March 13, 2012

I just can't wait to be king!

If you've never had King Cake...welcome to the dark side. This yeasty sweet treat is the traditional cake of Mardi Gras, usually stuffed with a sweetened cream cheese or cinnamon raising filling. Alex asked me to make him one for Mardi Gras, and I planned on it....but then our oven died. 

I've had a love/hate relationship with this oven since we moved into the house in 2009. I love that it's gas and I love the delicious foods it helps me make. I hate that the temperature is screwed up and you have to set it for 20-25 degrees higher than what you want. I hate that it never gets fully cleaned, even after scrubbing. And I hate that the clock never works correctly. 

But, after we had some parts replaced, it was back in working order and I could make Alex his King Cake. It took about 4 hours, start to finish, including 1st and 2nd rise, but it's well worth the effort and the wait! It also is a total diet killer, so let's just say I didn't start my health kick until this was done. 

As written, this recipe makes 2 cakes. I halved it by using the adjustment tool on allrecipes. 

King Cake
adapted from allrecipes

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 nutmeg
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 cup confectioners' sugar

 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: Combine the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. 

Roll dough halves out into large rectangles (approximately 10x16 inches or so). Spread the filling evenly over the dough and roll up each half tightly like a jelly roll, beginning at the wide 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 30 minutes. Push the doll into the bottom of the cake. Frost while warm with confectioners' sugar blended with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.