Sunday, January 31, 2010

King Cake for Breakfast

King Cake is a staple of Louisiana Mardi Gras culinary fare that we look forward to every year.  They are made from a basic yeast dough and rolled up and filled with anything from cinnamon to lemon cream.  My favorites are usually filled with cream cheese.  There is always stiff competition among bakeries competing for the best king cake every season.

The tradition behind king cake involves burying a small coin of plastic baby inside the cake.  Whoever discovers the surprise is obligated to bring the next king cake.  They are enjoyed starting after apiphany and up until Fat Tuesday signaling the end of Mardi Gras season and the beginning of Lent.

This morning, we woke up to a sliced king cake set out on the table from LeBlanc's Grocery here in Zacharay, Louisiana.  My mom got it for us to have for breakfast.  It was festively decorated with purple, gold, and green icing and filled with chocolate cream.  It was delicious and I ate four pieces!  It was a nice welcome home and a delicious way to start the day.

Emeril Lagasse's King Cake Recipe: from

1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
2 packages dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
4 to 5 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup finely chopped candied citron
1 pecan half, uncooked dried bean or King Cake Baby

2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
Purple, green and gold sugar crystals

Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Combine the warm water, yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside to a warm place for about 10 minutes. Combine the 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, nutmeg, lemon rind and add warm milk, melted butter, egg yolks and yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place the dough in a well-greased bowl. Turn once so greased surface is on top.

Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch the dough down and place on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the citron and knead until the citron is evenly distributed. Shape the dough into a cylinder, about 30 inches long. Place the cylinder on a buttered baking sheet. Shape into a ring, pinching ends together to seal. Place a well-greased 2-pound coffee can or shortening can in the center of the ring to maintain shape during baking. Press the King Cake Baby, pecan half or dried bean into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough. Cover the ring with a towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the coffee can immediately. Allow the cake to cool. For the glaze: Combine the ingredients and beat until smooth. To assemble, drizzle cake with the glaze. Sprinkle with sugar crystals, alternating colors. Cut into the cake and hope you do not get the baby.

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Kingcake for breakfast! (The cream cheese filled is also my favorite.)