The King Cake recipe is a famous Louisiana dessert that has a long history of being a local staple, especially during Mardi Gras. Before we look at how to make this delicious and colorful concoction first posted by Allrecipes.com, let’s take a quick look at the King Cake’s origins.
The King Cake, a circular shaped cross
between a coffee cake and a french pastry, is thought to have been brought to
New Orleans from France in 1870. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of
Mardi Gras, and as Mardi Gras has religious origins, so does the King Cake.
Mardi Gras Season kicks off on January 6th, also called the “Epiphany” which comes from
the Greek term “to show.” Jesus showed himself to the 3 Wisemen on this
day, and because of this, a tiny plastic baby is inserted somewhere into the
King Cake. In the olden days, things such as coins, pecans or peas were
used in place of the baby. Will you be the one to find the baby in your piece
of cake? Who knows? Tradition has it that, whoever finds the baby in
their piece of cake has to buy the next one.
King Recipes are as many as there are Mardi Gras traditions, and opinions on which bakery sells the best King Cake are held strongly by native Louisianians. They are typically cinnamon flavored and have various fillings such as cream cheese, butter pecan, strawberry, blueberry, vanilla pudding, etc.
This recipe is an easy and fun one to do at home. Try it out! You may just find that the best Louisiana King Cake is the one you make in your very own kitchen!
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon water
Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
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. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
To Make Filling: Combine the brown
sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour
1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
Roll dough halves out into large
rectangles (approximately 10×16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over
the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the
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 preheated oven for 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners’ sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.
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