Homemade king cake worth a try > Recipes

Posted On January 6, 2007

Filed under Festive Recipes

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Today is the first day of the traditional Carnival Season, Kings Day, Twelfth Night, the Feast of the Epiphany. 

On the outside chance that you want to give homemade king cake a try, we have a couple of recipes for you. The first it’s a yeast-dough version with a texture, color and flavor not unlike brioche. The second it makes good use of refrigerated crescent-roll dough, cream cheese and canned pie filling. 

KING CAKE
Ingredients >
½ cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
2 packages dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
4 to 5 cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
½ cup warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)
½ cup melted unsalted butter, cooled
5 egg yolks
½ cup finely chopped candied citron
1 pecan half, an uncooked dried bean or a King Cake baby

For the Glaze >
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
Purple, green and gold sugar crystals

Method >
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the warm water, yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside to a warm place for about 10 minutes. Combine the 4 cups of flour, ½ cup sugar, salt, nutmeg, and lemon rind and add warm milk, melted butter, egg yolks and yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place the dough in a well-greased bowl. Turn once so greased surface is on top.
Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1½ hours). Punch the dough down and place on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the citron and knead until the citron is evenly distributed. Shape the dough into a cylinder, about 30 inches long. Place the cylinder on a buttered baking sheet. Shape into a ring, pinching ends together to seal. Place a well-greased 2-pound coffee can or shortening can in the center of the ring to maintain shape during baking. Press the King Cake Baby, pecan half or dried bean into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough. Cover the ring with a towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the coffee can immediately. Allow the cake to cool. For the glaze: Combine the ingredients and beat until smooth. To assemble, drizzle cake with the glaze. Sprinkle with sugar crystals, alternating colors. Cut into the cake and hope you do not get the baby, because if you do, you’ll have to provide the next king cake.

QUICK KING CAKE
Ingredients >
1 can crescent rolls
¼ cup cinnamon
¼ cup butter
1 can fruit pie filling (cherry, blueberry, peach)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup icing (recipe follows)
¾ cup sugar, divided into 3 parts, 1/4 cup each
Food coloring in gold, purple, green

Method >
After opening the can of crescent rolls, unroll the entire package of rolls at one time, in one piece. With your fingers, press seams together to form one piece of dough. Mix together the butter and cinnamon, and gently spread over the dough. Mix together the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Drop teaspoonfuls over the top of the dough. Drop teaspoonfuls of the pie filling over the dough as you did the cream cheese. Starting on the long end, carefully roll the dough, horizontally, with the filling and cream cheese inside. Insert the Mardi Gras baby at any place within the dough.
Place on baking pan with the seam side down in a circle, pinching the ends together. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. While the cake is baking, use the food coloring to dye the sugar. When cake is cool, pour icing over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the colored sugar, alternating the three colors as you go around the circle.
Icing: Combine 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water until smooth. If icing is too stiff, cautiously add more water until spreadable. Spread over cake and immediately sprinkle with colored sugars in alternating bands around the cake.

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