My family's favorite cake is King Cake!
A King Cake is associated with Mardi Gras (it is also linked with Epiphany and the Christmas season, according to Wikipedia). King Cakes have a small trinket (we use a small plastic golden baby or a coin) hidden beneath a slice. The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket is King or Queen of the Day!
Sometimes the person who receives the "baby" must provide the King Cake for the next gathering of the season. It is the perfect way to guarantee a series of King Cakes!
The King Cake comes in a variety of styles. This instructable will demonstrate a traditional New Orlean's King Cake.
My daughter and I usually bake a Pillsbury 'Funfetti" cake version and call it good. But it is no comparison to a traditional King Cake. The traditional recipe is a ring of twisted bread topped with royal icing and decorated in Carnival colors of purple, green, and gold. (Gold for power, green for faith and purple for justice).
General information: The King Cake was served on "Little Christmas" or "Kings' Day" for the Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated Jan. 6. Although the ritual of the King Cake can be found during the days of the Roman Empire, King Cake parties in New Orleans are recorded back to the eighteenth century. (See the sites listed below).
One web site reports that NOLA bakeries sell 4,000-5,000 king cakes each day during the Carnival season, and cakes are shipped all over the world!
Step 1: Gather Tools and Ingredients:
As I said, there are many different ways to make a King Cake. For this instructable, I used Mam Papaul's Mardi Gras King Cake Mix (cost about $6.00). It has nearly everything you will need to make a nice King Cake. I am loosely following the directions on the box. (I have two little helpers, making any baking event truly unique!)
In addition to the box of Mam Papaul's Mardi Gras King Cake Mix (available on the internet) you will need:
1 cup hot water
1 stick of butter
Blender (not necessary)
Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients
Open the box, and mix together the cake mix and the yeast.
Step 3: Add Water, Butter and Egg
Add 1 Cup of warm water and .5 cup of butter. (The butter will melt from the warm water and kneading, but I premelted my butter on the stove). Mix well. Add the egg. Knead the dough for 3.5 minutes.
Step 4: Rise and Roll
Set bowl of dough in a wam place for about 30 minutes. After the dough has doubled in size, place it on a floured surface and roll out the dough into a 5" x 30" rectangle.
Step 5: Add Brown Sugar-Pralines
Mix 2 tablespoons of melted butter with the brown sugar-praline mix (you can add your own ingredients here, such as nuts or figs), and spread evenly over the rectangle. From the long side, roll the dough and pinch the edges to seal.
Step 6: May the Circle Never Be Broken
Place dough on a baking sheet and shape into an oval. Let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
Step 7: Bake
Bake cake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. Let cool.
Step 8: Royal Icing
Make the royal icing by adding 1 tablespoon of water to the white glaze mix. (I added too much water and the icing is a tad runny).
Step 9: Decorate!
Spread icing on cake. Sprinkle the colored sugar crystals on the icing. Remember, the traditional colors of Carnival are purple, green, and gold. Gold for power, green for faith and purple for justice. I tried to represent each color evenly, but others may have different opinions.
Step 10: Hide the Baby!
Hide the golden baby under the cake. (Warning! Do not put it in the cake, as someone might swallow it!)
Note: Some say the baby represents the baby Jesus.
Step 11: King or Queen of the Day!
Serve and eat the cake! Whomever gets the slice that has the golden baby under it is the King or Queen!
My kids anxiously await cake eating time, and I let them choose where their piece will come from! King Cakes are a great event in our home!
(As of tonight, the golden baby has not been found, and only about 3 slices remain!).
Last year, we held a King Cake party, and the person who received the golden baby was responsible for the next party.
Serving Size: 98g
Total Fat: 12g
Total Carbs 55g