Happy Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras always makes me a little homesick for Louisiana.  We lived in Baton Rouge for a few years.  It was a really wonderful time in our life.  Hard work, good friends, and just an amazingly special place.

IMG_1682When we moved away I had to learn to bake my own king cakes. (You can order them, but they aren’t as fresh as picking them up at the bakery.)  I still miss the warm weather and crawfish boils of Louisiana.  I miss Spring coming in February.  But today, even as the wind batters the house with numbingly cold winds, each bite of King Cake brings warm happy memories.

So today I’m sharing my favorite King Cake recipe, in case you too find yourself far away from the bakeries of Louisiana!

Zulu King Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3+ cups flour
  • Filling
  • 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teas cinnamon
  • 1 teas vanilla
  • White Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp milk
  • Chocolate Icing
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, melted

Instructions

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, oil, baking powder, salt, egg and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
  2. Turn dough onto well floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  3. Place in greased bowl. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 1 1/2 hours. Dough is ready if an indentation remains when touched.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  5. While dough is rising, make cream cheese filling by mixing softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla on high speed until fluffy.
  6. Roll dough on a floured surface into a rectangle about 16" x 8"
  7. Place cream cheese filling down the middle and fold dough in thirds to make a roll.
  8. Place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper with the seam side down and shape into a circle.
  9. Bake covered for 20-25 minutes and then finish with about 5-10 minutes uncovered.
  10. Once the king cake has cooled top with a simple white frosting, melted chocolate, and toasted coconut flakes(optional).

Notes

King Cake season runs from January 6th through Mardi Gras.

http://learningwithboys.com/2015/02/17/happy-mardi-gras/

Have fun with it and make it your own.  Try pecan fillings or fruit fillings or go a more traditional route by making a cinnamon roll ring.

Happy Mardi Gras!