. Lightly oil a bowl with the vegatable oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic, Set aside in a warm, draft-free place unmtil doubled, about 2 hours.
3.- Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, vanilla and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Blend until smooth. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
4.- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and using your fingers, pat it out to a rectangle about 30" x 6". Spread the filling lengthwise over the bottom half of the dough. Flip the top half of dough over the filling and pinch the sides to seal. Shape the dough into a cylinder and shapre into a ring, seam side down on the parchment lined sheet. Insert the bean, baby, or pecan into the bottom of the ring. Cover the ring with a clean cloth and place in a warm, draft-free place. Let the dough rise until it is doubled, about 45 minutes.
5.-Brush the top of the risen cake with 2 tbs of milk. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
6.- Make the icing: Combine the remaining 3 tbs milk, lemon juice, and 2 cups of powdered sugar in a bowl. Stir to blend well. With a rubber spatula, spread the icing evenly over the top. Sprinkle the sugar crystals, alternating colors. Set aside to set up.
This cake yields 22-32 slices depending on how thick it is cut. The cake is wonderful, the nutmeg is delecate, not overpowering. The cream cheese filling is slightly sweet and the addition of vanillia makes it heavenly. I received many compliments from many tasters. It is really not as labor intensive as it sounds. I hope you give it a try. I know I will be making this again soon (but, I'll have to change the colors and its name)!


Vicki said...

It's beautiful and looks delicious!

HanaĆ¢ said...

Nice decoration. I also like the picture of the inside view. That dough sounds very rich but it looks like you can cut many servings from it.