Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

Mardi Gras is approaching quickly and if you'll recall last year I made a King Cake.   Well this year I couldn't break tradition (is something a tradition after only one year?), so last night was King Cake baking night!  Luckily, Ben was around to help, because these things are not a piece of cake (har har har - pun intended).   However, that is not meant to discourage you, but just to warn you that this is a project and not just something that can be whipped up in an hour!

The cake recipe is from Southern Living and cannot be beat!  But for the icing, I actually use a different icing recipe than what Southern Living calls for (I prefer a cream cheese one).

Ingredients for the cake:
16 oz. sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 (1/4 oz) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100 - 110 degrees)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 1/2 cups bread flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon (or more, it really won't hurt)

Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts.  Set aside, and cool to 100 - 110 degrees.  Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 2-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.  Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth (use a bread hook attachment if you have one).  Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in size.

Punch down dough, and divide in half.  Roll each portion into a 22x12 rectangle (not the easiest thing in the world).  Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1 inch border.  Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over butter.  See below picture.  

Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion.  See below picture.  Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring (don't forget to place the plastic baby inside!).  Pinch edges together.  Repeat with second roll.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.  Bake at 375 for 14-16 minutes.  Cool cakes on wire racks.  Drizzle icing over the top (see recipe below) and sprinkle with green, purple, and yellow sprinkles!


Ingredients for icing:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix ingredients together until a smooth glaze forms.  Place in microwave for 15 seconds to melt if need be.



Katie said...

That king cake looks delicious!! I bought one from the grocery store the other day and was very disappointed to find jelly inside instead of delicious cinnamon sugar. Next time I will definitely try your recipe! Can't wait to celebrate Mardi Gras with you and Ben in New Orleans this weekend!

Anonymous said...

wow... your King cake looks great. I made one last week and I agree, a ton of work.

Karen said...

I have made that recipe before...and being from Louisiana I can say it is very good. However, a few years ago I found the recipe below and it is somehow even better! Try it next will love it! I typically mix pecans with the filling or do a cream cheese pecan filling. If you have a Kitchenaid does most of the work for you too.

King Cake
½ c. warm water
2 pkgs. yeast
½ c. plus 1 tsp. sugar
3 ½ - 5 c. flour
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
½ c. warm milk
5 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
8 Tbs. butter, cut into slices, plus 1 Tbs. softened butter
1 ½ c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
2 Tbs. cinnamon
8 Tbs. butter, melted
1 c. confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbs. milk
¼ c. green tinted sugar
¼ c yellow tinted sugar
¼ c. purple tinted sugar

Pour warm water into shallow bowl and sprinkle yeast and 2 tsp. sugar into it. Let rest 3 minutes and mix thoroughly. Set bowl in warm place for 5 minutes until yeast bubbles and mixture almost doubles in volume.
Combine 3 ½ c. flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg, and salt, and sift into large mixer bowl. Stir in lemon zest. Beat in yeast mixture, milk, and vanilla. Add egg yolks and yeast mixture to dry ingredients and mix on low speed. When smooth, beat in 8 Tbs. butter, 1 Tbs. at a time, and continue to beat 2 minutes or until dough can be formed into soft ball.
Knead dough until no longer sticky, adding up to 1 ½ c. more flour if necessary. Knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic. Coat inside of large bowl with 1 Tbs. softened butter. Place dough in bowl and rotate until entire surface is buttered. Cover with kitchen towel and place in draft-free spot for about 1 ½ hr. or until dough doubles in volume. While dough is rising, mix together sugars, cinnamon, and pecans (optional).
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (I use a large pizza tray to bake this). Punch dough down and roll out into an 18 x 36-inch rectangle. Brush surface with melted butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar mixture. Cut lengthwise into 3 strips, rolling each like a jelly roll, then braid, form into a ring, and place on baking sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled (about 45 minutes).

Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350°.

When cake is cooled, combine confectioners’ sugar and milk to make a glaze. Cover cake with glaze, then sprinkle with tinted sugars.

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