For my mother and grandmother’s visit, I decided that I would celebrate by having a themed night. It was Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras, so I decided to make Jambalaya. No celebration is complete without dessert. So, I decided to make a cake that is often associated with Mardi Gras and Carnival. (It is also a popular dessert during Christmas). This cake, often has a plastic baby toy or bean hidden inside (I omitted for lack of plastic baby toys and didn’t want anyone to choke on a bean). Normally, the person who gets this piece has various privileges and obligations.
I love history and because of Lent and the fact that I have a beautiful Goddaughter, I decided to learn a bit more about the season and about King cake. King cake was named for the biblical three kings. Catholic tradition states that the three kings’ journey to Bethlehem took 12 days and when they arrived to honor Jesus, that day was Epiphany. This is why there are 12 days of Christmas. This cake, was brought over by colonist from France and Spain, to the Gulf Coast region of the United States and it became associated with Carnival (also known as Mardi Gras).
I made my King Cake with a cream cheese and raisin filling and decorated it with colored icing in the traditional purple, yellow and green colors of Mardi Gras. You can also do a simple sugar, cinnamon and raisin filling, as well. Warning, this is a highly additive cake. I made two small cakes and then a few day later, made three more. (Don’t worry, I didn’t eat all by myself). This recipe will make one medium-large king cake or two small king cakes. I made two smaller ones because my baking trays were small. I also drizzled the icing, instead of painting it…so cut the much sugar.
Ingredients For Cake:
1/2 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
2 1/4 teaspoon of active yeast
1/3 cup of warm water
1/4 cup of sugar
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
Ingredients For Filling:
4 ounces (1/2 cup or half a block) of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup of raisins
Ingredients For Icing:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
milk (enough to make icing pourable/paintable)
food coloring (purple, green and yellow) optional
- Combine all ingredients and knead until dough is soft.
- Place dough in a greased bowl and cover
- Allow dough to rest for 2 hours
- Meanwhile, combine ingredients for filling.
- After dough has rested for 2 hours, divide dough into two pieces (for two small King Cakes). If you are just making one large, continue with next time.
- Roll out dough in a long rectangle about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick
- Spread filling on dough, making sure to go to each of the short side edges
- Roll dough into a log
- Tuck the open ends into each other and form a seal
- With a kitchen scissor, cut into the dough about 1/3rd in
- Place King Cake on a parchment paper covered baking tray and allow it to rest for 1 hour
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- If you are making two small King Cakes, bake for 15 minutes
- If you are making one large king cake, bake for about 25-35 minutes
- Allow King Cake to cool completely
- While cake is cooling, prepare icing (Combine sugar, vanilla extract and enough milk to make a pourable icing, divide into three bowls and add food coloring to make purple, green and yellow icing)
- When king Cake is at room temperature, drizzle or paint on icing with pastry brush.