Famous New Orleans King Cake Recipe

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!

INGREDIENTS

PASTRY:
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
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

FILLING:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup melted butter


FROSTING:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon water

EXTRAS:

Plastic Baby

DIRECTIONS
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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Foods Only Louisiana Natives Know and Love

Louisiana is known for its revelry and its food for good reason- it’s the best in the world.  The unique combinations of spices, meats and other ingredients make Louisiana dishes some of the most flavorful and opulent ones you’ll ever taste.  Some dishes have become favorites for the locals and can be expected at any Louisiana get together or dinner party. We have compiled a list of some Louisiana favorites but click here for a full list.  Grab a napkin and get ready to explore Louisiana culture through your stomach.

1.    Beignets

This delicious deep fried French doughnut made New Orleans’ Café du Monde famous.  Did you even really go to New Orleans if you didn’t check in to Cafe Du Monde?  They are sprinkled with enough powdered sugar to satisfy anyone’s sugar craving. You can also find these delectable desserts stuffed with a variety of sweet or savory ingredients like caramel or fruits.  New Orleans even has a Beignet Festival (powdered sugar heaven!), held in December, that you won’t want to miss.

2.    Pralines

The gooey caramel cookie sprinkled with caramelized pecans can be found in most corner markets in New Orleans and as the years have passed, more and more flavors have been added to the classic recipe. This sugary, buttery candy is made from butter, brown sugar and pecans, cooked in a kettle and dried on wax paper. French nuns brought these treats to New Orleans in the 1700s.They are the perfect compliment to any gift basket or Christmas gift.  The dentist may cringe at this sweet treat but your taste buds certainly won’t!

3.    Boudin

Vegetarians beware! This spicy sausage is filled with seasoned pork and rice and many locals slurp the stuffing out of the casing with one hand, while driving with the other. Boudin is served in links or in boudin balls, which are deep-fried cousins of the iconic Cajun delicacy.  Boudin comes in many flavors and varieties depending on the meats and spices that are included. Earl’s Cajun Market in Lafayette serves up excellent boudin and plate lunches. Head to Scott, Louisiana which is the Boudin Capital of the World. Stop at Billy’s Boudin and Cracklins or Don’s Specialty Meats.  Boudin can also be found on many menus throughout Louisiana.

4.    King Cake

The sweet Danish pastry is a Mardi Gras tradition and usually decorated in colored sugar of purple, green, and gold. Cakes can be plan sugar and cinnamon flavored or have a variety of stuffings like cream cheese, blueberry or other fruit filling, even chocolate or pecan.  The tradition is that whoever finds the baby, which is a tiny plastic replica of a baby, has to buy the next King Cake. The only way to find the baby is to dig in! Bon appetit!

5.    PoBoys

This is a submarine-type sandwich made with French bread. Order it “dressed” if you like your po’boy with mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles and tomato.  A Louisiana favorite comes with fried shrimp or fried oysters but you can get whatever meat you prefer inside. Try one at the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival in New Orleans, held in November. Mother’s Restaurant, also in New Orleans, serves roast beef po’boys with a type of gravy known as debris (pronounced day’-bree). Chris’ Po’boys in Lafayette is among the best restaurants in Cajun Country to satisfy your po’boy cravings.

6. Crawfish Etouffee

This is a Creole dish of rice smothered in a stew of roux, crawfish, herbs and vegetables. The roux (called a “blonde roux” for its lighter color than the kind typically used in gumbo) is a mixture of butter and flour, mixed with celery, bell peppers and onion.  In New Orleans, find crawfish étouffée at Bon Ton Café and Jacque-Imo’s. Outside the Crescent City you’ll find mouthwatering étouffée at The Chimes in Baton Rouge and at Boudreaux & Thibodaux’s in Houma.

For more news and info on Louisiana culture, click here.

Quick and Easy Mini King Cake Recipe

 

King Cake season is here! That means you can’t go into any grocery store or bakery without seeing these delicious cakes. But what if you decide that you want to adventure out of your own and make your own king cake? Pillsbury has come up with a delicious cinnamon roll, king cake recipe that is quick and easy. In just 40 minutes, you can have your own king cake fresh out of the oven. For serving information and expert tips, you can click here.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (17.5 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands! cinnamon rolls with icing
  • 2 tablespoons yellow colored sugar
  • 2 tablespoons purple colored sugar
  • 2 tablespoons green colored sugar

 Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet
  • Separate dough into 5 rolls. To make mini king cake, unroll 1 roll into a dough rope; fold rope in half lengthwise. Twist dough in a spiral, and shape into a circle. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat to use up rolls, placing 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Spread icing on warm cakes. Sprinkle with colored sugars.