February 9, 2015

Mardi Gras King Cake

On the Menu Today~
Mardi Gras King Cake
How to Color Sugar

This was my first attempt at making a King Cake.
King Cake has been on my Culinary "To Make"
list for as long as I can remember.
For someone who lives in Northern WI,
King Cake has always been a mysterious sounding cake to me.
When I think of King Cake,
I immediately think of Mardi Gras and
Mardi Gras has always been a mystery to me too..

I learned more about Mardi Gras and King Cake
the first time my hubby and I vacationed in Louisiana,
We stayed in Slidell Louisiana which is located in St.Tammany Parish.
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is located in
Slidell and takes you across Lake Pontchartrain into New Orleans.

Upon arriving in Slidell,
we realized within the first 30 minutes,
we had no idea how to pronounce anything...
and that certain words had different meanings.

Lake Pontchartrain?
Lake What?...
St. Tammany Parish?....
Was that a Church?....
And what the heck is a Causeway??

I wasn't even sure how to pronounce Slidell.
When we went into a gas station and asked for directions,
the gas station attendants looked at us like we had spoken in a foreign language..
and I suppose to some degree we had!
The gas station attendants were friendly and said we talked "funny"
they keep telling us, "We love the way you talk"
I remember getting back into the car and saying to my hubby,
 "I didn't understand a word they said, did you?"

We had driven to Louisiana from Wisconsin..
stopping at a hotel in Mississippi the night before
so we could get some sleep.
We woke up early and drove the rest of the way.
By the time we got to Slidell, we were hungry.
We thought we'd get a bite to eat before going to our condo,
a great place we rented from some friends of ours.

While we were at the gas station,
getting a quick lesson in how to speak the language of Louisiana..
from the gas station attendants...
we decide to go to a Cafe on their advice and recommendations.
Off we headed to the cafe...
when we pulled up, we looked at each other..
puzzled, we thought we had the wrong address.....
this was a house....
with people sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch...
this can't be the right place....
it has to be someones house....

We looked closer and right next to the front door
was the name of the restaurant and an "open" sign.
We parked and went inside.
Not only was the food delicious and the service wonderful,
we asked a few questions and
soon learned everything we needed to know about
Mardi Gras, King Cake and New Orleans.

The next morning we took the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway,
the longest bridge in the world, across open water..
The Causeway is a 24 mile long bridge,
that you drive across Lake Pontchartrain.
Once your on the Causeway...
there is no way of getting off...
unless you want to drive off the side of the bridge,
into Lake Pontchartrain...
The drive was scary but also quite beautiful.
I thought the Mackinac Bridge was scary.....
but this was Really scary!

The Mackinac Bridge,
known as the "Mighty Mac"
is the 5th longest suspension bridge and
is 5 miles long....nothing close to the
Lake Pontchartrain Causeway...

The Mackinac Bridge Walk has been on my "to do"
list for a long time....
I hope someday I can participate..
before I get to old..

We spent ten wonderful days in Louisiana.
We learned about the culture, the people, and
Best of all, the food...

I want to thank Michelle from Ms.enplace for this fantastic recipe.
I had never made a Brioche, which is what a King Cake is....
This recipe is really, beyond delicious....
My next King Cake will be filled with cream cheese and
the one after that.....a fig filling maybe....and then maybe a raspberry filling..

For more information on Mardi Gras and King Cakes...
or if you want information on Louisiana in general...
Visit Michelle's blog Ms.enplace.
You will find everything you'll need to know and so much more......

King Cake can be filled with a number of different fillings.
I went with a cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Next time, I will definitely use a cream cheese filling~

King Cake

Brioche Dough

King Cake {Brioche}

  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar,divided
  • 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup luke room milk (110 degrees)
  • 3 eggs, whole
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened and divided
  • 1 king cake plastic baby
  • Cinnamon-Sugar:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Frosting/Icing:
  • 1/2 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix together 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, set aside.
  2. Add warm water to a small bowl.
  3. Sprinkle in yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar.
  4. Stir and set the bowl in a warm place for 10 minutes or until the yeast bubbles and mixture almost doubles in volume.
  5. Combine 4 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the lemon zest.
  6. Make a well in the center,  pour in the yeast mixture and warm milk.  Add the eggs and egg yolks. Gradually combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Cut/rub in 1/2 cup butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to fold and combine until the dough can be formed into a soft ball shape, (the dough will be sticky). Place ball on a floured surface, incorporate more flour if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead until smooth and elastic.
  7. Brush the inside of a large bowl with 1 tablespoon softened butter. Set dough in bowl. Turn to coat with butter.
  8. *At this point the dough can be refrigerated overnight. Bring dough up to room temperature when ready to continue.
  9. Cover bowl and set aside for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in volume.
  10. Use remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to butter a baking sheet.
  11. Punch dough down on a lightly floured surface.
  12. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to roughly 30" x 9" rectangle the (dough will be thin)
  13. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture down the length of the dough. Fold long edge half way over cinnamon-sugar mixture. Slowly roll up the dough into a cylinder, jelly-roll style.
  14. *I found that a dough scraper helped to roll the dough, just be careful not to puncture the dough.          
  15. Place on the baking sheet. Form dough into a ring. Pinch ends together. Cover and set aside. Let rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
  16. Preheat oven to 375ยบ.
  17. Bake cake on baking sheet, placed in the middle of the oven, for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool cake to room temperature on a wire rack.
  18. Hide the plastic baby in the cake through the bottom.
  19. Frosting:
  20. Mix together powdered sugar, vanilla, milk and lemon juice if using.
  21. Whisk together until mixture reaches desired consistency.
  22. Drizzle icing over cooled King Cake, sprinkle with colored sugar.

Kitchen Tip:
How to Make Colored Sugars

  • 12 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 zip-lock baggies
  • 4 drops yellow food coloring
  • 4 drops green food coloring
  • 4 drops purple food coloring

For each plastic baggie

Yellow Colored Sugar

  • Spoon 4 tablespoons sugar into baggie
  • Drop 4 drops yellow food coloring into baggie
  • Massage the sugar and food coloring together

Green Colored Sugar

  • Spoon 4 tablespoons sugar into baggie
  • Drop 4 drops green food coloring into baggie
  • Massage the sugar and food coloring together

Purple Colored Sugar

  • Spoon 4 tablespoons sugar into baggie
  • Drop 4 drops purple food coloring into baggie
  • Massage the sugar and food coloring together

  • Sprinkle the colored sugars over the King Cake,  while the icing is still wet,  in alternating rows. Brush off excess sugar if necessary.
King Cake, Brioche, Sugars, Icing, Bread

*The views and opinions expressed in this post are my own.
I have not been compensated in anyway from any of the companies stated in this post.
*Bridge Photo Credits: Mackinac and Flickr
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