Monday, February 20, 2012

King Cake

I wanted to make a king cake for Mardi Gras, and after looking at a number of recipes, I discovered that it doesn't really matter what you put in the cake but the dough is always the same - active yeast required. The last (and only) time I made a king cake the traditional way, it ended up about as dense as a bagel. I have no luck when it comes to baking with yeast, but everyone loved that king cake. It was hard to chew, but tasted great!

This time I decided to skip the traditional dough and use my grandma's potica dough instead. In fact, I basically just made an apple potica, minus the apples, and topped it off with a lemony glaze and sugar sprinkles in the traditional Mardi Gras colors.


Of course Abe couldn't care less what kind of dough I used, but he was all over the sugar sprinkles!


For the dough, you'll need:

2 cups flour
1/2 egg (This is what comes from dividing my grandma's recipe. I cracked the egg into a measuring cup, scrambled it a bit, then used half - about 1/8 cup)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
extra flour for kneading

For the filling, you'll need:

3-4 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup cinnamon

For icing, you'll need:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the sugar sprinkles, you'll need:

3/4 cups sugar (1/4 cup for each color)
yellow, green, red, and blue food coloring

1. Mix all the dough ingredients together. Knead dough for 15-20 minutes, or until dough is smooth and not taking in any more flour.

2. Roll the dough into a ball and rub the outisde with a little oil. Place in a bowl and allow to rest 1½ hours or longer so it can be pulled.


3. Once the dough has rested, cover your table with a clean sheet (I use a cheap one I picked up at Ikea that is dedicated to rolling out dough) and sprinkle with flour. Place the dough in the center of the table and roll out with a rolling pin until it is about 10 inches round. Brush with melted butter to aid in pulling.


4. Pull the dough until it is paper thin. Go slowly to prevent holes and tearing. The dough will cover about a 2x2 foot area.


5. Brush the dough with the remaining butter and sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar evenly over the entire surface.


6. Using the sheet to aid you, roll up the dough to make a long tube. If you slowly lift one side of the sheet, the dough will start to roll over on itself.


7. Carefully transfer the dough to a well-greased sheet pan and shape it into a circle. Tuck one end into the other, and brush the top with melted butter.

8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.


9. Whisk together the powdered sugar and other ingredients to make the icing. Drizzle over the baked cake.


10. Mix a few drops of food coloring with 1/4 cup sugar and whisk until the colors are well blended.


If using red and blue to make purple, mix two drops of red with two drops of blue before adding the sugar, otherwise you'll end up with red, white, and blue sugar instead of purple!


11. Sprinkle colored sugars on the cake.


12. Insert plastic baby or pecan from the bottom and serve.


Whoever gets the plastic baby (or nut) makes the next one!

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