I am following a traditional recipe for this Mardi Gras favorite. The King cake is basically a Brioche dough flavored with cinnamon, sugar and almond extract. Historically a coin or small ceramic doll was hidden in the King Cake and presented to the Dukes and Maids at the Mardi Gras Krewe's ball. The Dukes and Maids of the Krewe would select a slice with the person selecting the slice with the trinket being named that year's King and Queen
The colored sugars are important with Purple signifying Justice, Green Faith and Gold Power.:
the bowl to the left is 1/2 oz yeast dissolved in 1 1/2 cups warm water and 1 t sugar. The yeast is allowed to proof
The bowl to the bottom left is 2 beaten eggs and 3/4 c melted butter
In the mixer is 1/2 c sugar, 5 cups flour, 1/2 c milk powder, and 2 t salt. The dry ingredients are sifted and combined
Slowly add the yeast and eggs/butter to the dry ingredients and mix with a dough hook on low speed until the dough pulls away cleanly from the mixing bowl. 8 - 9 minutes You may need to add additional flour if the dough is sticky.
Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and transfer to a well buttered stainless steel bowl. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours depending on yeast and temperature
After the dough has risen transfer it to a well floured surface and roll out to approximately 18 x 21 rectangle
Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with white sugar and cinnamon.
Slice the dough into 3 strips approximately 6 x 21 inches. Roll the strips to trap the sugar and cinnamon inside, slightly flatten and braid
Form a ring
Brush with an egg wash and return to rise a second time until almost double in size
Lightly brush a second time with egg wash and move to a 350 degree preheated oven. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until the cake is cooked through. There is so much butter in this cake that I find I have to lay a piece of foil on top and reduce the heat to 300 to prevent burning and to allow the center of the cake to finish cooking
Allow the cake to cool to the touch on a wire cooling rack. While the cake is baking you can prepare your glaze and sugars
To prepare the glaze add 2 lbs of confectioners sugar to the mixer bowl and with a paddle blade begin mixing the sugar, add a pinch of salt, 1 T almond extract and about 3/4 c of water, Add the water very slowly, too much water and you end up with soup instead of glaze. The traditional recipe I was following called for 3 T of cinnamon to be added to the glaze. This accounts for it's brown, almost chocolate color
To prepare the sugars combine a couple of drops of the appropriate food coloring to dry granulated sugar and shake vigorously. I used canning jars and screw lids. Add the coloring several drops at a time until you get the desired depth of color. Be careful not to add too much liquid food coloring or you will end up with a putty type consistency.
Drizzle the glaze on the warm cake and sprinkle the sugars on top alternating colors.
The traditional King cakes are being replaced with modern concoctions of cakes with a great variety of fillings. Apple, cherry,cream cheese, chocolate pie filling are piped into the cooling cake. Delicious but not traditional You can have a white glaze by eliminating the cinnamon that went into the glaze. The white glaze shows of the colored sugars.
Thanks for looking, hope you enjoy looking at it as much as we enjoy eating it. Oh and by the way, I don't claim to be a baker!