King Cake 55/365
So, I'm not really big into Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, etc (does that mean Ash Wednesday is right around the corner?) I'm not Catholic, but my goodness this cake smells and looks delicious! So I decided to edu-ma-cate myself. (and evidently I can't remember the last time I wrote about Fat Tuesday. I'm losing my mind I tell ya).
I don't think the ones brought into work had little dolls in them ... but they were pretty well devoured by the time I got my slice.
A king cake (sometimes rendered as kingcake, kings' cake, king's cake, or three kings cake) is a type of cake associated with the festival of Epiphany in the Christmas season in a number of countries, and in other places with Mardi Gras and Carnival. It is popular in Christmas season in France, Belgium and Switzerland (galette/gâteau des Rois), Portugal (Bolo Rei), Spain (Roscón de Reyes and in Catalonia called tortell), Greece and Cyprus (vasilopita) and Bulgaria (banitsa). In the United States, which celebrates Carnival ranging from Pensacola, Florida to East Texas, centered on New Orleans it is associated instead with Mardi Gras season traditions.
The cakes have a small trinket (often a small plastic baby, sometimes said to represent Baby Jesus) inside, and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations.
Of course, I went for the chocolate. There was also blueberry, cream cheese, praline ... it looked like each section was a different flavor. And now, for your pleasure and my future reference, a recipe (from Nola Cuisine).
King Cake Recipe
For the Brioche:
1 Envelope Active Dry Yeast
2 Tbsp Warm Water (115 degree F)
1 tsp Iodized Salt
2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Milk
2 tsp Orange Zest, minced
2 Cups All Purpose Flour, sifted
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 Eggs, beaten
1 1/4 sticks cold Unslated Butter, cut into very small dice
1 Egg beaten and 2 Tbsp water, for the eggwash
1 plastic baby trinket
1. Dissolve the yeast in the workbowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, let stand until frothy.
2. Dissolve the salt, sugar, orange zest and milk in a small bowl. When dissolved combine the milk mixture with the yeast mixture. Mix the cinnamon with the flour.
3. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, then gradually add the flour, until all is incorporated. Knead on low speed for 10 minutes, or until a smooth elastic dough is formed. A little more flour may be necessary. With the motor running, incorporate the butter into the dough, a little at a time but rather quickly so that it doesn’t heat up and melt.
4. Turn the dough into an oiled bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour in a warm spot.
5. When the dough has doubled in bulk punch it down, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll the dough out to a 6 x 18 inch rectangle. Spead the Pecan filling (recipe below) out in the middle of the rectangle along the whole length, leaving about 1 1/2 inch on each side. Place the baby trinket somewhere with the filling. Fold the length of the dough over the filling and roll up tightly, leaving the seam side down. Turn the roll into a circle, seam side down and put one end inside of the other to hide the seam, and seal the circle. Place the cake on a baking sheet and let rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Brush all over with the egg wash, then place the king cake into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
When the cake cools, brush with some of the glaze (recipe below) thinned out with more cold water. This will help the sugars adhere. Decorate the cake with the colored sugars and drizzle some of the thicker glaze onto the cake.
Place on a large round serving plate and decorate with Mardi Gras beads, doubloons and whatever else that you like.
For the Pecan filling:
1 Cup Pecan halves, broken up slightly and roasted until fragrant
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1 pinch of salt
4 Tbsp Steen’s Cane Syrup
Combine all of the ingredients together.
For the glaze
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tbsp Bourbon
Water (enough to make a paste that can be drizzled)
Combine the sugar and bourbon, whisk in enough water to make a glaze that can be drizzled.