King Cake

Kings Cake

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Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, and, for some reason, it’s on a Tuesday this year. We thought that everyone should celebrate Mardi Gras, regardless of the day. And what better way to celebrate than with a cake? Kings Cake, to be exact.

Last year we made Kings Cake with a recipe that we found at Allrecipes.com, and we thought it was really good, and fairly easy, so we figured, why mess with something that already turns out?

With that in mind: Laissez les bons temps rouler.

Makes 2 Kings cakes.

 

Kings Cake

Kings Cake

Ingredients

    For the dough
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 4 1/2 tsp dried yeast (2 packages)
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • For the filling
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar (200 g)
  • 1 Tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
  • For the frosting
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 1/4 tsp almond flavoring
  • Food coloring

Abbreviated Instructions

Scald Milk. Remove from heat. Drop the 1/2 stick butter into the still-hot milk. It’ll melt as the milk comes back to room temperature.

Heat the 2/3 cup of water to 100-110°F. Once you’ve warmed the water, add the tablespoon of sugar and the yeast, and stir to combine. Let sit until it foams up, about 5 to 10 minutes.

In a stand mixer, mix together the milk with melted butter (it should be room temperature) and the yeast mixture.

Add the two eggs.

Add sugar, nutmeg, and salt and mix.

Add flour. Add it one cup at a time, mixing between additions.

Knead for 8 minutes, then knead for a minute by hand.

Let rise in a lightly oiled mixing bowl until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.

Cut the dough into two roughly equal portions, shape each into a ball, and let rest while you make the filling.

Make filling

Combine brown sugar, flour, pecans, raisins, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl and work with a fork or your fingers until well combined.

Add melted butter and mix to combine.

Take one of the balls of dough and roll it out into a rectangle about 10 by 16 inches, and distribute half of the filling on the rectangle of dough.

Working from the longest edge, roll the dough into something resembling a jelly roll or log. Form into a ring and place on a greased baking sheet.

Using scissors, cut 1/3 of the way through the ring, each cut about an inch apart, all the way around the ring.

Cover and let rest until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating and shifting baking trays top to bottom about halfway through.

Take the Kings Cake out of the oven and let cool for about an hour before frosting.

Make the frosting.

Measure out the confectioners’ sugar and add the milk a bit at a time until you get a frosting-like consistency. Now, add the almond flavoring.

Divide the frosting into three small cups and use food coloring to get the colors.

Using a spoon for each color, drizzle on the frosting.

http://scratchinit.halversen.com/2013/02/kings-cake/

Ingredient discussion:

Nothing special, except the eggs; we always use free-range. Note that we broke out the ingredients into three sections: one for the dough, one for the filling, and one for the frosting. It makes it easier to deal with. Also, note that we give the amount of brown sugar in grams; if you have a scale, this will make it a lot easier to measure out. Finally, to do Kings Cake right, the frosting needs to be purple, green, and gold, which we’ll explain how to do below.

Procedure in detail:

scalding milk
The milk will be scalded when it starts to froth around the edges.

Scald Milk. Basically, heat the milk in a saucepan until you can feel it sticking just a bit at the bottom and see that it’s starting to get frothy. Remove from heat.

butter melting
Once scalded, remove from heat and add the 1/4 stick of butter so it can melt in.

Add butter. Drop the 1/2 stick butter into the still-hot milk. It’ll melt as the milk comes back to room temperature.

proffing yeast
Once you add the sugar and yeast, it’ll start getting foamy. That’s how you know the yeast is alive.

Proof yeast. Heat the 2/3 cup of water to 100-110°F. We do this by putting it in a microwavable measuring cup and microwaving for 30-60 seconds (in 5-15 second intervals), measuring the temperature with an instant- read thermometer. Basically, the water will feel warm, but definitely not hot. Too hot, and you’ll kill the yeast. Once you’ve warmed the water, add the tablespoon of sugar and the yeast, and stir to combine. It’ll take a minute or two of stirring to get the yeast dissolved. Let sit until it foams up, about 5 to 10 minutes.

milk, yeast and eggs.
Mix the milk, yeast water, and eggs together.

Mix liquids. In a stand mixer (or you can use a bowl and do this by hand) with the dough hook attachment, mix together the milk with melted butter (it should be room temperature) and the yeast mixture.

Add eggs. Add the two eggs and mix ’em in.

adding nutmeg
Add the sugar, salt, and nutmeg. The nutmeg might not completely mix in at first.

