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King Cake Brioche

A Mardi Gras Classic

Course: Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Cake
Cuisine: All-American, French
Keyword: king cake, Mardi Gras
Servings: 10 servings
  • 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 whole eggs
  • 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
  • 12 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 zip-lock baggies
  • 4 drops yellow food coloring
  • 4 drops green food coloring
  • 4 drops purple food coloring
  1. Mix together 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, set aside.
  2. Add warm water to a small bowl. Sprinkle in yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar.
  3. Stir and set the bowl in a warm place for 10 minutes or until the yeast bubbles and mixture almost doubles in volume.
  4. Combine 4 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the lemon zest.
  5. 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. Brush the inside of a large bowl with 1 tablespoon softened butter. Set dough in bowl. Turn to coat with butter.
  6. *At this point the dough can be refrigerated overnight. Bring dough up to room temperature when ready to continue.
  7. Cover bowl and set aside for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in volume. Use remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to butter a baking sheet. Punch dough down on a lightly floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to roughly 30" x 9" rectangle the dough will be thin. 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.
  8. *I found that a dough scraper helped to roll the dough, just be careful not to puncture the dough.
  9. 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. Preheat oven to 375. 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. Hide the plastic baby in the cake through the bottom.
  10. Frosting:
  11. Mix together powdered sugar, vanilla, milk and lemon juice if using. Whisk together until mixture reaches desired consistency. Drizzle icing over cooled King Cake.
  12. Make Colored Sugars:
  13. For each color; yellow-spoon 4 tablespoons sugar into baggie, drop 4 drops yellow food coloring into baggie, massage the sugar and food coloring together; green-spoon 4 tablespoons sugar into baggie, drop 4 drops green food coloring into baggie, massage the sugar and food coloring together; purple-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.