Mardi Gras Kingcake

     King Cake season officially kicks-off on January 6th. It coincides with Epiphany, the arrival of the three kings following the birth of Christ. The cake is somewhat flat and oval and always topped with the traditional colors of Mardi Gras. The colors purple, green, and yellow represent justice, faith, and power. King cake is the epitome of Mardi Gras and the epitome of delicious. 

     It's also the perfect addition to a pot of gumbo. We don't really do much to celebrate, we are too far from any real festivities but I like to commemorate the day with food. This recipe for King Cake is soft, moist, and tender, with just the right balance of sweet. It was so fun to have sitting on the table waiting to be enjoyed with dinner.

     Feel free to switch up the flavors of the fillings. The first time I made the cake I made my own raspberry sauce from whole berries. I have since switched to using good quality raspberry jam, it's still delicious. Other popular flavors are plain cream cheese, cinnamon, walnut, brown sugar cream cheese, and a favorite of mine, lemon curd and cream cheese. 

1 c. (minus 2 Tbsp.) warm milk
2 tsp. Orange Blossom Water
3 eggs
1/2 c. honey
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
4 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. Dough Enhancer (optional)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

2 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 - 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Large pinch of salt

1 block cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c. powdered sugar

1 bottle Bonne Maman raspberry jam

Sugar or sprinkles in purple, green, and yellow

Mix the yeast, honey, butter, eggs, blossom water and warm milk. Stir for about a minute and then let the mixture sit for 5 minutes until it gets foamy. If it doesn't foam the yeast is not working and you will need to start over. 

If your yeast proofed add the flour, salt, dough enhancer if using, and nutmeg on top. Mix with a wooden spoon or dough hook until it pulls away from the sides, if needed add more flour 1/4 cup at a time. Flour a work surface and remove the dough from the bowl and move to the counter to knead. Knead until it's no longer tacky. 

Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Place in a warm stop to rise. Let rise until doubled in size. 

OR Place all the ingredients in a bread maker in the order written. Place on the dough setting and heave until the cycle is done. 

While that is rising mix the cream cheese with the vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. 

Roll the dough out until long and narrow. About 2 feet by 8 inches in my case. Spread with the cream cheese and then the jam. Roll the dough up like a cinnamon roll and then twist the dough as well as you can without tearing it. I found twisting it helps it stay sealed and keep the filling in while it bakes. 

Preheat oven to 350. 

Take the rolled and twisted dough and then form it in a circle. Let the dough rise again until almost doubled. Bake at 350 until browned on top. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

Once cool mix the powdered sugar, lemon juice, salt, milk, and vanilla to form a glaze. Pour all but about 1/4 cup of the glaze over the top. Alternate the green, yellow, and purple sprinkles and then drizzle with the remaining glaze. 

Laissez les bons temps rouler!! Let the good times roll!!

Original Picture - Post updated 2/13/2018


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