Monday, February 27, 2012

King Cake

Yeah, I know, it is a week late...but in my defence I made this for a Friday Mardi Gras themed potluck. We celebrated three days late at work, and I am posting two days later, because it was a crazy weekend! When they announced a Mardi Gras potluck, i went searching for a recipe. I've wanted to make King Cake for a long time, but never had a reason, and a whole cake is a bit much for one person. I found this recipe on Cooks dot com.

Mardi Gras King Cake.

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup  sugar
1+1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
2 pkg dry yeast
3 eggs
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4+1/2 - 5 cup bread flour, sifted
1 1" baby doll, bean or nut (optional)

Combine milk, sugar and salt and shortening, heat to just boiling (scald), cool to lukewarm. In small bowl, combine yeast with warm water. Pour 2 cups flour into mixer bowl, add milk mixture, eggs, lemon rind, spices,  and yeast mixture. Mixed until combined. Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until all incorporated. Knead five minutes or until smooth and elastic. 
Put dough into greased bowl and let raise 90 minutes to 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Punch down and knead five minutes; divide into thirds. Roll each into a strip 28 to 30 inches long. Braid the strips and shape into an oval. If using, push the doll into the roll from the bottom, making sure it is completely covered. Let the dough raise another hour until doubled. 
Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes, until browned. Cool completely before glazing and decorating with green, gold and purple sugars. 

It came with a recipe for a lemon glaze, basically lemon juice, icing sugar and water. I made that and coloured it instead if using the sugars and it looked horrible; you can actually see the coloured glaze under the icing. So, when I went for groceries that morning, I grabbed a container of icing and some sprinkles and used them instead. I wanted to same myself a trip and some money, so i was originally just planning on using the coloured glaze. 

The only change I made was adding the cinnamon and omitting the lemon. I did not have one and was unable to get out to get one. There was no cinnamon in this recipe, only nutmeg; which is strange because every recipe I came across had it in it and every description of King Cake said it was basically a large cinnamon I added a half teaspoon, it was just enough. 

I originally had it on this pan, but then changed my mind and moved it to a round pizza pan. I'm glad i did, i think it would have risen over the sides of this one and would have given it an odd shape. The hardest part was making the ropes for braiding, they kept springing back. I just fought with it and stretched it as i braided. 

As for taste, it really reminded me of the Hot Cross Buns that I made last year for Easter. The only difference was this dried out much faster. There was a bit left over so i brought it home for my guinea pig, since he loves all things cinnamon. By the next day it was so dried out he could barely eat more than a bite. I had one slice then tossed the remaining two. It was absolutely delicious fresh, though. 

So, onward to Easter; my next big thing is a baby shower, but i am not planning any new recipes. It is going to be a simple affair. After that is K's birthday, for that I am just a guest. And then Easter, I am planning a surprise for my co-workers for then. 

Happy Monday, everyone; hope you all have a good week!

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