Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras

I'm not a huge Mardi Gras-er, I've never been before, but I love King Cakes. Southern Living has a great recipe for a Traditional King Cake. This recipe makes 2 King Cakes, so that's a plus. The icing recipe I used came from a reader of Southern Living who loves cream cheese almost as much as I do.

1 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese
1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick of butter (room temperature)
1 to 2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Mix the ingredients together until smooth glaze forms.

Just a warning, this is going to be a longer post than usual, because I want to show some pictures of the process to prepare the dough for baking. In the recipe, when it says divide the dough in half, I did so and set one half to the side while I worked with the first half and got it ready for the baking sheet.

Roll out the dough to a 12 x 22 inch rectangle. Spread softened butter all over the dough, leaving a one inch border. Then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the butter. This was where I made a small mistake. I did not put enough cinnamon (at least not as much as I like). So I suggest that if you think you have put too much cinnamon and sugar to put a little bit more, because what's a King Cake with out lots of cinnamon?

I think this is the trickiest part of making the cake. Make sure your hands are well-floured because the cake will be sticky and difficult to roll into a "jelly roll" type fashion.

I then carefully picked up the roll and placed it on a greased baking sheet in an oval shape, pressing and sealing the ends together. The person working in the bakery at Kroger was nice enough to give me a plastic baby to put in the cake and some bright green sprinkles!

Then the bread has to rise again for 30 minutes at 85 degrees. So I covered it with a towel and set it on the stove while it was pre-heating. Then I baked it for 15 minutes at 375. Once it is done baking, it is important to leave it on the baking sheet and place it on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. After this, I spread the cream cheese glaze on the cake and put on the green, yellow, and purple sprinkles (the yellow and purple sprinkles came in a 6 pack of multi-colors, but the green included was more of a pastel green, which just wasn't going to cut it, so that's why it was so nice of the Kroger bakery to give me green sprinkles).

I then transferred the cake to a foil covered platter and cut a slice of cake to see how it turned out! I was very pleased!

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