Add sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Measure them in, and set the mixer a-whirlin’ until they are mostly mixed in. The nutmeg might clump a bit, but don’t worry about it, because once the kneading commences, it’ll get mixed in, too.

adding flour
Add the flour about a cup at a time, mixing between additions.

Add 1 1/2 cup flour. Mix.

Add remaining flour. Add it one cup at a time, mixing between additions. Once you’ve added all the flour, the dough should have come together. It might be slightly sticky, which is fine.

King Cake dough
When you get all the flour in, the dough should be just slightly sticky. Then knead it for about 8 minutes.

Knead for 8 minutes. We run the mixer on low for about 8 minutes to do most of the kneading.

Knead by hand. Scrape the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead it for a minute by hand. Note how smooth and silky the dough feels. That’s good. All the stickiness should be gone; if not, keep your hands well-dusted with flour, and knead in a bit more flour.

ball of dough
Finishing the kneading by hand will make sure the dough is smooth and supple. Place it in an oiled bowl to rise.

Let rise. Lightly oil the mixing bowl, grab the ball of dough by the bottom and rub the top of the ball around the mixing bowl to coat, then, with a quick flip, turn the dough over so the bottom will be against the oiled surface. Cover the bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.

dough
Divide the dough in half and shape into balls. While you’re shaping, the dough will deflate.

Divide in two. Cut the dough into two roughly equal portions, shape each into a ball, and let rest while you make the filling.

Once well mixed, it should look something like this.
Once well mixed, it should look something like this.

Make filling. Combine brown sugar, flour, pecans, raisins, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl and work with a fork or your fingers until well combined.

filling
Once combined, the filling should be uniformly moist.

Add butter. Melt the butter; we used the microwave and a microwavable measuring cup, then pour it over the filling. Mix until combined.

rolled out dough
Roll out one of the dough balls into a large rectangle.

Roll out dough. Take one of the balls of dough and roll it out into a rectangle — don’t worry if it’s not perfect — about 16 by 10 inches.

filling on dough
Cover with about half the filling. Just try to get the filling evenly distributed.

Add filling. Now, distribute half of the filling on the rectangle of dough. Since there are raisins and nuts in the filling, you’ll really have bits and pieces all over, but that’s fine.

rolling dough
Roll it up! Roll it like you would a carpet, keeping all that delicious filling inside.

Roll up and form a crown. Working from the longest edge, roll the dough into something resembling a jelly roll or log. Form into a ring and place on a greased baking sheet, a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat.

assembled King Cake
Shape into a ring (crown) and cut notches about an inch apart all the way around.

Cut. Using scissors, cut 1/3 of the way through the ring, each cut about an inch apart, all the way around the ring. We like to hold the scissors at an angle to the dough so that we get little peaks on our crown.

Let rest. Cover and let rest until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Do this about 30 minutes into the resting period so that the oven will be nice and hot when the Kings Cake is ready to go in.

Bake. Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating and shifting baking trays top to bottom about halfway through. They will be nicely browned.

King Cake
Yum. You might want a bite now, but wait until it is frosted.

Cool. Take the Kings Cake out of the oven and let cool for about an hour before frosting. You want the cakes slightly warm, but not so warm that the frosting melts and runs off.

 

making frosting
Add milk, a tablespoon at a time, to the cup of confectioners’ sugar until you have frosting.

Make the frosting. Frosting is pretty easy; just measure out the confectioners’ sugar and add the milk a bit at a time until you get a frosting-like consistency. Now, add the almond flavoring, and you have a nice white frosting to drizzle over the cake. But for Mardi Gras, we want purple, gold, and green, so….

adding food coloring to frosting
Add food coloring to small amounts of frosting. A little food coloring goes a long way.

Color the frosting. Divide the frosting into three small cups and use food coloring to get the colors. Three drops of green for green (duh!), three drops of yellow gave us a nice gold, and three drops of red and two of blue for the purple.

colored frosting
Oh, pretty! Just a minute’s worth of effort makes for a much nicer-looking cake.

 

 

Kings Cake
Worthy of a king! But can you wait until one shows up before trying it? We thought not.

Drizzle. Using a spoon for each color, drizzle on the frosting. Man, looks good enough to eat!

Immediately after drizzling on the frosting, we had to break out the knife and dish up a slice. After that was gone, we had (just had to) slice off a piece each to, ah, straighten out the edges. Yeah, this stuff is good. It’s not super sweet, and more like bread than cake, so it’s a bit more substantial than cake. We think you can make a complete meal of it. Fives!

 

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