Wednesday, March 16, 2011

King Cake

In celebration of Mardi Gras I decided to bake a King Cake for Fat Tuesday.  Traditionally, the King Cake is served for the Feast of the Epiphany, otherwise known as "Kings' Day", which is celebrated January 6th.  Today, in New Orleans, the cake is served throughout the Epiphany season, which is also Mardi Gras season. 

Start by letting the sweet bread dough rise.  In many of the recipes I found, the dough is handmade, I however decided to take the easy route and used Rhodes Sweet Bread which can be found in the freezer section at the grocery store.  I wanted to make several miniature king cakes so I let two loaves of dough rise and cut them in half to make four cakes. 

Using the dough for one cake, roll into a large rectangle. 
To prevent sticking, sprinkle flour on the rolling surface and the rolling pin.

Cut the dough into three even pieces.  Once cut into three pieces, spread butter over the entire surface and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  As seen in the picture above, leave about 1/4" on one side of each piece uncoated so that when you roll the dough it will stick together.

In one of the rolls you are supposed to hid a treasure.  Typically, a tiny plastic baby is hidden inside the cake.  The person who receives the slice of cake with the baby is supposed to continue the festivities by hosting the next King Cake party.  I didn't have a tiny, plastic baby on hand so I used a jelly bean in my cake instead. 
Next roll each of the three rectangles, which are covered with butter, sugar, and cinnamon, and pinch the dough together so it remains closed.

Braid the three rolls of dough.  Once braided, place on a baking sheet and bake @ 350 for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Here is a picture of the baked King Cake.  Looks delicious!

While the bread is baking, you can start making the frosting.  For the frosting mix the following:
2 Tbsp. Butter (room temp.)
1 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
2 Tbsp. Milk (add a little at a time)

Mix the ingredients until the frosting is smooth and creamy.  Drizzle the frosting over the entire cake.

Now comes the fun part, decorating!  Use sanding sugar in the traditional Mardi Gras colors; green, purple, and yellow.  Purple represents justice; green, faith; and gold, power.  I bought sanding sugar at Willams Sonoma.  It comes in every color and the containers are stackable.   
After the cake is iced, sprinkle the sanding sugar over the cake.  You can dress up your cake by placing Mardi Gras beads around the cake, on the platter or table.  Enjoy!

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