Knock knock knock.
Hi friends! First of all, please forgive the brief silence here on the site. I have been navigating this change of coasts and it has taken some time and effort. But it seems that things are stabilizing! This coming week brings adventures of re-recording audio for the movie I shot in the fall and other fun stuff.
BUT, for now, let’s talk about the King Cake! Ash Wednesday arrives very early this year (on Valentine’s Day to be specific). So you best be finding your plastic babies!
I make King Cakes every year because, well… they’re freakin hilarious. They have plastic babies in them. They have garish icing, and in the case of the cake I have displayed here, edible glitter. I mean, WHY NOT!?
An added bonus is that my King Cake is dumb delicious. Trust.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (**Vanilla sugar even better if you have)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 6 tablespoons butter flavor Crisco, melted
- 1 cup warm milk
- 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 4 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated preferred
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
- 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 plastic king cake baby
- 5 tablespoons milk, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from a lemon, not a bottle)
- Icing colors – purple, green, “gold” (yellow)
- EDIBLE GLITTER
Warm 1 cup of milk on the stove or the microwave, then stir int he yeast and allow it to bloom. Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attached and immediately add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Give it a stir. Add the melted butter and butter flavor Crisco. Please do not question my choices, you know I love butter flavor Crisco and it really does slightly alter the texture.
Beat that for a couple of minutes, then add the egg yolks. Add flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon zest. Allow to incorporate and form a ball.
Find a bowl about double the size of your dough ball and coat the inside with vegetable oil. Put the dough ball in the bowl and rub the exterior of the dough ball with vegetable oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and put it in a warm place to rise. Let it double in size. This should take a couple of hours.
Make the filling while you wait. In the bowl of an electric mixer blend the cream cheese and 1 cup of confectioners sugar. (I sometimes throw some lemon zest in this as well, and sometimes a whisper of salt.)
Flour a board or countertop. Turn the risen dough onto the surface and spread into an approximately 30 x 6 inch area using only your fingers. Spread the filling over one half, allowing some room at the perimeter to form a seal. ADD THE BABY. Just shove it in the filling somewhere. Fold the other half of the dough over the top of the filled half and pinch the edges together to seal it.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Carefully form a ring with the dough on the parchment, making sure the seam is at the bottom (as in under the cake). Seal all edges.
Cover it with a kitchen towel and allow to rise again for about an hour.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Brush the risen cake with milk.
Put into the 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Allow it to cool completely.
Now the fun starts!
Seriously, there is right or wrong way to decorate this cake. It’s Mardi Gras. More is more. I like the frosting colors to be very saturated and I want that thing to sparkle.
Make the icing. Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, combine remaining milk (3 tablespoons), lemon juice and remaining 4 cups confectioners sugar. Here’s where you use your judgement… is the icing the consistency you want it to be? If you want a thinner icing, add a bit more liquid. If you want a more robust icing, add more sugar. I like it pretty thick. Once you’ve made your judgement call, transfer into zip-top bags and color it. Or don’t. White is fine, too, especially if you’re using tons of glitter. (It has to be EDIBLE glitter. Glitter from the craft section at Walmart will not work.)
Add food coloring to your zip-top bags and mash/mix until you get the desired effect. Cut a tiny slit into a corner of the bag and pipe onto your cake. As you can see, I used a simple zigzag and then glittered accordingly. Be creative, take risks, have fun with it.
Now your cake is ready to EAT! Be sure and warn friends and family so no one chokes on the baby and ends up in the ER. This cake is divine, especially with a strong cup of coffee.
Happy Mardi Gras!
The Gentleman Caller
Full printable PDF here: The Gentleman Caller’s King Cake