King Cake is only available during Mardi Gras – a brioche style cake filled with cinnamon and sugar and decorated with the Mardi Gras colors. What makes the cake special is the plastic baby that is baked inside. The lucky person that finds it in their piece gets to provide the cake (or the whole party) the next time!
But what is Mardi Gras? It’s a celebration that started back in Medieval times honoring the Roman Lupercus, the god of Shepherds. The festival was called Lupercalia. It had a circus like atmosphere and was filled with gaiety and merriment. It is believed that the French explorer, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, brought the party to America. When he was exploring the Mississippi river in 1699, he camped on the west bank and called the spot Point du Mari Gras in honor of the French version of the festival Lupercalia. It was just miles from the modern day location of New Orleans.
Louisiana is the only state that Mardi Gras is a legal holiday! And it is full of the merriment of old. The French translation is literally Fat Tuesday – a reasonable name for the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, which is a forty day period of sacrifice and fasting.
And tomorrow is Mardi Gras! (February 28, 2017) – So here is a simple recipe for King Cake. Let’s get this party started!
What you need:
- 1 loaf of frozen bread dough, thawed
- ¼ cup melted butter (cooled)
- 1 egg
- 2 Tablespoons of sugar
- ¼ cup softened butter
- ½ cup softened cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup pecan pieces
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- Yellow, purple and green sprinkles or sugar
How to Do it:
Flatten the dough out on a board and mix in the egg, butter and sugar.
Knead it through and place in a greased bowl. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk.
Punch down the dough, knead lightly on a floured board, then spread out into a flat, long rectangle.
Mix the softened butter and cream cheese well with the vanilla and cinnamon. Spread the mixture over the top of the flattened bread dough. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the cream cheese mixture, then top with the pecans.
Roll the dough tightly, jelly roll style, lengthwise. Place on a baking sheet and put the two ends of the cake together making a circle.
Put a glass in the middle to hold the hole open. Pinch the ends together to seal. Let sit and rise to almost double in bulk.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes and the bread is golden brown.
Allow to cool. Mix the powdered sugar with the milk and vanilla. Drizzle the frosting over the cooled cake, then top with the colored sprinkles.
Makes about 8-10 servings
© Copyright 2017 The Lazy Gastronome