The March Bread of the Month for the Artisan Bread Bakers is King Cake. King Cake is usually served on Fat Tuesday during Mardi Gras, but I decided to wait and make it when my youngest son was home for Spring Break.
The version the Artisan Bread Bakers made sounded really good, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients so I made a Traditional King Cake instead. I couldn’t find the different colored sugar sprinkles so I made my own. The purple turned out a little bit dark but it tasted really good.
Traditional King Cake
This traditional Mardi Gras dessert makes two king cakes each topped with a creamy glaze and festive gold, purple, and yellow sugar sprinkles. I only made one coffee cake so I halved all of the ingredients listed below:
Yield: Makes 2 cakes (about 18 servings each)
- 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour (I used an all-purpose mix of white and whole wheat flour)
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Creamy Glaze (recipe follows)
- Purple-, green-, and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles
I colored the sugar with yellow and green food coloring and a mixture of red/blue food coloring for the purple:
Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.
Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-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. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 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°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.
Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle.
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 on each rectangle.
Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side.
Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.
Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes).
Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.
For our Mardi Gras celebration, I made this King Cake and some Jambalaya from the March edition of Bon Appetite. I didn’t take a photo of the Jambalaya, but it was really good.
Then came time for dessert. All I can say is that I’m glad I didn’t make two of these coffee cakes It tastes so good! I sent some home with my BF and some back to school with my son.
Notes: Prep: 30 min.; Cook: 10 min.; Stand: 5 min.; Rise: 1 hr., 30 min.; Bake: 16 min. This recipe uses bread flour, which makes for a light, airy cake. You still get tasty results with all-purpose flour--the cake will just be more dense.
For a Cream Cheese-Filled King Cake: Prepare each 22- x 12-inch dough rectangle as directed. Omit 1/3 cup softened butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Increase 1/2 cup sugar to 3/4 cup sugar. Beat 3/4 cup sugar; 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened; 1 large egg; and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders. Proceed with recipe as directed.
Creamy Glaze Recipe:
Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 to 4 tablespoons milk
Stir together first 4 ingredients. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk, adding additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until spreading consistency.