The first time I had a King Cake, it was Christmas and I was a little girl.
Christmas is already exciting as it is, especially as a little girl, but that particular year we were having a new dessert, which was even more exciting. I had never even heard of King Cake before, but it had colored sprinkles, so I was all for it. I’m not even really sure why we were having it since a King Cake is a Mardi Gras related dessert. My dad picked it…
When my uncle passed around the cake to everyone, my dad told us that one piece had a plastic baby in it (apparently, the baby is meant to signify Baby Jesus) and whoever got the baby would have good luck for the rest of the year.
I was super stoked when I bit into Baby Jesus; so excited, that I saved the baby…. and I still have it. Since I don’t have any plastic babies conveniently laying around the house, I used the same one in one of the cakes I made today. I used a pecan in the other cake.
After I had that cake at Christmas, I was obsessed with it. I kept thinking about it and my dad even got me one for my birthday a couple of years ago. So, I’m pretty happy that Mardi Gras has given me a reason to make this cake this year!
The recipe I found was basically a cinnamon roll recipe, but I remember the cakes I had having a little bit of a creamy, lemony taste to them, so I adapted the recipe and it turned out well. It takes a little bit of time because the dough has to rise twice, but it’s worth it. I don’t know if it’s because it reminds me of my childhood, or what, but it’s delicious. However, next time I think I’ll try and find a flakier pastry recipe. The one I used had more of a cinnamon roll texture.
Happy Mardi Gras! Are there any foods that remind you of childhood?
P.S. Don’t forget to comment on my Giveaway!
King Cake (lemon/cream cheese filling)
adapted from All Recipes
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, at room temp.
- 1/2 tsp lemon
- 1/4 cup sugar, or sweetener to taste
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I left out)
- Optional: 1/2 cup raisins (I left out)
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- Scald milk, remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of butter. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water with 1 tablespoon of the white sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
- When yeast mixture is bubbling, add the cooled milk mixture. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the remaining white sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat the flour into the milk/egg mixture 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. When risen, punch down and divide dough in half.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
- To Make Filling: Beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy, add in the lemon and sugar and mix until incorporated.
- Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10×16 inches or so).
- Spread the filling evenly over the dough and sprinkle brown sugar, nuts, and raisins on top.
- Roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the long side. Bring the ends of each roll together to form 2 oval shaped rings. Place each ring on a prepared cookie sheet. With scissors make cuts 1/3 of the way through the rings at 1 inch intervals. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake (You can use a pecan, or something, too).
- To make icing, mix water and powdered sugar.
- Frost while warm. Add sprinkles! 🙂
P.S. I got the pecan!!