A traditional King Cake is circular in shape to represent a crown, and decorated with sugar tinted in the classic Carnival colors---green, gold, and purple, symbolizing faith, power, and justice. If you're tired of eating grocery store King Cake and want a great recipe to use as a jumping off point (cherry cream cheese with pecans, anyone?) try this out. If you like the recipe, then check out Louisiana Cookin' magazine. Subscribe with the promotion code wwoz2010, and they'll donate $5 to WWOZ.
Courtesy of Marcelle Bienvenu
Serves 10 to 12
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, in all
1 cup sugar
2 packages Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 stick salted butter plus 1/4 cup melted butter
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Powdered Sugar Glaze (recipe follows)
Colored Sugars (recipe follows)
In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and un-dissolved yeast. Heat milk, water, and stick of butter until very warm, about 120°F to 130°F.
Add to flour, yeast, and sugar mixture and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed with an electric mixer. Add eggs and 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, and salt. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour to make a stiff batter.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Punch dough down and remove to a lightly floured surface. Divide into 3 equal portions. Roll each to 28x4 inches. Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon.
Beginning at the long end, roll each up tightly as for a jelly-roll. Pinch seams to form long ropes. Braid, then form into an oval. Pinch ends together to seal. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Bake at 375°F for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Brush with powdered sugar glaze and sprinkle with the colored sugars.
Powdered Sugar Glaze
Makes 2 cups
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk
Start with 2 tablespoons of milk and combine with the powdered sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add the remaining tablespoon of milk. The mixture should be thick enough to stay in place when placed on the cooled king cake.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided into 1/2 cup measures
green, yellow, red, and blue food colorings
Divide sugar into three zip-top plastic bags or sealed jars. To one bag/jar add 8 drops of green food coloring. To the second, add 8 drops of yellow food coloring. In a small dish mix 8 drops of blue food coloring and 16 drops of red food coloring, and add it to the third bag. Mix sugars and colors together thoroughly in each bag.