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Traditional King Cake

Roger Paul

Cajun Easy® - Traditional King Cake

It's Mardi Gras Season !!!

Many folks have requested a recipe from me for this during our very festive South Louisiana season, so I finally sat down and got one typed it out. It’s not just for New Orleans my friends ;-)

Ingredients -

1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour*
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Creamy Glaze** see below
Purple, green, and gold tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles

Directions -

Cook first 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside, and cool mixture to 100° to 110°.
Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup. Let stand 5 minutes.

Beat sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add enough remaining flour (4 to 4 1/2 cups) until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, about 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread the 1/3 cup softened butter out evenly on the two rectangles, leaving a 1-inch border. Stir together the 1/2 cup of sugar and the 1.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, then sprinkle evenly over the butter on each of the two rectangles.

Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at long side. Place one dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends of roll together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with second dough roll.

Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk again.

Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden (it took me 25 minutes in a convection oven set for multi racks and 350 degrees). Remember to swap shelves and rotate cakes about halfway through baking. Once browned, slightly cool cakes on pans or wire racks (about 10 minutes). Drizzle the creamy glaze** evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let them now cool completely.

For a cream cheese-filled King Cake -

Prepare each 22- x 12-inch dough rectangle as directed. Omit the 1/3 cup softened butter and the 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Increase 1/2 cup sugar to 3/4 cup sugar. Beat this 3/4 cup sugar, 2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese (softened), 1 large egg, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract at a medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread this cream cheese mixture evenly on each dough rectangle, leaving 1-inch borders. Proceed with recipe as directed above.

* 6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour may be substituted, but cake will be more dense

** Creamy Glaze         3 cups powdered sugar
                                       3 tablespoons butter, melted
                                       2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
                                       1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                       2 to 4 tablespoons milk

Stir together first 4 ingredients. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk, adding additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you are happy with the spreading consistency.

The Easy Cajun