Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is in one week and to celebrate such a festive occasion, here is my recipe for King’s Cake. King’s Cake is a leavened dough, formed into a ring with colors of purple, green and gold to symbolize Justice, Faith and Power. King’s Cakes are eaten twelve days after Christmas, which is the start of the Mardi Gras season and continue, until Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins. This season is a time of indulgent festivities including; parades, music, floats, picnics and don’t forget the throwing of beads, to celebrate this momentous occasion and King’s Cake is a big part of this tradition.
Most often, King’s Cake is baked with a plastic baby inside, and the person who receives the baby in their slice of cake, is King of the day and is responsible to bake or buy the cake for next year. I skipped the baby in my cake, because the market for small plastic babies is pretty slim here in Southern California, but if you can get your hands on one, more power to you. These cakes are a combination of slightly sweetened dough with a variety of fruits and nuts, very similar to a Panettone in Italy, but shaped in a ring and drizzled in a light glaze and sugars.
This recipe is easy to make and especially nice to prepare on the weekend, when you have time to let the dough rise into a beautiful cake. A think Mardi Gras is an awesome celebration and even if you are miles away from New Orleans, it’s still great to partake in the party.
3/4 cup milk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (rapid rise)
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs, divided
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried sour cherries or raisins
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
purple, green and yellow sugar sprinkles
1. In a glass measuring cup, add milk 1/2 tablespoon sugar and yeast, stir to combine. In a stand mixer, combine the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, salt and lemon zest, stir on low to combine.
2. Pour in the yeast mixture and add 1 egg, stir on low for 2 minutes. When the dough begins to come together, continue to mix for another minute. Remove the bowl from the stand and add in the fruit and nuts. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, covered in plastic wrap to rise for 1 hour.
3. Remove the dough from the bowl and cut in half. Roll each half into an 18-inch rope. Twist the ropes together and form into a ring. Place the dough on a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 45 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the other egg to a bowl with 1 tablespoon of water, whisk. Brush cake with egg wash and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Remove and let cool for 1 hour.
5. When cake is completely cool, whisk together glaze ingredients. Heavily spoon glaze over cake. Sprinkle with colored sugars and serve. Enjoy!