I decided to make a king cake for a garden club meeting. It was rather a rush job, except for the time it took for the dough to rise.I’ve always been an experimenter in the kitchen, so at 7 a.m. I started combining ingredients. Here is the recipe if you’d like to try it:
1. 2 pkgs. yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Set aside.
2. 1 cup of milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a near boil … and remove from heat.
3. Add a stick of butter to the hot milk and let melt.
4. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon salt to the milk and stir in.
5. By this time milk should be cooled down enough to combine with the yeast mixture. So, transfer yeast mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the milk mixture and combine.
6. Beat 2 eggs well and add them to the yeast/milk mixture in the bowl. Mix well with a wire whisk.
7. Add a cup of flour and beat well with the whisk
8. Add another cup of flour and beat well with the whisk
9. Add a third cup of flour and stir in well with a wooden spoon. (By this time the mixture is getting too thick and will get caught in the wire whisk).
10. Add flour in small amounts and start kneading it in with your clean hands (can use disposable gloves for this.) Add up to 5 cups of flour in all … blending it in well.
11. Drape a clean kitchen towel over the bowl and let rise until it looks about 3 times larger than you started out. This will take about 1 1/2 hours.
12. For the garden club party I punched down the risen dough and took it out of the bowl, turning it onto some parchment paper that I put a little flour on.
14. Roll the dough lengthwise like the parchment paper to make a very long king cake.
15. Melt a stick of butter and add about 1/2 cup or a little more sugar to it, a couple of generous shakes of cinnamon, up to 1 cup of chopped pecans and a little almond extract. You can spread this mixture out over the dough and actually you could use any combinations you like in a king cake.
16. At this point roll the dough from the widest ends, still keeping it on the parchment paper. Loop it like a king cake and adjust it to make it look nice.
17. Transfer the parchment paper with the king cake on it to a pan for baking. You will let this rise until nice and double before baking it…about an hour longer.
18. Bake it at 325 degrees about 20 to 25 minutes or until nicely browned.
19. Next, place a cup of powdered sugar in a cup and add a tablespoon and a teaspoon of liquid like milk or tea, and a few drops of almond extract. Stir and drip by spoonful over king cake.
20. Take some yellow, green and purple Mardi Gras sugars and sprinkle over the icing. (You will have to get this from a grocery store or supplier before you make the king cake.)
Just don’t be afraid to tackle this. I ended up making it 3 times in a week since the grandkids liked it so well, although they made me leave out the pecans. One of the times I added an egg to the sugar, butter, cinnamon mixture and liked the way that came out; another time I pitted fresh cherries and added sugar and a little cornstarch and cooked this mixture and put this in my food processor and spread it on part of the king cake instead of the cinnamon sugar. You can add cream cheese if you like.
Also, I started making 2 smaller king cakes instead of one out of the recipe.
This recipe was originally a cinnamon roll recipe which you can certainly make instead of the king cakes. Just slice it after it is rolled.
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