Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday: King Cake Recipe

It was 3 years ago that I started baking king cakes as a tradition for Mardi Gras.
I've used the same recipe with some minor tweaks, and I love it every time. 

Prep Times: 30 min.; Cook: 10 min.; Stand: 5 min.; Rise: 1 hr., 30 min.; Bake: 16 min. 
This recipe uses bread flour, which makes for a light, airy cake. You still get tasty results with all-purpose flour-the cake will just be more dense. (I highly suggest buying a bag of bread flour, and I found mine easily at a local grocery store.)
Yield: Makes 2 cakes (about 18 servings each)
   I used my milk bottle measuring cups that a sweet friend gave me as an early wedding gift.

  • 1  (16-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1/3  cup  sugar
  • 1/4  cup  butter
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/2  cup  warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1  tablespoon  sugar
  • 2  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6  to 6 1/2 cups bread flour*
  • 1/3  cup  butter, softened
  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • Creamy Glaze (ingredients below)
  • Purple, green, and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles (or whatever colors you like)
  • Plastic babies for good luck! 


1. Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.
2. Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
3. Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms. (I had a 1970's hand mixer for mine, so kudos to anyone who owns a stand mixer, but it still can be done by hand!)
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.
5. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.
6. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle. 
** This is where I did mine a little differently. After dividing the portions in half, I took one half and divided it into three equal strips of dough, rolled each strip in the cinnamon mixture, and then braided my king cake instead of having a jelly roll. (I think It yields a prettier cake and still incorporates the cinnamon mixture throughout.)
7. I then stick a plastic baby on the underside of the cake and through the braids. The baby is cleaned before and non toxic. If you roll it up, add the baby while rolling. Just tell you guests to carefully look for it before their eat their slice!
8. Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.

9. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

10. Before baking, use the remaining butter and cinnamon sugar mix on top of cakes.
11. Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes). Drizzle Creamy Glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.

*6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour may be substituted.

 I did one braided and one jelly roll style.
Creamy Glaze:
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice Note: this is can be subtracted if you don't want a very tangy glaze.
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
Mix together the first 4 ingredients
then stir in 2 tablespoons milk, adding additional milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach spreading consistency. 

Now enjoy :) I brought the braided one to work, and it was a huge hit.
Happy Fat Tuesday!


Valerie Griffin said...

looks so good!

Britt @ The Magnolia Pair said...

So awesome! Wow! I made a king cake about a month back, but yours looks so much better! I am going to need to try this recipe for sure! Thanks for sharing :)

Permanent Nomad said...

Did you know that until reading southerners' blogs I had no idea what this king cake stuff was?? What a northerner I am! I would love to try some. Beam me some to Thailand, pls! ;)

Delta Daisies said...

I am so impressed! Looks amazing!