Mardi Gras King Cake

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Mark your calendar…Fat Tuesday will be celebrated on March 4th this year. Fat Tuesday is often referred to as “The Last Hurrah” marking the end of 2014 Carnival season. It’s the last day of eating sweets and rich foods before the fasting ritual of Lent season begins! King Cakes are traditionally made throughout all the days of Mardi Gras season. Every year I prepare this sweet treat for my kids, and each year we crown a new king or queen. The jeweled crown charm shown in the photos below is a charm my twins found in their very first “King Cake” given to them by my mother in-law Marsha, 12 years ago. I encourage you to whip up this sweet cake for Fat Tuesday this year, and indulge  in it’s rich sweetness!

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king cake half

Formore photos and  Mardi Gras King Cake recipe details~ …click see more

Mardi Gras King Cake

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Indigents

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ½  tablespoons vanilla infused sugar; plus 1 tablespoon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2  cup sour cream

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4  cup warm water

2 ½ teaspoons rapid rise yeast

1 large egg; beaten

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

1/4 teaspoon orange extract

4 cups double 00 flour

Cinnamon Sugar Filling Ingredients

2 teaspoons freshly ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons salted butter; melted

Icing Ingredients

3 cup confectioners’ sugar

¼  teaspoons whole milk

¼ cup purple sugar crystals

¼ cup green sugar crystals

 ¼ cup yellow sugar crystals

Decorations

7   24 inch lengths purple ribbon

7    24 inch lengths green ribbon

7    24 inch lengths yellow ribbon

1 plastic baby charm

1 King crown charm

Egg Wash~ whisk 1 large  egg with 1 tablespoon water

Step-by-Step

1  combine warm water and yeast in small mixing bowl; add 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar; rest 5 minutes

2  in small sauce pan over medium heat combine 4 tablespoons salted butter, 5 tablespoons vanilla infused sugar and Kosher salt; stir until butter is completely melted; add sour cream and buttermilk; Whisk well; remove from heat

3  transfer warm mixture to bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment;  add beaten egg and one cup flour; mix on low speed one minute

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4  add lemon, orange, vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, and remaining 3 cups flour; mix on low speed until all flour is fully incorporated

5  increase mixers speed to high setting; beat five minutes; until elastic dough ball forms that is tacky to the touch

6  remove dough from mixing bowl; spray mixing bowl with cooking spray; return dough ball to mixing bowl; lightly spray top side of dough ball with cooking spray; cover with plastic wrap and dish towel; let rise 1 ½ hours or until dough doubles in size

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7   place dough on lightly floured surface; roll dough into into 12×22 rectangle shape

8  evenly brush melted butter on dough; combine sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon in small bowl; mix well; sprinkle over melted butter

9  roll dough tightly into jelly-roll shape; carefully transferred dough to parchment paper lined cookie sheet; position dough into ring shape; seal dough ends together; cover with dish towel; rise 20 minutes

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king610  brush dough ring with egg wash; bake  in preheated 375° oven 40 minutes

11  in small mixing bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla and milk; beat with hand mixer until smooth and creamy; transfer to pastry bag

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13  select two ribbons and hand tie one ribbon to each charm; reserve; fold remaining individual lengths of ribbons in half and knot folded side

14   pip 21 small dots of icing around inner edge of serving platter; secure one knotted end of each ribbon to each icing dot

15   pipe remaining icing onto  King Cake; alternating colored sugar crystals; transfer and nestle king cake onto serving platter adorned with ribbons and charms

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16  gather your family and or guests around the cake, and allow each to select their portion of cake; slice, serve and wait for the baby and king crown to be revealed…

Info below gathered from Wikipedia

“The King Cake is  traditionally made throughout the State of Louisiana during the weeks of Mardi Gras season.  King cakes are made with a sweetened yeast bread baked in an oval in shape similar to the shape of a kings  crown, and tastes like a cross between a coffee cake and French pastry.  Today King Cakes are made with many different fillings but traditional King Cakes are baked with a cinnamon and sugar filling, and  topped with white frosting decorated with Mardi Gras-colored sugars of purple (symbolizing Justice), green (symbolizing Faith) and gold (symbolizing Power). This colorful topping is representative of a jeweled crown in honor of the Three Wise Men who visited the Christ Child on Epiphany ( January 6) is when the Carnival Season officially begins.

The King Cake tradition is believed to have begun with French settlers around 1870, who were themselves continuing a custom which dated back to Twelfth Century France, when a similar cake was used to celebrate the coming of the Magi twelve days after Christmas bearing gifts for the Christ Child. This celebration was also once known as King’s Day. As a symbol of this Holy Day, a tiny plastic baby (symbolic of the baby Jesus) is placed inside each King Cake but in times gone past, the hidden items were usually coins, beans, pecans or peas. It is tradition to hidden charms in the cake and according to the tradition the person who finds the charms is named Queen/King of Mardi Gras is said to be a sign of good luck, and  the named Queen/King duty to host the next King Cake Party”

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