Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's That Time Again - King Cake Recipe


It's Carnival Time and ever since Hubby and I went to NOLA to see my sister back in the early 90's I've been celebrating with King Cake and Jambalaya, here in New England. Today a few of the boys from Leon's car club (Lambda, Nutmeg Chapter) are coming over for a Board Meeting, so I get to serve up a Carnival Meal.

Couldn't find Andouille sausage so have to use cocktail sausages. I did find it at another market, but at $5.99 lb, cocktail sausage will do...

This one is with sausage, chicken and shrimp, onion, pepper, celery, garlic, chicken broth, rice, hot pepper, seasoning.

This is the King Cake I made yesterday. One of my best attempts yet.

Put on the coffee, and get the meeting over with....and let's eat! Happy Mardi Gras!
Here is the recipe based on an internet find:

KING CAKE
This is the traditional New Orleans Carnival dessert or Brioche. Carnival (Goodbye to the Flesh/Meat) begins after Epiphany and extends through Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) the day before Ash Wednesday and Lent. Some lucky party-goer will find the plastic baby ( which is the Christchild - the King) and must bring a King Cake to the next get together. Commercially baked cakes bear a warning about the hidden choking hazard baked in the cake.

1/2 cup warm water
2 pkg active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
31/2 cups unsifted flour; 1 cup additional flour
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup warm milk
5 egg yolks, scrambled with fork
10 tbsp softened butter (1 stick + 2 tbsp)
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 small plastic baby doll (or dried bean or coin)

DIRECTIONS
Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl, add yeast and 2 tsp sugar. Mix and allow to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes until the mixture bubbles. Add the 1/2 cup of warm milk and the egg yolks.

Combine 31/2 cups of the flour, salt, lemon zest, the remaining sugar, nutmeg, and sift into the liquid mixture about a cup at a time, mixing well with a wooden spoon. After adding about 2 cups of flour, beat in 8 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp at a time until you can't see the butter. Add the rest of the flour mixture. Place the dough on a floured counter or bread board and knead, gradually adding up to 1 cup more flour. Knead about 10 more minutes, till the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough into a large buttered bowl and butter the surface of the dough ball. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 11/2 hours, till double.

Coat a baking sheet or pizza pan with butter. Place the dough on a floured counter, punch it down a bit and sprinkle with cinnamon. Divide the dough in two and shape each into a cylindrical or rope shape, lay them side by side, pinch the ends together and twist them around each other. (Or make three ropes and braid). Form the twist into a ring or wreath and place it on the buttered baking sheet. Hide the plastic doll inside the ring. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for at least 45 minutes in warm place.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the cake with an egg wash (1 egg with 1 tbsp milk). Bake for 25-35 minutes till golden brown. Allow to cool.

ICING
Prepare colored sugar by putting 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar into each of three small plastic containers with tight lids. Into one place a few drops of yellow food coloring and shake well till all the sugar is yellow. In the second, place a few drops of green and do the same; in the last place three drops of red and one or two drops of blue to make purple and shake till well blended. (adjust color if you like).

Use about 1/2 box of confectioners sugar (about 11/2 cups) and add 1 tsp real lemon extract. Add cold water one tsp at a time until the sugar icing stirs easily but not watery.

When the cake is cool drizzle the white icing on the cake till it is entirely coated. Take the colored sugars and sprinkle on in bands of yellow, green and purple. (Three bands in each quarter of the cake). Place Mardi Gras beads around the cake for presentation.
(WARNING: Plastic toy in cake may be choking or dental hazard).

3 comments:

Jeepguy said...

Looks really yummy, Frank! We, too, have difficulty finding Andouille sausage but can sometimes get it for around $5.00/lb. Good stuff!!

Save me a piece of that cake!
;)
Gary

Russ Manley said...

Now you're talking, Frank. There is no bad food in Louisana, not a-tall. I tell you what. Looks scrumptious, buddy, good job . . . I can smell it all the way out here.

BTW - I did not know until my Cajun ex-roommate enlightened me that the reason it's called a King cake is that those Louisiana folks start with the first one on Epiphany. Then continue with parties and more cakes every couple of weeks or so up till Mardi Gras.

FDeF said...

Of course the cake is official --- complete with the little plastic baby Jesus hidden in it for someone to find...and be host for the next King Cake Party! We first went to Mardi Gras with a bunch of nuns, but that is a whole 'nuttier story.

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