Mardi Gras King Cake

Categories: Thrifty Cook
LOW RES Slice of King Cake.jpg
Illustration By Cyndi Coon

The King Cake is a Mardi Gras tradition that involves a bread type cake, a small plastic baby, and a party. Legend says the King Cake has a small plastic baby hidden inside and the person who gets the slice with baby in it has to host the next party. This recipe offers  thriftiness because it makes two loaves, enough to freeze and save for later. It is a labor of love but well worth the all day process and since most of the ingredients are in your pantry, it's a lot cheaper to make a King Cake for Mardi Gras then to rush out and buy one.

Learn how to make a Mardi Gras King Cake after the jump.

(Adapted from a recipe at All Recipes.)

INGREDIENTS
PASTRY:
• 1 C milk
• ¼ C butter
• 2 packages active dry yeast
• 2/3 C warm water
• ½ C white sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 ½ tspn salt
• ½ tspn ground nutmeg
• 5 ½ C all-purpose flour

FILLING:
• 1 C packed brown sugar
• 1 Tbspn ground cinnamon
• 2/3 C chopped pecans
• ½ C all-purpose flour
• ½ C raisins
• ½ C melted butter

• FROSTING:
• 1 C powdered sugar
• 1 Tbspn water
• Purple and Green food coloring

DIRECTIONS:

1. Scald milk in a sauce pan by adding milk to a pan heated to medium-low
2. Stir frequently to ensure milk doesn't thicken and burn on the bottom of the pan
3. Keep heating the milk until it starts to steam and small bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan

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Photo: Cyndi Coon

4. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter
5. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
6. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes
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Photo: Cyndi Coon

7. When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture
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Photo: Cyndi Coon

8. Whisk in the eggs
9. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg
10. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture a cup at a time
11. When the dough starts to come together, pour it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes
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Photo: Cyndi Coon

12. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil
13. Cover with a damp cloth or wax paper and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
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Photo: Cyndi Coon

14. When risen, punch down with fist and divide dough in half
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Photo: Cyndi Coon

15. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
16. Grease 2 cookie sheets
17. To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix into a crumble
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Photo: Cyndi Coon

18. Roll dough halves out into large tetrahedral (approximately 10 x 15 inches or so) allowing one side to be a bit longer then the other
19. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll
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Photo: Cyndi Coon

20. Beginning at the wide side, bring the ends of each roll together to form oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet
21. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals
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Photo: Cyndi Coon

22. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
23. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes
24. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with powdered sugar mixtures colored with green and purple food coloring
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Photo: Cyndi Coon

25. Cut cake in slices to find the toy baby
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Photo: Cyndi Coon



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