Friday, February 28, 2014
Mardi Gras King Cake
It's that time of year again to celebrate Mardi Gras! When we lived in New Orleans we loved going to the family friendly parades and watching the kids (and adults) gather as many beads and gifts as they possibly could. With the snow packed up higher than our cars here in Minnesota this year, it's hard to imagine that we were somewhere else this time of year enjoying the warmth of a late evening out at the parade.
One of our favorite parts of the celebrations were all the King Cakes we got to enjoy at each party. Just like any baked good, there were certainly some that were better than others and I've enjoyed playing with recipes over the last few years. To me the best ones were almost more of a brioche dough, which means lots of egg, and although I loved the multiple fillings you can find in some, there's nothing better than the classic cinnamon and sugar. I ended up creating this final recipe for Red Star Yeast and I think it's one of the best that I've had.
With this recipe I also created some mini king cakes which are lot of fun to decorate for parties where people might want to share a small one or for something just a little different. You can see below that I split the dough in half and made one medium ring and four small rings from the one batch. Many traditional recipes include some citrus but I found over time that they don't add much to the recipe and I prefer the end result without it. You can add some citrus to the frosting though if you still like that addition.
Red Star Yeast has hundreds of amazing recipes and if you don't already, follow along with them on Facebook and you'll be drooling at least once a day.
Mardi Gras King Cake
1 cup milk, heated to 110 degrees
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Platinum Yeast
1 cup butter, melted
5 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
colored sugar or sprinkles in green, gold and purple
In a large mixer, combine all the ingredients and mix until combined using the mixing paddle. Once combined, use the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-7 minutes until it is smooth and elastic, adding additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl. The dough will remain soft however. Place the dough in a greased bowl, over and let rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the dough from the bowl and gently deflate. Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a long rectangle, approximately 24 inches long and 6 inches wide.
Combine the filling ingredients and sprinkle generously over the dough.
From the long edge roll the dough tightly and pinch the edges together to create a tight seam. If making the smaller king cakes, cut the strip into 6 inch segments. Take each segment (or the one long segment) and form into a ring gently pinching the ends together to seal. Place the rings onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Cover and allow to rise for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the sheet pan into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Combine the icing ingredients until smooth, thinning with additional milk as necessary and pour over cooled cake. Sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkles and serve.