Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe
There are a few things that I miss about living in Louisiana. One of them is King Cake at Mardi Gras time. Now that I have moved to Phoenix, I have had to learn to make them for myself. I have been working on my recipe over the past 3 years to get it to where I know we will LOVE it every time.
The basics of King Cake are pretty simple, you are basically making a less sweet cinnamon roll dough, but instead of cutting the dough into rolls, you are will be baking the dough as a ring. What I have found over the many trials, is that I like to use a potato bread recipe…I know that sounds weird, but it makes the dough softer and gives the perfect light density to the bread part of the King Cake.
There are many variations you could take on this basic recipe. You could use a cream cheese filling and even strawberry jam instead of the cinnamon sugar mixture. You could also change the frosting up with a cream cheese frosting (I do that quite a bit, but this one is my standby, since I keep all the ingredients in my pantry.)
- 1 packet "highly active" active dry yeast; or 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast; or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 7/8 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water (100-110 degrees F)
- 3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I prefer King Arthur)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
- 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
- 1/8 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 cup of light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons butter, melted, to brush on dough
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 to 5 tablespoons milk (I prefer canned evaporated milk)
- First, make the dough. If you're using active dry yeast, dissolve it with a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons in the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded. If you're using instant yeast, you can skip this step.
- Combine the yeast with the remaining dough ingredients. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle (My preferred method is the dough cycle of the bread machine). The dough should be VERY smooth. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take about 7 minutes at speed setting 2, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl and may stick a bit at the bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, till it's nearly doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours. Don't skimp on this step, you need the dough to be very puffy to get the dough to relax enough to help you get the lenghth you will need on the roll out.
- Transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured work surface, and pat or roll it into a 16" x 12" rectangle. I sometimes find that I can only get it to be about 12" x 12" at first. I will cover with a damp kitchen towel and leave it at this size for 10 minutes or so. Then I come back and roll it only length-wise and I can then get it to 16" or a little longer.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F while you make the filling - Make the filling: whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.
- Brush the dough lightly with butter.
- Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, covering the entire surface.
- Roll the dough into a log the long way; it'll stretch to about 20" long as you roll.
- Pinch the seam closed well. Join the 2 ends to form a ring and pinch the seam together. I dip my fingers in water while pinching the seams, that way they really seal together.
- Place on ceramic stone or baking pan (Make sure your pan has sides or use a stone, because if a seam busts open, it will ooze yumminess all over your oven).
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes or until firm.
- Let cool for at least 1 hour before you make the glaze and glaze the cake. (This is the longest hour of your life, just kidding)
- Make the glaze. Combine all glaze ingredients with an electric mixer and mix for at least 1 - 2 minutes until you have a creamy whipped texture.
- Spread glaze over the cake and then use colored sugars of Gold, Green and Purple. Alternating sections.
Mardi Gras and King Cake go hand in hand and for me this is my favorite part of Mardi Gras. I hope that you enjoy the King Cake recipe and let me know how you liked it. Also, if you try it and make any changes, let me know, I am always up for trying a new way to make this amazing cake.
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