King Cake, A Mardi Gras Classic

king cake

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I am a big fan of a filled pastry as you all know by now. This being Mardi Gras season it is time for that famous pastry of the season, the King Cake. The origins of this treat are found back 300 years in history where it started as a simple bread with sugar on top. It has certainly evolved over the years. This King Cake is adapted from a recipe I found in my local paper, the Missoulian. It’s a wonderful, flavorful pastry and I wonder why it’s only served at this one time of year.

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King Cake

King Cake

*I was making two so the photos may show double ingredients

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 1/2 a cup of sugar
  • the zest of a lemon
  • 4 eggs and two egg yolks at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS fast acting yeast
  • 5 – 6 cups all purpose flour

For the Filling:

  • 4 oz of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans, or walnuts toasted

For the Glaze and decorations:

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  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • yellow, green and purple sanding sugars
  • one egg mixed with a little water for an egg wash (optional)

make dough for king cake

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer with the dough hook attached mix together the 1 cup of warm milk, 1/2 a cup of sugar, the zest of a lemon, the eggs and yolks and the 1/2 cup of butter
  • Then add in the nutmeg, salt, and yeast.
  • Stir in 5 to 5 1/2 cups of the flour reserving the rest if needed. You want a somewhat moist dough so don’t add all the flour if you don’t need to.
  • Then cover the bowl and let it sit in a warm place, free from draft and rise until doubled.  About an hour
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
  • While the dough is rising you make the filling.
  • Place 1/2 a cup of raisins in a pot with enough water to cover.
  • Bring the water to a boil and remove from heat. Let the raisins sit for 15 minutes in the water.

make filling

  • In the bowl of a food processor place the cream cheese, brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and the cinnamon
  • When the raisins are ready drain them and pat them dry on a paper towel and add them to the mixture in the food processor. Process until well mixed
  • Toast 1/2 cup of pecans and add them to the mixture in the food processor.
  • Process until just mixed. Set this aside until you need it.

roll dough, add and spread filling

  • After the dough has risen take it from the bowl and roll it out to a 22 x 14″ rectangle.
  • Spread the filling over the dough leaving a 2″ border.

roll dough into circle

  • Roll the dough up tightly into a long log and then place on the prepared baking sheet in a circle shape. Tuck the ends into each other.
  • Let the dough rise for about an hour until puffy and almost doubled in size.
  • Towards the end of the rising preheat your oven to 350*F
  • Brush the dough with an egg wash if desired

golden brown king cake, cool on rack

  • Bake the King Cake for 45 to 55 minutes until nice and golden brown.

Make the Glaze and Decorate

  • Mix 3 cups of powdered sugar and 1/4 cup of lemon juice .
  • Drizzle this all over the cake.

king cake

How Was the King Cake?

This is my kind of pastry. Just like the apricot couronne I love so much it’s a sweet bread with a a sweet filling. It goes well with a cup of tea, coffee or a nice big glass of milk. The toasted pecans add a lovely crunch and loads of flavor. I made one for us here and one to send to a meeting. Of course I did!

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