Here at greenshield organic, our VP also happens to pull double duty as our resident Mardi Gras expert. And, with Mardi Gras just around the corner (that’s February 17th, in case you didn’t know!), Shanna is sharing her favorite King Cake recipe for all to enjoy. But first, a little history on this delicious traditional treat and the festival it represents.
King Cake has a varied history throughout the world, originating in France around 300 years ago. When it finally made it’s way to America via Louisiana and New Orleans, King Cake was a staple of the carnival season. Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is the last day of the carnival season, the day before Ash Wednesday, and the last day before Lent, a period of fasting and penance observed by Catholics around the world. To prepare for 40 days of fasting and sacrifice, there is an extended period of celebration which often includes indulging in delicious food and sweets, namely, the King Cake. King Cake bakers often hide a little plastic or porcelain baby or a fava bean inside the cake, and this small trinket represents the baby Jesus. The person who gets the piece of cake with the bean or doll nestled inside is then the recipient of a variety of privileges, namely being the next person to provide a King Cake for the revelers.
Regardless of your geographic or religious affiliation, you’ll find that this King Cake is a delicious, yeasty treat that will warm up a cold February afternoon. Enjoy!
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Fava bean or plastic baby
For cinnamon filling:
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Purple, green, and yellow sugar
Place warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add warm milk, softened butter, sugar, nutmeg and salt; then add 1 cup flour; blend well. Stir in eggs and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough. Remove to lightly floured surface; roll to 30- by 9-inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter; then sprinkle to within half-inch of edges with brown sugar and cinnamon. Beginning at long end, roll up tightly as for a jelly roll; pinching the seam to seal. With sharp knife, cut roll in half lengthwise; carefully turn halves so that the cut sides face up. Twist halves together, keeping cut sides up so filling is visible. Transfer dough to greased baking sheet. Shape into ring; pinch ends together to seal. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 20 to 40 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until done. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on wire rack. Insert bean or baby after baking. Simply lift a section of the ring or loaf and press trinket into the baked bread.
Mix all icing ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over the top of the cake and add colored sugar crystals in sections or stripes.