Monday, January 14, 2008

Louisiana King Cake Recipe

Louisiana King Cake

1/2 warm water (110 degrees F.)
1/2 cup warm milk (110 degrees F.)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
5 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
4 3/4 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
1 tiny (1-inch) plastic doll
Colored Sugars
Lemon Frosting

Place all ingredients in bread pan according to manufacturer's instructions; select dough setting and press start. NOTE: Check the dough (don't be afraid to open the lid). It should form a nice elastic ball. If you think the dough is too moist, add additional flour (a tablespoon at a time). The same is true if the dough is looking dry and gnarly. Add warm water (a tablespoon at a time).

When dough cycle has finished, remove dough from pan and put into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a draft free place to rise for approximately 1 hour or until the dough doubles in volume.

Lightly coat a large baking sheet with butter or vegetable spray; set aside. Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly-oiled surface. Using your fist, punch dough down with a heavy blow. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top, pat and shape dough into a cylinder. Twist dough to form a curled cylinder and loop cylinder onto the buttered baking sheet. Pinch the ends together to form a circle. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let sit for approximately 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in volume.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush top and sides of cake with egg white wash and bake on middle rack of oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. (A good check is to use an instant thermometer to test your bread. The temperature should be between 200 and 210 degrees.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. If desired, at this time, you can hide the plastic doll in the cake.

Colored Sugars:
3/4 cup sugar
Green, purple, and yellow coloring paste

Squeeze a dot of paste in palm of hand. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the paste and rub together quickly. Place this mixture on wax paper and wash hands to remove color. Repeat process for other two colors; set aside.

Lemon Frosting:
3/4 cups powdered sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth (depending on size of lemon, add water if mixture is too thick or additional powdered sugar if too thin). Spoon icing over top of the cake. Immediately sprinkle on colored sugar, alternating between the three colors.

This recipe for Louisiana King Cake may sound like a lot of trouble, and for some people, not worth it, but I live in Louisiana, and King Cakes for Mardi Gras are a Mardi Gras tradition! So, what the heck, give it a try, I bet your guests will love the cake and the concept!

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