Mardi Gras King Cake

Prep Time: 2½ Hours
Yields: 10 Servings

The king cake has a long tradition associated with the Carnival season. Originally served as a dessert on the Feast of the Epiphany, this cake was baked with unique ingredients. A bean was pressed into the dough prior to cooking and whoever got the slice containing the bean had to host a party for all guests in attendance. Today, the bean has been replaced with a plastic baby signifying the New Year.

Ingredients for cake:

  • ½ ounce instant yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup powdered milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup warm water

In a measuring cup, combine yeast and ½ cup of water. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together all dry ingredients. Using a dough hook on an electric mixer, blend ingredients on low speed for 2-3 minutes. In a separate mixing bowl, combine eggs, butter and remaining warm water. Slowly pour liquids and blossomed yeast into the mixing bowl, gradually increasing the mixing speed. Mix until dough separates from the bowl, approximately 8-10 minutes. An additional ½ cup of flour may be sprinkled into the bowl if dough is too wet. Brush a large stainless bowl with melted butter then place dough inside. Brush dough with remaining butter and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow dough to proof in a warm place approximately 1 hour until double in size.

Ingredients for glaze:

  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp almond extract
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 tbsps cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and salt. Place in an electric mixer. Slowly pour in almond extract and water while mixing on low speed. Add cinnamon and continue to blend until glaze is smooth. Set aside.

Ingredients for assembly:

  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • eggwash (½ cup milk, 2 eggs, beaten)
  • Purple, green, and gold sugars

Preheat oven to 350ºF. After dough has proofed, roll out on a well-floured surface into an 18" x 12" rectangle. Brush top of dough with melted butter then sprinkle with mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Cut dough vertically into three even strips that will measure approximately 4" x 18". Fold each strip in half to make it 2" wide. Form into a basic three-strand braid then shape into a circle and pinch ends. Brush the entire cake with eggwash and proof in a warm place until the cake doubles in size. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle glaze over the entire cake and sprinkle with purple, green, and gold sugars. These sugars are available at pastry and cake decorating outlets.


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