Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Louisiana King Cake

I had never heard of King Cake until my freshman year of college. My roommate was from Louisiana and her dad sent us a King Cake to celebrate Mardi Gras. Oh how delicious it was! I remember especially loving the pieces that had icing on them. YUM! I have craved one of those King Cakes about this time every year at least for the last 6 years. This year, I decided to look for a recipe and try to make one myself. And let me tell you, it was delicious! I think it is actually pretty darn close to the ones I had with my roommate. We celebrated Fat Tuesday last night with our yummy King Cake, not that we have any New Orleans roots, I just like to cook! I hope you enjoy it!!

Louisiana King Cake
adapted from

1/2 cup warm water
2 envelopes active dry yeast (or 2 TBSP if using jarred yeast)
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups sifted flour (I used closer to 5 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
3 eggs
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
with 1 tablespoon milk
a tiny doll or coin

Filling (optional):
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans

3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice, strained
3 to 5 tablespoons water

Sugar Topping:
Paste food coloring: purple, green, and yellow
3/4 cup sugar
or prepared colored sugar

Combine yeast and the warm water. Combine flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in lemon peel. Make a well in center and add yeast and water mixture, along with milk. Lightly beat the 3 eggs and 4 egg yolks; add to liquid mixture. With a large wooden spoon, gradually incorporate dry ingredients into liquids in the center well. Beat in 1/2 cup of the butter and continue beating until dough forms ball. Use a food processor or dough hook for beating, if desired. Place ball on floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, incorporating more flour as necessary, a little at a time. Butter the inside of a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Place dough in bowl and turn so the entire surface will be buttered Cover bowl and set aside for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Brush a large baking sheet with remaining butter. Punch dough down on lightly floured surface. Knead, then roll dough out into a rectangle if going to use filling. In small bowl mix together filling ingredients until it resembles small crumbles, no bigger than the size of peas. I used a pastry cutter and it helped to this pretty quickly. Spread filling mixture onto rolled out dough evenly. Roll dough up like a jelly roll. Place on baking sheet and form into a ring. Press bean or doll well into dough so that it doesn't show. I used a small car because I didn't have a baby. Set aside again to rise for about 45 to 60 minutes. When ready to bake, brush the top and sides of the ring with the egg-milk mixture. Bake the King's Cake in middle of oven at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Slide cake onto wire rack to cool.

Combine the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water in a deep bowl; stir until the icing smooth. If too stiff to spread, beat in 1 teaspoon water at a time, until desired consistency is reached. It should be thin enough to run slowly down the sides of the cake. Spread the icing over the top of the cake, letting it to run down the sides. If you don't like lemon, I would use half lemon juice, half milk for the icing.

Prepare the colored sugar using paste coloring or liquid coloring and set aside.

Sprinkle the colored sugars over the icing immediately, forming a row of purple, yellow, and green strips, each about 2 inches wide, on both sides of the ring.


Casey said...

I am totally impressed! That king cake looks delicious and so pretty! I will definitely have to make it sometime soon. My mom came up to visit us during her Mardi Gras break (She's a school teacher), and she was supposed to bring us a king cake from NOLA, but forgot! I was so bummed! But, now I have no excuse not to try to make one of my own.

Laura said...

Impressive! This looks so good. One day I'll have to try it.

Lynn - A Foodie and Her Family said...

I made one too this past August. A few of my neighbors decided to have a dinner group and when we hosted it, we did a taste of Mardi Gras. It was fun learning all about New Orleans and Mardi Gras.

I was bummed that my King Cake came a part during baking. It was still yummy, you can peek here:

Here are the other recipes that we made for our Taste of Mardi Gras:


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