It’s Mardi Gras once again, and this year I decided to not only throw on my beads, but also make a colorful and delicious King Cake!
 
The New Orleans Carnival season starts January 6th, and it’s traditionally part of the winter social season: including King Cake parties, debutante balls and other various parades. Most of these celebrations take place two weeks prior to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras, in French), the day before Ash Wednesday. A small figurine is hidden in the cake and the lucky person that gets that slice is King for the day! This recipe comes from Southern Living Magazine and is a very traditional recipe for the popular Mardi Gras cake. 

 

Ingredients:
For Cake
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
 
Ingredients:
For Glaze/Decoration
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
Purple, green and gold-tinted sparkling sugar sprinkles
 
Directions:
  1. 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°.
  2. Stir together yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.
  6. Punch down dough, and divide in half. Roll each portion into a 22- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup softened butter evenly on each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Stir together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over butter on each rectangle.
  7. Roll up each dough rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 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.
  8. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  9. Bake at 375° for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden. Slightly cool cakes on pans on wire racks (about 10 minutes).
  10. For the glaze: Stir together first 4 ingredients. Stir in 2 tablespoons milk, adding additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until spreading consistency. Drizzle glaze evenly over warm cakes; sprinkle with colored sugars, alternating colors and forming bands. Let cool completely.