He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

20 February 2012

King Cake

Remember when we had some visitors?
Well she just so happens to be a bonafide Louisiana girl!
...and while she was here, she taught me the beauty of the King Cake... which basically means she showed me the recipe she uses and we made one together.
If you're unfamiliar with a King cake you can find plenty of information online about it's long and rich history and how it relates to Mardi Gras {which is tomorrow}.

Flavor-wise it's a sweet yeast bread with a cinnamon and butter center and a sweet sugar topping. It's somewhat moist and reminds me of a cinnamon roll. In other words, it's yummy!
I'm planning to make one tonight for Hubs to try. He wasn't here when we made it and since he is a true northerner I'm not sure he even knows what a king cake is!
Wanna try?

This recipe makes two cakes and does require almost 3 hours of rising and 30 minutes of baking. 

What You'll Need: 
Pastry: 1 c milk, 1/4 c butter, 2 (.25 oz) package dry yeast {4 1/2 t}, 2/3 c warm water, 1/2 c white sugar {divided}, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 t salt, 1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg, 5 1/2 c all purpose flour

Filling: 1 c packed brown sugar, 1 T ground cinnamon, 2//3 c chopped pecans (optional), 1/2 c all purpose flour, 1/2 c raisins (optional), 1/2 c melted butter, 8 oz cream cheese (optional)

Frosting: 1 c confectioners sugar, 1 T water or milk

What To Do: 
Scald milk {heat to about 180, just below a boil}, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. 
 In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
 When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. 
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. {I ended up adding over half a cup more to get the texture I needed.}Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half. 
Sorry... no pictures...
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.  

To Make Filling: Combine the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, chopped pecans, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup raisins. Pour 1/2 cup melted butter over the cinnamon mixture and mix until crumbly.
Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, butter and cream cheese. {We tried both fillings and I preferred the one with cream cheese. It was moist and sweet!}

Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches or so). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.  
Bake in a preheated {375 degree}oven for 30 minutes. If you are familiar with putting a trinket in the cake {in Europe it's often a bean} now's the time to add it by pushing it into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with the confectioners' sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or milk. 
Top with yellow, green and purple sugar. 

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